Well, this is a bit later than I had planned, but it’s high time I roll out the budgetary changes for the “new” year before it loses its shine. I toyed briefly with the idea of merging my rolling and lump sum budgets before opting to go with some simple number tweaks, instead.
2014 Budget by the Numbers
The tl;dr version is that the new monthly rolling budget will be set at $135/month and the new lump sum at $650/year. The slight year-over-year decrease takes into account current exchange rates and figure pricing while budgeting the same number of figures as last year.
- Monthly rolling budget: $135/month
- Down $5/month from 2013
- Lump sum budget: $650/year
- Set at 40% of annualized rolling budget
- Down $10/year from 2013
The deeper story is that last year’s significant exchange rate rebound has been almost fully offset by rising costs at the source. I estimate pricing by creating a sample set of figures I have either purchased or wishlisted recently and calculating the average MSRP of those figures in JPY. When I pulled a new set of data points from releases in the past six months, I found that this number had ballooned to ¥10,600, up substantially from the ¥8,500 mark I last calculated some two years ago.
With all the five-digit (JPY) prices we’ve seen of late, I’ve had the impression that bishoujo figure pricing has been on the rise, but this was the first time I’ve been able to put a number to it. It’s a disheartening trend to be sure, but quality and complexity has been trending upward as well, so this may just be the price we have to pay for better and better figures.
Shipping Costs Revised
This section is a bit of an aside, but I did revise the way I estimate shipping for this year. Previously, I used a WAG to estimate the cost of shipping via SAL or EMS. Since I’ve been keeping detailed notes of shipping costs and transit times for every figure I’ve ordered since 2011, I’ve now used those numbers to more accurately estimate the costs of the three major service types: SAL Small Packet Unregistered (SAL-U), SAL Small Packet Registered (SAL-R), and EMS.
A quick note: I only use EMS shipping for figures that are too large to ship via SAL Small Packet, which means that the numbers shown above for EMS are skewed toward the high end and don’t represent the average cost you might see if you were shipping everything via EMS. They do, however, represent the average cost for the way I use EMS.
I had previously used ¥1,500 as my SAL estimate and ¥3,500 for EMS. In practice, I found that the two SAL services fall on either side of my original estimate and EMS came in higher than expected. The new year’s budget numbers reflect these new averages rather than my previous guesstimates.