Friday, October 24, 2014

Trimming the Fat

I have to admit that over the past number of years I have grown fat and happy (figuratively, of course). I have been employed by the same company for the past twenty-five years and have never been too worried about job security, while my wife has been able to stay home to raise the kids without the need to work outside the home. She has worked for the past two-and-a-half years, but that was mainly due to the boredom that had settled in as the kids have grown. The reason she has been able to stay at home? Well, it certainly isn't because I'm Mr. Moneybags.

For the past twenty years, my wife has received a monthly annuity from an auto accident suffered while in college. While going home one weekend, she was hit head-on by a driver who had fallen asleep and crossed-over into her lane. She woke up from a coma quite a few days later. I didn't know her at the time, but from the pictures I've seen and the stories I've heard, it's a miracle that she even survived. Physical pain has lingered ever since, she never finished college, and having her in the passenger seat can be adventurous at times (when a car gets too close for comfort)- but hey, it did afford us the luxury of her being home. A blessing in disguise, as some would call it.

Anyway, we were recently informed that we would be receiving one more annuity deposit (which we have since received). Not the end of the world, as she has been working.

Until earlier this week.

Shortly before her workday was to begin on Monday, she was notified that she was being laid off; and now, for the first time in all our years together, we face an uncertainty regarding finances. I have to admit that I'm more than a little worried. I'm by nature a pessimist and all of a sudden I began thinking we will never gain that income back. I know, silly, but that's how I'm wired. We have money set aside- but a lot of it is for our daughter's education and we certainly don't want to dip into that. So what's a guy to do until this employment situation is settled? Trim the fat, of course.

Perhaps you've been in the same situation and were faced with a similar decision. When it comes to survival, it's certainly an easy call.

For me, the first thing to trim is my card allowance. That means not only is the amount I set aside going to change, but more importantly, what I add to the collection will change.
Just a brief outline of what my collecting focus for the time being will look like:

I. Team Sets ~ Continue to work on current team sets

Flagship Topps team sets for the Braves: Three separate releases over the course of the year, making it easy enough to continue doing. May have to forgo the Brave inserts, though.

Heritage: Those damn SP's and High Number team sets might be my down fall. Well, as long as I am patient and wait a few months, the SP prices will certainly fall back down to bargain prices. Again, attainable.

Archives: Depending on the years they revisit and whether or not there are short prints. May have to skip over this so that I can have a little more to go towards....

II. Player Collections

my most recent Chipper pick-up. $7.50 and free s/h

This is where my collection will take the biggest hit, as far as adding new cards to the collection. These can be the most expensive and offers the most choices, as far as what to buy. I even recently thought out loud about the possibility of adding new players to the collection. Well, I can put that on hold for the time being. Since I'm a Topps team set collector, the player collections do allow for a few cards from the other varying sets that I otherwise wouldn't pick up.

III. Oddballs/Food-Issues and Regional Sets

 at least they're inexpensive!

These would be harder for me to give up than player collections. Thankfully, many of the food-issues and oddballs from the 80s/90s can be had cheap. Regional sets and anything older from the genre can be a little- okay, a lot more- pricy than the newer releases. Gotta try to keep adding to the inventory for my Base(ball) Oddity and Food-Issue Friday posts.

Going Shopping

One thing I seriously need to reconsider is the eBay app. It offers an easy way to watch auctions and BIN products. Instead, I need to be like the coupon crazed bargain hunters- only for me it will be utilizing Sportlots, finding which sellers have the most cards I want and take advantage of the low prices along with paying only one or two shipping fees.

Online Trading
I haven't made much of a trading presence online. One of my goals (ironically enough) was to try to get rid of some of the excess stuff I've accumulated and try to trade it for stuff I do need. To do that requires money for shipping, so that will be on hold.

Trying to cut back on my hobby isn't really going to be that tough; the hardest part of this trial will be to try to build my wife's confidence back. I've never experienced a job-loss (other than quitting for something else), so I can only imagine what it would do to one's self-esteem. Getting that done will be far more rewarding than finishing off any complete set, team set or finding the rarest of hits.

** My apologies on the size of the scans. I just recently updated my Mac to OS X Yosemite and I've been having problems. I don't know if the scanner thing is a result of it...


  1. Sorry to hear about the financial uncertainty. I've had to cut back quite a bit this year and every year it seems more and more difficult to justify spending money on cards. I don't buy boxes anymore and going to the card aisle is no longer a weekly activity (more like every 2 months).

  2. Hang in there. Sounds like you've got a good plan.

  3. Sorry to hear about your wife getting laid off. Hopefully another job opportunity is waiting for her in the near future. Best of luck to you and your family.