Lily Figure from Aki-con

Cost-to-Benefit Purchasing

This past weekend, I went a small anime convention that I have never been to before, at the insistence of a friend who just moved to the Seattle area around a year ago. Being new to the area, I figured “Why not?” and went with him for one day at Aki-Con. To start off, I knew that this was going to be a small convention, and was not expecting much. After years of attending anime conventions, and a couple of years vending at audiophile conventions, I was rather hesitant and almost ditched my friend, but I did not want to just abandon him, and the con was conveniently near my apartment.

As first seeing this convention, I noticed that since it was small, the audience was not going to be Anime Expo numbers (not Fanime numbers, heck AOD in San Francisco was bigger) but there were definitely people having a good time. Local fans, newer anime fans, and generally those that did not want a huge crowd was what I observed as the main audience there. Even though this was for just the Saturday (I can’t do any more full attendance conventions as an attendee anymore), I like that it did not feel too busy compared to bigger conventions where there would be way too many people.

In those bigger conventions, I would feel uncomfortable squeezing around people and generally not feeling I have any breathing room to well just breathe (never mind the no-shower odor some attendees have). But the most part I enjoyed the times my two friends and myself were just hanging about and having the room to not be pressured to do many things or rush to events; we just had no aim and just hung out.

Did I Buy Anything?

For purchases, the Vocaloid Lily figure was the only major item I bought when I attended. I spent $30.00 on the Vocaloid figure, $2.00 for an original laminated fanart bookmark $25.00 for a single-day ticket, and around $50.00 for food and drinks (ok that one was not very conservative, but I am chalking it up as an enjoyable experience with my friends). During my first years of con attending, I would buy a lot of items and spend an average of $400 dollars on model kits, CDs, DVDs (before Blu-Rays existed) and various other items I usually found at conventions only. This was during the early 2000’s and online shopping was not a big thing yet.

Now I have more money to buy more items, I choose not to buy as much as before. Why? Looking back I admit I bought for the sake of collecting and just because I liked anime goods, and before I had any real expenses and responsibilities I had to consider. I realized I had just too much stuff that I would need to take care of, worry about moving, finding space in my apartment rooms, and just generally collecting and letting sit to collect dust.

My old model kit collection this was just half of my model kit collection in 2008

Reflecting Back

Now that I am just above 30 years old, I have to think more carefully on what I want to purchase. I more so buy items thinking about the best value I will get from them, and not just because of mere price tag, brand name, or because “everyone is getting it so should you” mentality. Whether it was in school circles, nerd groups, or co-workers I would buy things for just frivolous reasons and not thinking too much on my budget.

Even now, as I build my listening stations and entertainment centers, I focus on the most cost-effective items. Seeing the numerous Hi-Fi equipment for audio, video, and everything in between, there are those who spend a ridiculous amount of money for the best there is. Some spend to beat other people, others are very peculiar and will have the money (or try to) to have something that is even .001% better. I for one do not have a lot of money, so I research, weigh my options, consider my wages and expense, before purchasing anything.

I try to do as much research as I can, and even wait until either there are sales, or weigh my options and bank accounts. I realized I cannot go absolutely minimalist but I can cut back on what I want to buy. I know I will always have a need to buy newer and better, but really it takes discipline to keep it at a level that you can balance on. But with my purchase, I am happy that I did get the Lily figure, as I try not to get them too much, and having it as part of my collection (it is not big at all).