The funniest thing I’ve ever read about Kickstarter was that it was like QVC for hipsters. Though I don’t think that’s completely true, it is on the mark enough to generate a chuckle or two. Just like an actual shopping network though, it is very easy for you to spend far more money than you ever intended.
It’s like going grocery shopping when you are hungry: you shouldn’t do it.
The other day I found out just how much money I have spent through Kickstarter (thank you Mint.com.) Though I am not yet willing to share that figure, let’s just say that I found it to be surprisingly, but not shockingly large. Backing a few projects a month really adds up after a while, and though I knew I had some impulse buying tendencies, I suppose I should have been more vigilant in this new commercial arena.
Tips on how to check yo’self before you wreck yo’self? Follow me.
When I was younger, I made a regular habit of buying things I really didn’t need, and didn’t actually want all that badly. The worst offenders were always DVDs and Video games. What is the point of buying a movie instead of renting it when you are only going to watch it once or twice? What is the point of getting a $40 game if you’re going to play it for less that twenty hours?
Since then, I have made great strides in resisting these urges, with a few simple rules:
- If you really want it, you’ll still want it in a week. Don’t grab something as soon as the urge strikes. See if it fades; it usually does.
- Don’t be a day one buyer, wait for the reviews. How many bad movies would you have missed seeing, how many bad books would you have avoided buying, if you had just waited a week to see what other people have to say?
- Budget, budget, budget. I do this one pretty religiously these days, so I’m not sure how Kickstarter escaped the net, honestly. It works, especially if you are trying to find more ways to save for large goals.
- Wait till something is on sale. If you are a PC gamer, this is especially true today. I wanted X-Com the day it came out, but knew I wasn’t going to have time to play it till after Wardenclyffe was finished funding. I snagged on a Black Friday sale for 50% off, only a month after it’s release.
Only the rule about budgeting really applies to Kickstarter directly, and I’ll be the first to admit that tempting stretch goals and add on’s destroy a well crafted budget. When spending money on Kickstarter, it is more about triage; where can you spend your limited resources in a truly effective way. I try to keep my rules top of mind in these situations.
- Need (not yours, theirs.) Do the creators need your money, or is this just a cash grab. If they don’t need it, wait till retail – then you can find out if it is even worth picking up.
- Consistency. In an effort to reduce my belongings, I try only ever to get digital rewards except when board games are involved. Even though I find myself straying on the occasional game book or comic project, reinforcing the minimalist reasons behind this choice is often enough to get me to lower my pledge back to the more appropriate tier.
- Deal. Are they giving you a deal appropriate to compensate for your dual risks: not knowing if the product will ever materialize, and not knowing if it will be any good? If not – waiting costs you nothing.
Anyone else brave enough to talk about how much money they spend on Kickstarter, or the ways they reset the urge for same?