1: Sell or Trade some of your collection
Even if you get pennies on the dollar for your common trading cards, pennies do add up! Find a player, team, brand, sport, era....ect... that you are interested in (it could be many things) and collect those cards until you max out your visa. Everything else, I say sell it. There are many ways to sell your cards, I have done a few podcasts on the topic. Check them out below if you are interested.
Show #28 The 3 P's of Selling Your Sports Cards
Show #2 Selling Your Sports Cards
2. Buy During The "Off-Season"
It seems like there is no off season in sports these days and if you collect multiple sports there is always a regular season to follow. If you are serious about collecting a certain player, team or sport what does it matter if you have the cards 6-12 months later? (or longer)
You save money because there will be new product on the market and new RC's that tend to drive up sports card prices in the first or current year of release. Last years product is like a year old BMW, great car...drives as well as any car on the road...but its not "New" The other difference is probably about $10,000 and the same thing happens in sports cards. Obviously 1/1 and special cards need to be purchased when they come up, however more common jersey and autograph cards can be had for less in the off-season.
3. Set A Budget
Sounds boring...but tell me any great money making (and saving) business that doesn't have a budget? I'm not trying to say that you should run your collection like a business but we can learn from the power of budgeting. The easiest place to start is make a guess at how much money you have to spend each month on cards. Once you get that $$ down give that to yourself every month for your trading card collection. If you don't spend as much simply carry that amount over to the next month, just try not to go over. Modify you sports card budget as other things in life give/take more money from your pocket...but always have a dollar amount you can spend every month.
This will help you be more choosy when shopping...and keep you from overspending. Plus it will help focus your collection and eliminate cards that you don't really want or need.
4. Check eBay
Even if you don't buy on eBay or rarely do. Check the prices on their site. It gives you a decent idea what the market is for the trading card or box you are looking to buy.
5. Have Fun
Just have fun collecting whatever you decide to collect. Every great sports card collector goes through ups and downs but the main thing is to have fun. If a RC or Player you collect doesn't pan out, don't be discouraged...there is always another card to move on to. Enjoy the cards you cherish and pass on the ones you don't want to someone that will cherish them.
Send me an e-mail with your tips: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is another podcast I've done on saving some green
Show #29 Tips on "Buying Low"
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