Dice Budgeting

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.

PayPal Balance

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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).

Simple Budget

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.

Roll Over

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

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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.

Favorites

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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.

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Buying Expensive Dice

By Melissa Alexandria

Ok, so as many of you likely know, I have a thing for buying and trading expensive dice. Recently I bought a pair of Mammoth Ivory Nickel Silver Inlayed dice from Artisan Dice for over $2,300.  However, this wasn’t my first, and it certainly won’t be my last, expensive purchase. A few of my friends remarked that it was “risky” and “weren’t you scared to spend that much money” on something that I might not get? When I shared with them how I protected myself, they encouraged me to share it here to the DMC as well.

This is *not* about Artisan Dice, Level Up Dice, or any other specific company but rather a general op-ed offering my humble advice on what works for me. Obviously, I also can’t guarantee your results, and you should always do your own due diligence and never extend yourself in a way that makes you financially or emotionally uncomfortable.  The dice in the picture for reference are Level Up’s Damascus Steel & Artisan Dice’s aforementioned Mammoth Ivory. I am going to walk you through some “real life” examples of what I did on this most recent purchase.

My first bit of advice is to do your research within our great DMC community. What experiences have others had?  When, how, and for what? Look for warning flags and areas you might want to avoid or mitigate your risk. This is a great community and a terrific resource. In this case I was considering spending $2000+ on a set of dice from a maker that has had some issues with both delivery, timing, and quality control particularly in the past, and I’d used DMC to both do my research and to find and speak with past customers. Whether I believe they have turned things around or not is irrelevant when we are talking about “my” money, so I wanted safeguards.

After that checking with the community, look into the company you are considering purchasing from: what is their policy on customer satisfaction, guarantees, and returns/refunds and exchanges? If it’s not clearly spelled out for you, ask questions and get it in writing (email is fine, it doesn’t have to be an actual letter). Do, however, make sure that the terms are spelled out clearly and specifically to your proposed purchase. In this case I contacted the shop owner directly. I asked how long it was going to take from payment to delivery. I was told 6 weeks.  I asked if he had faith in his ability to deliver, and he said he did. I then said “Fair enough. I know that custom work often involves complications, so I’ll even allow for extra time.  But would you guarantee that I will have my dice completed to my satisfaction of quality within 10 weeks, or I am entitled to a full refund?” He agreed, and this was all conducted in writing.

I would always recommend large purchases be made with a credit card. This is frankly your best bet to avoid all manner of complications. Specifically, you want their muscle for buyers protection. Again, if you aren’t sure, ask! In this case I felt comfortable about purchase protection for 30 day issues, but this was 6-10 weeks! So I called my credit card company and asked “If I buy something with your card and have a written/email agreement that it be delivered to my satisfaction within 10 weeks or I am entitled to a full refund and the company gives me an issue, will you have my back?” The credit card company said “we got you.” So I asked that this be annotated in the record of my call, and I proceeded.

I outlined my expectations to the owner, and again without placing any blame or giving attitude just plainly stated what I would expect from this transaction, and the protections I had in place. He acknowledged his understanding and agreed to the terms of sale (again in writing!).

Finally be ready to ‘walk away’, if any of these protections weren’t able to be landed, and/or we hit the 10 week mark…I would have pulled the plug at once…both by notifying the company and then my credit card company as needed.

My order was then placed, and, of course, I kept the records, but throughout the process I was updated on each step and in 7 weeks I had my dice (a one-week delay for custom work is not bad!). They are amazing, and I love not only that I have a new heirloom quality set for my collection, but that I had a worry-free amazing experience, completely comfortable in my purchase.

So, that’s it!  I hope this helps some of you who might be considering big purchases from *any* of the dice manufacturers out there. Let’s face it, most of the companies are small operations, and while they mean well, sometimes things happen.

I know I post a lot of pictures of dice, some expensive and some not so much, but I am always careful about my decisions.
Lastly I want to state:
– This is not about any specific company
– This is regarding purchases direct from a company, your options (and risk) with person-to-person or Kickstarter type purchases become a lot more complicated and risky (for the record I often use Paypal ‘goods and services,’ and I usually run that through a credit card for 2 layers of protection).

Hope this helps.