Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #10: Don't Want No Cash, Don't Need No Money, Ain't Got No Stash...

This week's Sprue Cutters Union question is: What are your spending habits?

For a long time, I could spend freely on modeling with almost no ill effects.  I was lucky.  I had more expensive hobbies - aviation - so a few hundred bucks spent on kits every month seemed like nothing.  If I was sad or depressed, some new kits would make it all better.  If I saw something cool, I'd order it.  I'd order from the UK, the Far East, Australia.  It wasn't that cost didn't matter, it just didn't matter that much.  I was addicted.  My addiction lead to the Closet of No Hope, with more models than any sane person should have.  And while hitting the "order" button on my computer felt great, I would look at the number I'd amassed, and would feel like I was drowning.  There was no joy, just the reality of tens of thousands of dollars spent on kits that will never get built, while I put off things that I actually need and enjoy:  new glasses, vacations, sporting events and clothes.  "I can't afford that," I'd say.  Then I'd turn around and spend $100 on models.

As I've tried to become a healthier person; I've realized that I was addicted to collecting kits.  (I'd delude myself that I was going to build them all, but when the number exceeds the amount I could build in my lifetime, that becomes a ridiculous assertion.)  The truth is that I was buying things to make myself feel fill holes in a life that I let get away from me.  That changed in 2011:  I ended a marriage that wasn't working.  I quit my job and opened my own company.   After many major life changes, I feel more in control; more complete.  I no longer need to buy kits in order to feel whole, and I'd rather have a collection of kits I truly love instead of a closet full of things that remind me how lost I once was.  With a future cross county move in the works, I need to reduce rather than increase the size of my collection.  This doesn't mean I don't buy new kits...Hello, Airfix Lancaster Mk. II...but I am more thoughtful than I was in the past.   Now my challenge is to differentiate between a healthy, pleasurable hobby and my regrets of the past.  Sometimes, I catch myself feeling guilty over what should be a reasonable purchase.

I was talking with my girlfriend earlier this week about my occasional guilt and she reminded me of an idea we'd discussed before: eliminate the guilt by setting a budget specifically for kits and stay within that budget.  So that's what I'm going to do.  Yesterday, I read Mike Grant's post and realized this is how he operates.  I think it's an excellent idea.  Rather than using kits as a salve for all that is wrong in my life, I'm looking forward to enjoying both my life and my hobby.

Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributor's posts within your own response. So here are a few posts from some of the other members:

Mike is on a budget.
Welcome Bill to the Union.
David is a librarian.


The Migrant said...

That's as profound and honest as any post I've read on a modelling blog, and you've hit the nail on the head: so often we buy kits for the temporary high of acquisition, then wonder why we're over faced and drowning in a stash too large to ever build. Your post has inspired me to cut down my collection even further. Great post Jim, and glad things are turning around for you.

Eternal Wargamer said...

Thanks for sharing your story bud. I think it can be easy to get into buying hobby stuff to make ourselves feel better. I'm glad you made changes in your life and sound like you're happier for it.

Dave Fleming said...

Personally, I blame the Great Kit Famine of the mid 80s for my former spending habits - the need to grab something because it might not be available later.

I too stopped buying - the need for a new pair of shoes for the kids far outweigh my hobby demands. Need to thin the herd though!

Unknown said...

oh that's so true! I still can feel it too from time to time.

David Geldmacher said...

So, I now shop very frequently, loading up my shopping cart with all those things I'd love to have in the collection. Fortunately, I've found that this alon satisfies those deeper cravings for more, and I can walk away without hitting the order button.

These days, I (almost always) limit myself to buying kits and aftermarket goodies that I plan to use on the immediate next build or one in progress. I admit that I sometimes have lapses, and I know there are specific holes in the collection (which I now call it, rather than stash) that I will fill when I see an item become available. But, for the most part, I've been able to tone down the stash-creep consderably in these last few years.