Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cosplay on a Budget!? No Problem!

How to easily budget your cosplay? Simple! Though it may take a little work on your part. Money is not easy and it does not just get dropped into our laps.

A lot of times I hear people say, "it's too expensive for me to cosplay," and I think to myself that yes, yes cosplay is expensive. But this does not mean that it has to be un-doable! Like any hobby or business, it takes budgeting and money managing to be able to enjoy doing what you love.  To be honest, I am not rich. I make minimum wage at a retail store and get little hours during the after-holiday season. I have bills and gas to pay. To get a general idea, I make about $42-$74 a week and $30 of that goes to gas each week. Occasionally I get lucky and make a commissions sale, but that is few and far between. I am saving up to move out on my own, get a new car and pay the rest of my tuition to graduate.

So how do I manage to afford to make my costumes?

Careful planning, budgeting, saving and sale-hopping!  I do occasionally get help from my wonderful Significant Other, but I do not rely on him for help nor do I expect it of him. So I try to manage my money in the best way that I can to be able to do what I love and still be responsible.  Not all of these may work for everyone, though.

So can you! Here are some tips that I find helpful:

1).  Save your pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters.

Saving your loose pocket change and random coins found around the house helps a lot. Not all of us enjoy carrying around loose change so why not store them away and save them? Over time, change does add up and can help take a chunk of cost out.

2).  Have something called "unbudgeted money".

Unbudgeted money is money you have stored away and do not include it in your budget. It is outside your budget. Say you have $100. Take out a small chunk of that and store the other away. Forget about it, that money doesn't exist. That is your important, non-spending money. You have limited yourself to XX amount of dollars to spend on whatever you want. The rest of it is to make sure that you can live.

3).  Stash $1 or more each paycheck.

If you can afford it, try to put away a dollar or so with each paycheck. A lot of people have bills to pay and barely make it from check to check, but sometimes .50 or $1 can be saved. This does add up, though it may take some time. I used to save $1 per check I got, which was how I used to budget.

4).  Coupons, coupons, coupons!

If you shop for your own fabrics, definitely check out the deals, the sales and the coupons! I ended up getting over $500 worth of fabric for projects for a year and spent only $170. This included notions! So check out the different deals and learn what stores take what coupons and how. Do they stack coupons? Is it additive or multiplicative? Do they offer student discounts or senior discounts or military discounts? Different stores do and offer different things. Some fabrics may be cheaper at one store than another. Shopping online can also save you money on supplies as well.

5).  Thrift shop.

Yes, thrift shopping is another great place to get cosplay pieces! Sometimes you may even find some nice sheets or curtains for fabrics. Maybe you can find that perfect prop piece or article of clothing.

6).  Group orders. 

Want to buy some worbla for a project but its too expensive? See about cutting cost down by finding some friends who would be willing to go in on a group order with you to knock off some extra bucks. Anything you can save is worth it. Group ordering also helps to cut down on shipping costs too.  Which brings me to #7....

7).  Order in bulk.

Sometimes you can get better deals by ordering more. When I shop for fabrics, it is nice to order a bolt because it can be a couple dollars cheaper than buying a yard or two. Sure there will be extra fabric, but future projects could use that fabric, so it is not like it will go to waste. It will save you that extra gas since you would not have to go back to the store and rebuy. Saves you additional tax and even keeps you from randomly shopping for other things. Sequins, beads, thread, etc tend to be a lot cheaper when you order in bulk as well.

8).  Recycle your stuff.

Recycling from a previous costume is perfectly okay! Why buy more materials or new pieces when you already have something that would work? Don't waste that extra cash on a new item you already have or have something similar of. Instead, recycle and alter what you have.

9). Have a garage sale or sell some of that extra stuff you don't want or need.
You have a bunch of things lying around? Old cosplay stuff you have nothing for or outgrew or are too big anymore? Random articles of clothing that you or your kids (if you have any) no longer wear? Set up a yard sale and get rid of some of that clothing, sell your cosplay stuff to other cosplayers, and consider places like pawn shops. Sure you may not make much, but this cleans up some space for you and puts some extra dollars in your pockets. Every little bit helps!

10). Trade!
Trade! If another cosplayer is trading/selling stuff, see if you have anything they may be willing to make a swap for. :)  Trading is a great way to connect and is also a great way to save some money. Beware of shipping though, since international shipping can be costly. See what all of your options are as far as trading.

11). Artistic? Sell some art!

If you have artistic skills, consider doing some art commissions here and there. You may find you really enjoy this and want to go further with it if you are not already! This also applies to people who want to make costumes on commission too. Just make sure that you get out paid commissions to people in a timely manner. DeviantArt is a great place to sell artwork. You can also check out or other cosplay sites, etsy or storeenvy for selling cosplay related commission services.

12). Sell prints.

I have noticed that this is a relatively controversial topic in my facebook news feed. Some cosplayers actually sell prints of their costumes as a way to make some extra money to cosplay or pay bills. I say do what you have to do! Selling prints is a great way for people to support their friends or favourite cosplayers while still getting something in return. As long as the images are high quality, you have permission from the photographer, you split the shares with the photographer (usually these types of things are worked out in advance), and your print is high quality on good photo paper. There are many artistic things that you can do with prints. It doesn't have to be prints either! It can be calendars, shirts or other merchandise. I understand the "against prints" arguments, but honestly prints are a great way to market, network and earn for the cosplayer and are also a great way for friends and fans to support the cosplayer(s) and photographer(s)!  Storeenvy and DeviantArt are good places to sell prints!

13).  Do some odd jobs.

Mow your neighbor's lawn, babysit, tutor part time. These tend to be great ways of earning some extra pocket money on weekend! And a lot of these actually pay pretty well. is an excellent tutoring place if you are creditable, have some time and are pretty good at tutoring.

14). Sell your old textbooks.

If you have some of those old college books just laying around and you have no intentions of using them, consider getting rid of them. There are various places online that buy back listed text books or even amazon to sell your books to other students, teachers or collectors.

15). Cut back on eating out.

Eating out is expensive! Consider if you spend an average of $10 at McDonald's every other day. That is $30-$40 a week in fast food alone. Instead, consider eating out once a week and instead buy groceries. Groceries take you a long way for what you pay. A bag of potatoes can last you a week or two or more. Making homemade vegetable soup with tomato juice, vegetables and seasonings can last you a few days.Not to mention that eating from home tends to be much healthier for you than eating out. You are the one who gets to control what is in your food. Treat yourself every now and then, but try to not go overboard.

16).  Pay off your credit card(s) and don't use them often.
Sounds odd, yes, but credit card debt is common and expensive. For every payment you make you have an interest fee if you don't pay your card off all at once. If you are able to, pay off your card(s) as quickly as possible to avoid further interest fees. You also would not have to budget this money into your monthly expenses, so that is extra for you! Also make sure to pay your card(s) off on time!

I know that not all of these are feasible for everyone, and everyone has a different situation. Please keep in mind that these are just tips to help you out! :) There are a ton of different options out there that you can do. <3

Have fun and cosplay on!!!!~~~

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jack Frost

Generation IV: Dark Age
Jack Frost

A Filler

Its been a little while since I last updated, and I realized I never posted pics of Loki when he was completed!  So here are some of those as well as some new photo of Frost and other costumes!


Image by Mason T Photography

Rogue Riley