Here at CosBond, we’re in the business of helping you build better cosplays with more fun and less mess and stress. So we’ve decided to start another new series here on the CosBlog focused on helping you avoid common cosplay mistakes that can really ruin your build or cosplay experience. To get started, we wanted to cover one of the biggest roadblocks a lot of cosplayers face with every project: staying on budget while shopping for supplies. In this post, we'll discuss how to avoid overspending on your cosplay and the budget pitfalls to avoid during your builds.
Ways to Save on Cosplay
- Always shop around. This is a good budget tip when you're shopping for just about anything, but especially when it comes to cosplay supplies and materials. If you always buy from the first store or website you visit, chances are that at least some of the time, you'll end up paying more for your materials than you have to. Our best advice would be to always check at least a few different distributors and compare as many prices as you can find, especially for raw materials like foam, fabric, and thermoplastics. The more you look around, the more likely you are to find a discount, sale, or coupon. You may even discover new providers that offer better prices on other items you've purchased in the past and will need again. However, you should also keep a list (or commit to memory) where you found the best price so that you can check there first next time. For example, our builder Elyse knows that it's cheaper to buy Plasti Dip from Walmart than it is to buy at home improvement stores, so she always goes to Walmart first for her Plasti Dip.
- Research cheaper alternatives. If you've got a plan worked out for the cosplay you want to build but the supply list is coming out way over budget, you don't have to scrap the project or overspend in order to make it. The beauty of cosplay is that there's always another way to make something, and with a little research, you can almost always find a cheaper alternative that can give you a very similar result. For example, if the cost of thermoplastic is driving up your budget, you might be able to sculpt with a cheaper clay instead, or if you don't want to order foam from a supplier, you might be able to make do with foam garage mats from the hardware store.
- Plan and measure before you buy. Finally, if you want to keep cosplay costs down, the best thing you can possibly do is plan ahead and only buy exactly what you're going to need for the cosplay. Now, leaving yourself no room for error in order to save on costs is a bit of a risk, so we'd suggest budgeting a little more wiggle room in terms of fabric or glue, for example. Things happen, and you don't want to waste your entire cosplay because you couldn't finish it in time to wear it when you wanted. But in general, by being careful in your planning and being sure of what you want to build before you start buying supplies, you're much less likely to overspend on things you don't actually need.
Avoiding Big Cosplay Budget Mistakes
Staying under budget for your cosplays get easier with practice for sure. The more skilled and confident you get with your techniques, the less material you'll waste and the better idea you'll have of how much of everything you'll need and use. Remember, just because your cosplay has a budget, that doesn't mean it can't be amazing! As you build relationships within the cosplay community, you might also get more opportunities to borrow tools instead of buying them. If your friend has a sander or a bandsaw, for example, they might be kind enough to let you use theirs until you can invest in one of your own. You can also find budget friendly options in the community as well, like libraries and maker spaces that might have tools and 3D printers that you can use or rent. Finally, our last tip for avoiding the most common cosplay budget mistakes is simply keeping track of what you're spending. Write down everything you buy for your cosplay and keep your receipts, and you'll be one step closer to sticking to the budget you set because you're aware of where all the money is going.