Sunday, 30 January 2011

Frugalnomics Lesson 1 - False Economy

It’s nice to have the position of power that I do.  But as Spiderman famously said ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’, so as part of my ongoing mission to educate the masses, I’m launching an intermittent series of articles on Frugal Gaming basics.  I’m calling it ‘Frugalnomics’

Basically it’s like Scientology, except that it’s free and there’s no big secret at the end.  By the way, if you’re wondering, the big secret at the end of Scientology is that Bruce Willis is a ghost.

The first lesson is ‘False Economy’.  False Economy is (according to Wikipedia) action which saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being wasted than being saved.

So how does false economy relate to gaming?  Well, perhaps you bought some cheap miniatures on a whim, only to realise the quality was rubbish and they never got used.  Not only did you spend money unnecessarily; you now have to spend the money all over again to buy better miniatures that will get used.  Or how about this; you buy a cheap set of tools, they’re difficult to use and break after a few months of use; you need to buy them again.  As the old saying goes ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’.

So how do you prevent falling into the false economy trap?  The main way I’ve found is to have a look at how much alternative products cost.  If you find a particular product from one retailer, have a look around and see what other companies are producing it. 

The tricky bit is trying to decide which offers the best value for money; so not necessarily the cheapest or the most expensive, but the one that offers the balance of quality and price.  A recent example from my own frugal existence is superglue.  I’ve been using pound shop superglue for years and it’s always produced terrible results, breaking easily and requiring me to buy more.  After the last bottle ran out I decided to go for a more expensive brand and dished out £3.20 for some thick, slower setting superglue.  Since then, it’s been a pleasure to use and has been much more effective.  I only have to glue once and it stays stuck.

 Have you had a false economy situation?  Let me know via email, or post it below. 

Class dismissed.


Stock Investing and Trading said...

Hello~! I have one here. I bought 10 pound bag of potato for $3.00 which i end up throwing away all..Where i could have just spent $1.00 for 2 potatos and filled myself up ;p

I have followed your blog.
Could you follow mine too please at:
SkyBlueTrading Blog

I currently have a competition of stock price guessing where I will give the winner $3.00 for guess it right~


Dethtron said...

fell into this trap with a cheap airbrush and propellant. Blew $50 bucks on something that wasn't adequate for my real needs, then had to go out and spend $200 on a nicer dual action brush with a compressor. I did get to re-gift the cheap airbrush to somebody who just needed it for basecoating, though, so I guess all was not lost.

sonsoftaurus said...

In some cases second-hand figs can be a false economy. They often need to be stripped, plus in some cases cleaned up/repaired, which brings in opportunity costs with time, plus whatever you're spending on materials to fix them. The second part is that you just get the figs, not the full kit, so in cases of multi-piece kits don't get all the extra bits and whatnot. So the discounts have to be pretty deep to be worth it!

Anonymous said...

Buying a large amount of figures at a discount on a credit card and then not paying off the credit card for a year.

One can end up paying more in credit card interest then one saved on the figures.

Von said...

@sonsoftaurus - there is a very good reason why I often buy GW kits new, and that's it. If I trawl eBay or wherever and something I actually want that's only partially assembled, or not at all, I will snap it up, natch, but I like the building and the making and the choices and the kitbashing, and you just don't get to do that with most second-hand stuff.

On the other hand, if there's something out there where the build isn't the point, I will go for the cheapest deal I can manage; witness the Chaos Warriors, and my preference for pre-owned Warmahordes stuff.

Von said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GDMNW said...

Love this idea. I have also realised that I own way too many miniatures and far too few completed miniatures. I also have a massive shortage of cash. I'm new to the blog, I think I found you through FTW but I'm not sure...

Either way, you've gained a keen subscriber. I've even put some things on eBay!

Frugal Dave said...

Glad you like it GD! Keep us informed how you get on :)