Figure Financials: 2011 Year-End Report

With the 2011 calendar year coming to a close, it’s time to look back over the transactions for the year and see how the budgetary plans I made at the beginning of the year panned out.

Suzumiya Haruhi holding money


The single most telling data I can provide is a statement of transactions made over the course of the year. Add everything up, compare against the established goal, and see whether or not I’m in the red. Simple.

To recap the plan from earlier in the year, I set up a monthly rolling budget of $115. When extrapolated over 12 months and combined with my 2009 and 2010 rollover, that leaves me with a total of $1,389.60 to play with. Let’s see how I decided to spend it.

13 figures bought. 1 figure sold. 8 preorders total, 2 in-stock, 2 second-hand, 1 exclusive, and 5 preorders outstanding.

Not too bad, I think. The breakdown is about what I expected, though I did feel like I passed on a few too many figures that I’m going to regret later, like not picking up UART’s cold cast Ryofu when she was still in stock at HobbyFan and priced somewhat reasonably. If I had to do it over again, I would probably drop Ryouko and Clalaclan in favor of the aforementioned Ryofu and something like GSC’s Black Gold Saw, which looked quite nice, but was ultimately passed over when the budget got too tight. Sometimes the timing of certain releases can be truly unfortunate. 😦

You’ll notice that I’m using estimated totals for preorder items. Seeing as Japanese shops typically bill actual shipping and this amount is not generally known until an item is in stock, plus the fact that exchange rates change constantly, there’s no way of knowing the exact total when placing a preorder. That said, I’m estimating the shipping based on past purchases and so far I’ve been within $5 USD of the final amount.


The only major change I made to my budgetary plans from last year to this year–aside from tweaking numbers–was to switch from an annual rolling budget to a monthly rolling budget. This was in response to repeated observations that I tended to blow through my annual budget much too quickly and leave myself with little to go on for the majority of the year.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the rate at which budgetary funds were consumed over the course of the year.

We see a pair of linear curves: one corresponding to credits (monthly budget + sales) and one corresponding to debits (purchases). The credits curve is pretty much linear by design whereas the debits curve is dictated by my spending behavior. The goal behind switching to the monthly rolling budget was to ensure a relatively smooth and constant rate of spending, so it looks like the plan was a success.

Other Interesting Data

As with last year, let’s examine a few statistics and see if there are any interesting trends therein.

Breakdown by Manufacturer

First, let’s look at purchases by manufacturer.

Compared to last year, this year’s haul is more homogenous with fewer total manufacturers and Alter taking the lion’s share. Alter is certainly one of my favorite manufacturers and I place a lot of value on a manufacturer’s reputation, as we rarely have the luxury of personally inspecting a figure prior to purchase. That said, I could easily have seen myself making a few different selections, such as picking up GSC’s Black Gold Saw instead of Alter’s Ookami Ryouko, which would be enough to shift these ratios a good bit.

Breakdown by Retailer

Last year, I used 10 different shops for 13 figures purchased, which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it. 😆

Let’s see how things look for this year.

Only five different shops this time, which looks a lot more reasonable. I started using AmiAmi late last year because of their aggressive pricing and the fact that they’re a Japanese shop, which means that you get your preorders fairly quickly, even with SAL, rather than dealing with the typical 1-2 month delay for preorders placed at shops outside of Japan.

The Hobby Link Japan order is something of an anomaly. I would have ordered Naoe through AmiAmi like all my other non-second-hand, non-exclusive purchases this year, but I put off the decision until she was sold out at both AmiAmi and Hobby Search. I don’t dislike HLJ or anything and they served me well in my early days of collecting, but their pricing tends to come in higher than the aforementioned shops and I have had zero service issues with any of the Japanese shops so I see little reason not to go with the cheapest option.

Mandarake and the community offer some interesting opportunities to pick up second-hand figures without resorting to eBay pricing or proxy fees associated with Yahoo! Auctions Japan. I only recently discovered both as potential sources, but I expect to use both more going forward.

Breakdown by Price

Finally, let’s see if there are any trends in figure pricing.

Not too much to say here. The results are pretty similar to last year despite the US dollar hitting record lows against the Japanese yen. Most 1/8 to 1/6 scale figures fall into the $100-$150 range unless you start digging through the bargain bin or manage to do combined shipping. The lofty $150+ territory continues to be the dominion of exclusives and rare second-hand figures.

6 thoughts on “Figure Financials: 2011 Year-End Report

  1. Wow that’s a really detailed budget report there, and it’s quite interesting too. And kudos to you for sticking to your plan.

    I don’t think I could manage with a rolling budget since some months tend to be heavier of stuff I want while others are very scarce. I pretty much buy what I think would be interesting to make a blog post about and that ends up limiting what I buy to 1 or 2 things a month, hopefully I can keep that pace and not go overboard haha.

    • Some months are certainly heavier than others. The first half of the year felt relatively light for me, but the last couple months have been pretty brutal. I often have to delay preorders because I don’t have a large enough balance in a given month. Usually, I can get away with it, but sometimes preorder figures sell out too quickly (as evidenced by Alter’s Naoe). In theory, lighter months should leave more money to roll over to cover heavier months, but it seems like I’m forever playing catch-up, so in reality this hasn’t really been happening.

      The pure rolling budget strategy isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s the best I’ve come up with so far. I tweak the rules a little bit at the beginning of every year to try to create a system that works best for my needs and 2012 will be no exception. Look for a follow-up post early in the new year.

  2. Ah thats an really interesting post, especially the different diagrams you’ve made.

    I also have a list about the figures I’ve ordered and their prices, even though I don’t count the expenses of the whole year, it would be quite shocking I guess ^^.
    I just do that on a monthly base, to prevent me from spending too much each month.

    I just noticed that I bought around 24 figures(woot!) in this year XD
    On the other hand I sold 6 (Nendos and scale figures)

    • I didn’t start budgeting my figure purchases until I decided to start blogging. The idea was to give me another discussion point and keep the growth of my collection manageable.

      Wow! 24 figures this year alone? That’s more than half the total number of figures I have after 6 years of collecting. 😆
      You do sell more than I do, though, so the net total is a bit less.

  3. Wow what a great idea! I wouldn’t have thought to break it down like that. haha… though I would be scared to I think… something to keep in mind for this year! We do have a budget but it’s nothing official. We just try to only spend $200 a month… I don’t know if it happens though…

    • I think the original idea stems from my detail-oriented nature and an engineering mindset. I keep a simple spreadsheet tracking all of the anime-related goods I buy, but I only go into this level of elaborate planning and analysis for figures. Even if you’re not super formal about it, if you’re thinking about a budget at all then I think that’s worth something. Whatever works for you, as they say. 😉

      $200/month sounds fairly reasonable. It’s enough to cover an exclusive or multiple standard run figures and it shouldn’t break the bank for an individual or couple with moderate income.

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