Editorial | Tips for Geeking on a Budget

Whether it is due to situational circumstances (i.e. being a college student) or just a personal preference, everyone likes to save money.  Let’s be honest, being a geek can get expensive.  Whether it is cosplay, shelf porn, comic book collecting, or hardcore video gaming, most geeky hobbies can quickly end up costing serious cash.  With this in mind, here is a list of Therefore I Geek’s favorite ways to save money.

10.)Avid video gamers know the drill already:  Steam sales are the way to go!  Steam is a gaming and digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation that has a little over 3,000 titles available and has blowout sales several times per year.  Although it is common knowledge that Steam’s biggest sales are in summer (June/July) and at the holidays (December/January), with a couple of smaller sales in the autumn and sometimes near Halloween, the exact sale dates are not released very long in advance.  The best advice would be to save a little extra right before these times to be prepared to stock up for the intervening months.2014-steam-summer-sale-day-2

9.)While most people know about Netflix for cheap movie streaming, they may not know that Amazon Prime is another great movie resource.  Prime members get free streaming for around 3,000 movies, including Clerks and Cabin in the Woods, and Amazon recently announced the launch of Prime Music, which works a lot like Rhapsody, but without the monthly bill.  Members also have access to thousands of Kindle books for free by “borrowing” them for up to two weeks from the Prime library, and get free two-day shipping on all physical goods.  Best of all, students get a limited version of Amazon Prime for free for the first six months and 50% off for the next five years.

firefly_pendant

One of my favorite custom creations from RainDropDesignNet on Etsy

8.) At first glance, the home of all things creative and homemade, Etsy, may not seem like the ideal money saving website, but there is lots of niche fan paraphernalia that is relatively inexpensive.  The best thing about Etsy is that shoppers are not limited to choosing just what is available for sale on the site.  Love a particular creator’s work, but want a particular design?  Sellers are often happy to create a one-of-a-kind item—often for cheaper than might be expected.

7.) Groupon is a giant, discount website that sells everything from fitness classes and spray tans to micro and mini HDMI cables.  Originally the supplier discount had to be at least 50% for anything sold on Groupon, but that does not seem to be the case anymore, since the iPad mini on the website is priced at $329.  Still, there are lots of great deals on geeky products, accessories, and even events, depending on the shopper’s location.

6.) Local comic book store sales are a not-so-surprising way to save a lot of money.  Local stores often have an assortment of back issue comic books, as well as trades and even cool geek gear that piles up.  Making sure to know when local stores are having sales is a great way to get that fan fix for less.  Convention goers have another secret source for cheap comic books:  $1 comic bins.  A lot of local comic book stores have something similar too!  These can sometimes be really well organized and a joy to look through, and sometimes they are just long boxes filled with random books.  Either way, it’s easy to use these bins to branch out into series and even publishers that aren’t in the weekly pull list.

5.)  A great website that helps shoppers stick to their budget and help out charity at the same time is Humble 2K Bundle.  The site bundles digital content (games, music, books, and other media) and sells them in a “pay what you want” model.  Not only can buyers pay the price they want to pay, but they can also decide how they want their payment divided among the developers of the products and charities that include Child’s Play, charity; water, and the American Red Cross.

lootcrate4.) Lootcrate is a monthly subscription box service that sends roughly $40 worth of cool, geeky stuff directly to the subscriber’s door.  The cost of the service decreases based on how many month’s worth are purchased at a time.  A single month’s subscription is just under $20, but drops as low as $17.67/month for a six month subscription.  Rumor has it that this month’s box includes an exclusive Rocket Raccoon #1 cover variant (There’s just one more day to sign up to get the July Lootcrate).

3.) Amazon.com is a geek’s dream, but let’s face it, it isn’t always easy on a budget.  Fortunately, shityoucanafford.com makes it much easier to find interesting, inexpensive things on Amazon.  In fact, the entire website is stuff from Amazon.com that is under $20.  Desperate for a remote controlled tarantula but short on cash?  There’s one right here for just $16.49.

LED gloves

I don’t know WHY I need these, but I’m pretty sure that I DO.

2.)  Online prices are very often cheaper than the prices in an actual brick-and-mortar store, but the trade off is that waiting for an item to ship is a buzz kill.  Although they don’t advertise it, Best Buy and Target both price match Amazon, giving the option for the best of both worlds.  Amazon has even made this easier with their barcode scanner app on the Android Play store and the iTunes App store.

1.)  Of course, the best way to save money is to not spend it at all.  That’s why the number one way to geek on a budget is completely free.  Watchcartoonsonline.com hosts hundreds of free cartoons and anime—some with English dubbing, and some with only subtitles.  For free flash games that are really entertaining, check out armorgames.com.  Be aware, however, these sites will eat up hours of free time!

There are lots of other ways to save money, of course, such as checking out Craigslist (make sure to be safe when going to pick up items), or making things at home.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.  The internet is full of tips for video gamers on a budget, tabletop gamers, comic lovers, and more.

Do you have a favorite way to enjoy your fandoms with minimal expense?  Let us know in the comments.

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2 Comments

Filed under Editorial, Geek Life, Tracy Gronewold

2 responses to “Editorial | Tips for Geeking on a Budget

  1. Kory R

    First I read the article.
    Next I clicked the links.
    Then I bought stuff.
    Geeky stuff…

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