The thing that worries me though is that I've just completed my 9th Star Wars collection liquidation for a fellow collector's X-wife. I hear the story over and over how boxes and boxes of stuff just keep arriving at the house all addressed to him and no where to put them. Pretty soon simple things like telephone service and electricity get turned off. She has no idea what is going on. She finds out that they have a huge credit card bill and no money in the bank. This goes on for a while and the family get separated. She comes to me to help sell his Star Wars collection. We typically get about 45-55% of the retail price of the stuff. The older stuff like EP1 is given away to charity. She is trying to rebuild her and her children's life and he is living with some friends or his parents. Another family destroyed. Of course, there were other reasons for the divorse but being burried in stormtroopers with no lights pushes things in that direction really well.
That's not too much. That's just totally pathetic. As soon as toys (or anything non-essential) becomes the top "priority" for someone, to the point of being unable to pay for necessities, it's just totally screwed up. To know that a family was screwed over because of a guy's toy buying is even worse.
I don't hide my age, so if you bother to look you'll see that I'm not one of those guys that is in the "real world" just yet. I'm fortunate enough to have my college being paid for, as well as other things that help me out financially. (hand-me-down car, for starters) However, I do know the importance of prioritizing how money is spent. You won't catch me buying an action figure if I need money for gas or food, or if I have some other expense coming up. I also don't spend beyond my means. I don't have a credit card, so if I can't afford something, I don't get it. If I want it badly enough, I set some money aside and save for it.
Phruby, it's an interesting thought about debt accumulation due to buying action figures. However, I don't see it that way. As was mentioned by someone earlier, I'm paying for the enjoyment that I get out of the toys, which is quite a bit. Same thing with music, movies, and the occasional book. Plus I'm not always losing money when I sell my toys. I find that if i'm patient, I can get 75%-90% of the cost of my loose stuff. Plus there are the "rare" items (Revan, Malak) and big ticket pieces (Turbo Tank, Gunship) that end up skyrocketing in value.
I don't think I've hit the point where I have too much stuff, but I'm always re-evaluating and slimming down my collection. I know I've hit a point where I'm scaling back on how much new stuff I buy, but that's mostly due to the recent $9.00 and $10.00 price hikes. I would've liked 6 of the recent Vintage wave five figures (the whole wave), but I ended up getting only two. When a toy is costing the same as two burritos, 1/3 tank of gas, a trip to the movies, or a Bluray at a great sale price, I start to reevaluate things.