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Being a Wise Collector

Be honest with me. From one collector to the other. Have you ever overdone it on sports card purchases, you know, buyers remorse? There is a multitude of websites and YouTube videos that will tell you what to collect but have you ever wondered why doesn’t anybody talk about how to afford sports card collecting? Few content creators talk about being a wise collector.

That Moment When It All Sunk In

I recall a time when I was in denial. I was in my mid-thirties and my waist size was a 34. At least that’s what my head was telling me. In reality, I was every bit of a size 36. Every day I went into my closet and squeezed into my pants and at the end of the day, I was in severe pain due to the skin indentations caused by the pressure the pants left on my waistline.

It got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. The pain. The itching. I need a new wardrobe! So I went shopping and was quickly discouraged when trying on a size 36, some of these were tight too!

I wasn’t having any of that nonsense – I am not a size 38! I told myself. So I began to look for excuses, I blamed the manufacturer, the tailor, and the department store.

So I headed to a different store but the same thing happened there. In the fitting room, with mirrors all around, my shirt tucked under my chin while I tried to button yet another pair of jeans I realized – I had let myself go.

I no longer have that size 32 waist I had five years prior, the stomach muscles were now replaced with love handles and my manhood was down to a negative two swag ratio.

In hindsight, there were many moments when I ignored my conscience which told me perhaps I need to watch what I eat or start an exercise regimen but of course, I ignored it and in turn became ignorant of my current waist size.

That Difficult Moment of Self-Reflection

Which got me to thinking, the denial of my waist size is no different than the denial of our card collecting. Allow me to ask a series of important questions: When it comes to our finances and our sportscard collecting adventures, what do you see?

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Let’s stop for a  moment and look in the mirror… Take a long look… What do you see?

Are you behind on any of your bills? Take a look around, are there some desperately needed home improvements that need to get done? How are you paying for it, are you putting your sportscard collecting on credit cards? How about a savings account with at least one thousand dollars in it? I have learned the hard way to examine myself, frequently.

As collectors, it would be to our benefit to stay on top of our money-spending patterns, but one of the biggest obstacles to this is denial. So now that I’ve pealed this scab the question remains, what do we do about it?

How do we balance our responsibilities, our financial future, and our passion for sports card collecting? Here are 5 logical things we can do to become long-term, sustainable, wise collectors:

Being a Wise Collector Means:

1. Honesty

The first step is, to be honest with ourselves. The reality of our denial is that we lie to ourselves. We ignore the tale-tell signs that we are headed down a path that doesn’t end well. That yellow caution light is there to prepare you to stop not hit the gas.

Stop the overspending, as collectors, we MUST practice self-control. Today certain social media groups are dedicated to exposing those who have been labeled as “Sportscard Scammers.”

Unfortunately, the list is long, and their not all bad people their just people who didn’t pay attention to the signs and got caught up in the web of selfishness and dishonesty.

2. Prioritizing 

Statistics prove that the primary cause of divorce today is money. Inconsolable Difference the divorce decree states. It should read more like “Misplaced Priorities.”

If we’re falling short on our responsibilities due to our misuse of money with sportscard purchases, realize that it may lead to our spouse questioning, nagging, or having a full-blown argument – these are indicators that our priorities are out-of-order not that he/she is against our collecting.

We have an obligation to our family first. Sportscard collecting should fall towards the bottom of our priority list. This is non-negotiable and is the heartbeat of a wise collector.

3. Tracking Your Spending

The best way to stay true to sportscard collecting long-term is to budget your spending. Come into agreement with your spouse about how much of your finances can be allotted towards sportscards.

Next, keep track of your spending. I didn’t consider my spending remotely overboard, that was until I created a spreadsheet that went back six months and tracked all my spending. Let’s just say it was jaw-dropping. I had no idea! Today I do because I keep track of my spending.

4. Pacing Yourself

Like the folktale, The Tortoise and the Hare, many collectors are pedal to the metal, we are in such a rush to win the race that we don’t stop to appreciate what the hobby is all about.

We should pace ourselves like the turtle, slow and steady wins the race. I don’t know about you but I plan on being a sportscard collector my entire life, and that’s a long time. Strive for consistency. Slow down and make smart choices.

5. Realistic Goals

My passion is collecting rookie cards of Hall of Famers (the All-Time Greats). My want list is endless, I literally want the rookie cards of every single Hall of Famer in all four sports.

The reality is I would have to be a multi-millionaire to achieve that goal. Until that happens I’m going to set realistic goals. And I have come to the realization that there is a good chance that I’m not going to achieve my ultimate goal and that’s okay because I have learned to be content with my sportscard collecting.

Some days I can only buy a low price rookie card and other days I can buy a more expensive one, either way, I set realistic, attainable goals. Now that’s being a wise collector.

Why Being a Wise Collector is Important

Let me leave you with this. I have seen too many collectors consumed with the chase of the next big thing. They purchase like there’s no tomorrow, then tomorrow comes and they have to sell like there’s no tomorrow.

This happens because there was no plan. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

Without realistic goals, without pacing ourselves, without tracking our spending the crazy cycle continues, been there done that and it left me with nothing to show for it.

Today, I strive to be a wise collector, I strive to control my love of the hobby instead of my love of the hobby controlling me.


At times when we self reflect there is a tendency to beat ourselves up or lash out at the person who is bringing something to our attention. I am by no means wanting this post to discourage you.

Instead, I’m sharing with you the road of my experiences in the hobby in hopes that you can gain insight into potential dangers in our collecting of sports cards.

If and when you fall short and you feel like you’ve failed, know this, just because we failed doesn’t make us a failure. Instead, in our failures, we can learn, dust ourselves off and move on. This time a bit wiser than yesterday.

Finally, another thing that could be helpful is knowing what type of collector you are. You can read about this topic inside a relatable post here: What Hobby Wisdom Says About…

Happy Collecting, Collectors

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.