Ever low-balled the price that you paid for that shiny new mini when your partner asks you how much it cost? Or do you buy bigger lot items from ebay and sell off the excess minis to stretch your hobby dollars? Do you not even have a budget? You buy as much as you want and guilt-free?
The value of miniatures is an intangible and constantly changing metric. What i think my collection is worth varies by who i am talking to at the time (it was bought dirt cheap when talking to my wife but when i sell it will be worth a small fortune, or priceless if i ever need to claim insurance). Of course, its worth more if I painted it coz it is pro-painted then :), even though i have never painted a commission piece for a customer ever. The sad truth is that it is better painted than my crap painting style the year before, but that’s it.
Here is how i spend $$. I’ve always sold off collections before moving onto my next big hobby interest, so i generally have a large spend at the start of collecting something new (financed from the money made by selling off my last collection), and then i spend less and less as i fill out the collection, until i start buying ebay lots with the intention of selling off bits i don’t need to fund purchasing more bits to fill out holes in my collection. It’s not an exact science and i generally don’t write $$ numbers down, but some internal mechanism sets off an alarm i think i am spending too much. And if my internal processes have failed, my external mechanism (my wife) is a very loud klaxon and alarm system.
The only problem with my system is that my internal alarm mechanism never accounts for the cost of postage. And postage is a real killer. I live in Australia so the price to ship anything here is ridiculous [Ed: about 5 years ago there was a news article on how it was cheaper to fly to the United States and buy Adobe Creative Suite 6 there, than it was to buy the software in Australia!]
And postage for buying international items on ebay is very expensive, especially if using ebay global shipping [Ed: which is such a scam system]. Sending one inq54 mini from the UK by ebay global shipping is about AU$25. Plus last year the Australian Government added a 10% tax to imports (including ebay purchases).