It is a fact of life that being a nerd, geek or otaku is not cheap. Chances are you have heard the joke ‘Anime: drugs would be cheaper’ and while it is true there are some good ways to get the merch you want for a better price.
#1 Shop around
Starting with the most obvious just to get it out of the way. Just like with conventions, you might find an item and buy it, only to find out you could have gotten it much cheaper online. A personal example I have is when I bought a one ring replica at Geekaboo for £20 only to be shown some sold on Ebay for £2. The real kicker? The Ebay ones where of much higher quality than mine.
Speaking of Geekaboo, for the most part you can get a lot of the items sold there a couple quid cheaper at Forbidden Planet. Because I’m a cheap person with too much time on her hands, I compared several of the items they both sold. Identical in every way, but the price.
#2 Official or bust
Last thing about Geekaboo, I promise.
Geekaboo has a big range of t-shirts available, but a fair amount of them are stolen fan art off the internet. The problem with this, besides stealing other peoples art of course, is the fact these tops are very poor quality. Same stories with the bags and plushies. Unless it has a proper official label on it, it could be a knock off.
“But aren’t knock offs cheaper?” You might point out. Not in the long run. Take the bags, mine fell apart within a week of use, not even heavy use mind you. Also when that cute tee falls apart, you are going to need/want to buy a replacement. It is much safer to buy official branded merch. Trust me.
One of the biggest downsides of buying online is that you can’t really check the quality of the product for yourself. Not to mention that is really easy to fall for tricks online.
Seek out validation that the vendor is trustworthy buy asking if any of your friends have used that particular vendor. Don’t put blind faith in reviews, some might have been made in proxy accounts. Better safe than sorry, especially with money.
#4 The mum friend
We all have that friend. The guy or gal that acts more like a parent at times than your friend. If you have a shocking lack of self control (like me), try to get your mum friends opinion before you do anything. When you go shopping, try to get them involved. Send them a link to an item you want to buy to get their approval before you click the checkout button.
Downside to this is that you might end up annoying them if you do that constantly. I found out the hard way.
#5 Second hand second chance
Personally, I love charity shops. Often because you can find some hidden gems. Particularly when it comes to books. I found the first four Star Trek novels in a charity shop for £1.25 each. Another time I found a collection of Death Note manga. Heck, a wee while ago I found a Madoka Magica replica necklace, it even hand the original box in great condition. True, if you want a more recent book or the latest game, this might not be the best option.
However, If you are looking for an older title, be it book, DVD or game it does pay to get it second hand. Try browsing through the preowned section of GAME or pop into your local charity shop. You might just be surprised. As a little side note to fellow Glaswegians. There is a second hand DVD store in town called Missing which stocks a fair about of anime, Sci Fi and Fantasy. You’re welcome.