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4 Tips to Avoid Blowing Your Convention Budget in the Dealer’s Room

4 Tips to Avoid Blowing Your Convention Budget in the Dealer’s Room

The dealer’s room is one of the highlights of a convention. Rows and rows of anime, manga, comic books, art books, posters, games, rare toys, costume tails, tote bags, body pillows! What more could a geek ask for?

With all these tempting treasures, it’s easy to blow your entire budget in this place! How do you keep yourself and your wallet under control? Don’t worry — we’re here to help! Here are four tips to avoid dropping all your money in the dealer’s room.

1. Set a spending limit — and stick to it.

Be strict about how much you’re gonna spend in the dealer’s room. That way, when you’re staring at a case of figures from your favorite idol anime, you’ll know how many you can afford. And no more. Seriously. No more.

How much money should you bring? Depends on what merch you like. Those figures could run you $50-100+ each, depending on what material they’re made of, how detailed they are, and so on. Anime box sets and manga are usually $10-30 if they’re new, but they can cost a lot more if they’re rare or come packed with extras. Comic book prices vary by rarity, too, with some selling as much as $1000+.

And don’t forget handmade goods. Every con has a few dealers selling unique items you can’t find anywhere else.

The best thing to do is research prices before the con. If they post a list of dealers, try checking out some stores online if you can. As for common goods, many dealers charge the suggested retail prices to make things easier, especially if they’re moving a lot of merchandise at once. But that’s not always true, so set your spending limit a little higher than your first estimate, just in case.

2. Do a lap around the dealer’s room first.

Before you buy anything, walk around the entire dealer’s room and note what’s there. What catches your eye? How much does most stuff cost? What’s within your spending limit?

Don’t forget to compare prices. Many dealers carry the same items, especially new products. The last thing you need is to buy something only to find out the store next door sells it cheaper.

Once you’ve got your info, head back to the entrance and start over from the stores you’re most interested in. But don’t buy everything on your wishlist yet. Good things come to those who wait. (See #4.)

3. Don’t buy food from the dealer’s room (unless it’s something unique).

Remember our post “5 Ways to Save Money on Food at a Con”? Some dealers carry snacks and drinks, so you might be tempted to grab a bite while you’re there. But like the food in the hotel or convention center, the prices are often too darn high.

If it’s a unique food or drink, like a flavor of Ramune you’ve never tried before, go for it. Call it an edible souvenir. But if it’s just a can of Coke, is it really worth it? We don’t think so. Bring your own snacks and save yourself some money.

Better yet, go get lunch. It’ll hold you longer.

4. Shop on Sunday.

If you’re one of those congoers who skip Sundays, you’re missing out on the best deals! Dealers need to sell as much as they can so they don’t have to haul it home, so they bust out the discounts. 20 percent off on anime box sets! BOGO on manga! It’s music to your ears when your wallet’s almost empty!

Just make sure you’re there early. Everything is first come, first served, and the dealer’s room will usually close around mid-afternoon so the dealers can pack up.

There you have it: four tips to help you enjoy your geeky shopping spree without breaking the bank. We here at ConPack’d love the dealer’s room, so if we’re ever at a con with you, that’s probably where you’ll find us — following these tips, of course!

March 2023