Budgeting for Cardboard?

It's Memorial Day weekend, and summer is in full swing in our house.  Work is crazy, the kids are out of school, and my role of Chaplain for our local minor league team is beginning to eat into my available time to blog.  With all these summer activities going on, the frequency of updates may slow for a while, but hopefully I'll still be making four to five posts a month.

A couple weeks ago a picked up  massive collection that really got me thinking.  I guess I should say it seemed massive at first.  The collection consisted of somewhere around 65 printer paper boxes and about 20 other shoe boxes of various sizes.  My entire Dodge Caravan was full. 

That's a lot of cards!

That's a lot of cards!

Once I got it home and started going through it I discovered what this collector had done and it kind of fascinated me.  The vast majority of these printer boxes contained retail hangers and blasters.  He had opened this retail, pulled the rookies, superstars, and inserts, and then stuck the rest of the cards back in to the pack, and then stuffed the packs back into the retail box, and neatly pieced the retail boxes into one of these printer boxes.  The shoe boxes had some of the cards which had already been pulled from the packs.

Wow, that's a lot of retail

The first thought that came to my mind is how much was spent on these original retail packages.  There were around $400-$500 worth of retail boxes in each one of these printer boxes.  Multiply that times 65 and you're talking about real money!  So that got me thinking about this question:

How do you set your card budget?

I have no idea what the original owner's financial situation is.  33K over the ten year range of the collection may be fun money for some, and it may be a couple car payments for others.  If you are buying and selling successfully along the way, your ability to buy more with a lower net out of pocket cost goes up because your sales offset the costs.  However, if you rarely sell, every pack you buy is more of a pure expense.

My personal goal is to buy and sell enough to pay for all the cards I want to keep for my personal collection.  I want to build my collection at a net cost of $0. 

What is your approach? 

Do you have a similar goal? 

Do you have a set budgeted amount you set aside for cards? 

Do you sacrifice a car or something for your house to buy another box of cards? 

Do you buy cards instead of saving for retirement, or does buy and selling add to the money you have available for retirement?


What a Waste of Space

The second thing that stood out is how much space was being wasted by putting the cards back into the blaster boxes.  I'm pulling these cards out of the packs and without the wrappers and blasters, they are taking up around 20% of the space they took up before.  The original 60 plus boxes will be around 10 when it's all said and done.  I'm not sure why you would choose to store a collection that way.  It took up more space and you couldn't enjoy looking at the cards?

The pile of empty boxes!

The pile of empty boxes!

I don't like clutter and only have so much room in my house, so have to store my collection in a way that is efficient as possible while still letting me enjoy looking through it.

How do you store your collection? 

Any thoughts on why this collector may have done it this way?

There are as many ways to collect and motivations behind collecting as there are cards to collect.  Everyone has a different story.  Take a second to tell me yours in the comments below!