Most of us have been there. We say something like “I haven’t bought dice in a WHILE!” Then we start to remember. “Well, except that set on eBay last night…” “…oh, and the order that came in yesterday…” “…oh, and that Kickstarter doesn’t count cause I won’t get that for months!” “Oh, also there was that Dice Market purchase last week…” It’s more than we realize; it just is. And if you’re a new member, I’m sure you’ll able to relate to this in a few weeks!
So how do you balance? How do you keep a budget under control? Hopefully this post can help provide some tips and tricks to dice budgeting! But be warned, there is still a mighty need—a dice addiction that gnaws away at us all! This article will not serve to put an end to dice spending. Rather, it will provide some ideas on how to manage dice purchases better.
For awhile, I restricted myself to only buying with what I had in my PayPal balance. If I sold off some unused sets or made other PayPal sales, I would simply limit myself to that budget. If not, I could move $50 or so a month to PayPal, and that could be my budget for the month. It’s an easy way to limit yourself in spending. However, it can be a bit clunky if you’re buying from retailers that don’t accept PayPal (Amazon is a good example).
If you find PayPal too limiting (or if you don’t use PayPal), consider keeping a more traditional budget. You can use pen and paper or budget digitally by keeping track of it on a notepad or notes app on your computer or phone. This isn’t going to physically restrict you when you impulse buy like a 0 PayPal budget might, but it does let you see the spending, which can be a good deterrent for those of us who impulse buy without really thinking about it.
Whichever method of budgeting you use, “roll over” money, much like roll over minutes, can help you splurge as a reward for saving up. For example, if you budget $50 a month, but you want to spend $100 on a Kickstarter for dice, simply go a month without spending to allow yourself to splurge on the Kickstarter. This gives a bit more flexibility for those who don’t want to limit themselves out of certain purchases but still want to stick to some sort of limit on dice spending.
Selling Off Dice
I know sometimes we spend more than we bargain for on crowdfunding campaigns, out of print sets, or handcrafted dice wonders. When I splurge on a nicer set of dice, whether it’s metal or an Etsy buy, I sometimes sell off some lesser-used sets. It makes me feel better about the big purchase, and it gives me a PayPal budget so that at least I avoid putting dice on my credit card.
Make a List
Make a list of all the dice you have. Seriously. It’s more than you think. I tried it once, and I thought it was a reasonable list until I went over to my shelf and wrote down the other sets I forgot…which was about half of what I owned. Doing this not only allowed me to realize that I needed to slow down, but it also made me realize how much I really had.
Make a Wishlist
Some of the most obvious, valuable, and practical advice I’ve gotten when it comes to buying dice is when a friend said “just put it in your cart until tomorrow.” It’s such a “duh” thing, and yet it never occurred to me. If you like a dice set, put it on your wishlist. Put it in your cart. Write it down. If you love it enough, you will buy it eventually. If not, you just saved yourself money. One set I did this to was the Chessex Shell sets. They’re really neat looking, but they’ll go down as dice I like to look at but that I don’t necessarily need. The downside of this very simple and effective method is that you can’t apply it to limited edition releases, mad rushes to Etsy handmade sales, or out of print sets that rarely show up in the market.
It’s asked often in the DMC: “what’s your favorite set?” Well, how on earth can that question help you budget dice? I answered that question so much that I have those 4-5 favorite sets of mine permanently in my camera roll on my phone so that I can easily post a picture of them when it’s brought up. Start using those favorite sets as a guide when you consider buying dice. It actually works! “Well, I like that set, but do I like it as much as my Gamescience cloudy set?” Nope. Prevents me from buying. “Well, those are pretty, but do I like them as much as my Crystal Caste Firefly?” Again, it’s a good deterrent! It’s like it can train your mind to appreciate pictures in the DMC and say “that’s really pretty” without rushing to buy them ourselves (the urge is real).
Give Dice Away…Unless They Bring You Joy
As Dice Maniacs, we know that dice can go for hundreds of dollars. But remember that there are many polymer sets that only go for around $2-$10. That’s significant because sometimes cost can weigh you down. I cut down my collection dramatically by putting all the sets I didn’t use often in a box and simply dispersing them at my next D&D game. About 25 sets went out the door, and it was a relief. Sure, I could have gotten money for selling them all on eBay or the market, but between postage and stress and putting it off, it was worth it to me to brighten my players’ day and get them out of my gaming shelf. Obviously I don’t toss out expensive sets, and I’d never give away my favorites that bring me the most joy!
Conclusion: Guilt Free
When you read my example of $50 a month, did that make you gulp with guilt because you spend way more? Sometimes I do, too. Did that make you sigh wistfully, wishing you could spend that much? Sometimes I spend way less than that. So hopefully some of the tips in this article will let you cut down on spending or find better ways to budget dice. But I want to be clear that whether you have to save pennies to afford $2 generic sets when you can, or whether you’re a big spender with virtually no budget, you are a welcome Dice Maniac. You should never be ashamed of buying shiny plastic objects to brighten your life regardless of your budget.