Home Forums General General Wargaming budget, what’s yours and how do you set them?

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    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Don’t have to tell us how much your budget is, but I’m curious how you set it.

    Myself, I’ve never had a wargame budget. For the last few years I’ve spent more on rules than on miniatures, must have been a few hundred £ and $ a year. I’ve been thinking of setting myself a budget in the hopes of culling down my impulse buying. Having recently bought a few NORTHAG minis, opening the box this morning and wondering why I bought it at all, since it was 10mm and I’m a devoted 3mm and 6mm guy.

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    I’m afraid my budgeting is pretty much see it, “ooh! shiny”, want it, buy it!

    Fortunately, the lead mountain I already have means gaps in the collection are few so the list of things I want is relatively small and my penchant for 3/6/10mm means most of my wants are relatively cheap. Factors that combine to keep me from bankruptcy!

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photoDuncan Allen

    I have come to the realization that my main restriction is really time. When I want something I ask myself am I really going to paint/play with/read this and unless I can definitely answer yes I will do that in the near future I can usually resist buying it.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Pretty much what Duncan said, time appears to be the limiting factor (though keeping a daughter at University and funding a son’s PS4 -shortly to be PS5 no doubt- addiction means money may be a factor if time weren’t!).

    On the other hand I am glad I bought things in the past I never did anything with and forgot I had laid down in a box, otherwise I would never have found c50 WWI warships half painted in the loft the other day. Now finishing painting and seeing if I can make sense of Age of Dreadnoughts, Victory at Sea.

    Avatar photowillz

    In my 20s – 30’s I spent a lot of time at sea with nothing to spend my money on, when ashore I could spend my money on toy soldiers or beer so I bought wargaming items I wanted.  Fast forward to 2020 and I am lucky to have excess wargaming items I have been selling over the past few years, so these have been financing my wargaming related purchases.

    Now I only buy wargaming items for 25mm medieval, 18mm and 28mm 18th century figures, board games, terrain.  This is because I am downsizing  my unwanted but not unloved wargame items, if I don’t game with wargame items for 2 years I sell it.

    so my budget is only limited to what is in my paypal account after ebay sale (oh and after the Wife has taken her percentage).

    Avatar photoSane Max

    No budget. I just make sure if I see something I want, I make a note and have a look at it again a few weeks later. If I still want it, then I think about buying it.

    It means I don’t get to ‘support’ kickstarters. A plus in my view.

    Avatar photoian pillay

    Budget isn’t an issue these days luckily. Although I do try and resist the “oh, shiny. Must have” these days and tend to spend a little longer planning.
    Time or lack of is my hobby killer. Hence why I play OHW as it’s minimal time for collecting, painting and gaming.

    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..

    Avatar photoNathaniel Weber

    I have a monthly budget, which has increased a few times over the years (as employment has improved) and I try very hard to stick to it. I occasionally “borrow” from the next month’s budget.

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    I’ve never really budgeted as I would describe myself as a fairly narrow spectrum type usually only painting a few scales/eras/types at any one time plus I am fairly ruthless, occasionally to my regret, about selling off things no longer on my rota of play which normally leaves me without guilt about any new acquisition activity.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    @Nathaniel Weber
    You’re the only one with a budget so far, everyone else seems to be like me.

    What I’ve noticed about my spending habits is I part with my money much easier when I see new minis in scales other than 3mm and 6mm. It’s probably curiosity and bought as a sample. With 3mm adn 6mm, I’m very familiar with the range and could wait near a year before buying what I had been eying.

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    I’m afraid my budgeting is pretty much see it, “ooh! shiny”, want it, buy it!

    I thought that was the established standard.

    Although I haven’t attended a wargames show for quite a while now, my method for shows was to try not to spend more money than was in my wallet at the time.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoJemima Fawr

    Whatever I can get away with when OC Domestic isn’t looking.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/


    I buy what interests me, which isn’t much.  I have plenty to paint, plenty to build and plenty of rules to game with.  I also have plenty of board games.  Not much in the way of rules sets really interests me anyway.  So, my budget is open ended because there just isn’t much I need or even want right now.



    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    I just have a vague instinct for how big of a hobby budget I can afford, but it still normally keeps me on an even keel. The guilt I feel whenever I make a significant hobby expenditure serves me well as a mechanism for self-moderation. I also seem to generally have the right instincts for having my hobby budget play nice with my budgeting for other leisure expenditures. Since getting back into video gaming two years ago I’ve made fewer and smaller hobby purchases, to offset the cost of consoles and games for them.

    Avatar photoTony Hughes

    I spend what I’m likely to be able to paint or read but always forget to allow for the stuff I already have and that didn’t get done as planned. I am working my way through projects that went on the back burner but I usually end up spending something on most of them even though 110% of the figures were already bought.

    I have spent on a few things I wouldn’t have even considered over the past couple of years but that has largely been money from sales of unwanted bits or a lack of anything that I really want to spend in my main areas of interest.

    I have a load of time since retirement & Covid reduced other possible activities but I’m still only making small nett inroads into the lead pile and I’ve now got stuff ready for games that it will take a while to catch up once I can get mates over to play with them.

    I did have a budget for quite a while but now I have less need for providing for a family (all grown up) and the necessary habits of thrift in those times make us anything but spendthrift, we manage happily on what income we have and manage to live as well as we want to. Hobbies were always important to both of us but wargaming isn’t as expensive as some yet more long lasting than most.



    Avatar photoPunkrabbitt

    We’re pretty poor due to the pandemic right now. So hobby budget is determined by need versus want; needs are replacement brushes, paints, and sprays, or a few stray miniatures to finish a project. A want is an expansion to an existing force or a new force entirely. Needs are discussed andvcan be worked into our existing shopping budget. Wants are putvoff until we have a little extravv

    Please visit my OSR products for sale at

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    I put my hobby spending on hold back in March, I already have a ton of figures and kits but no desire to paint or build them. Maybe when the pandemic is over and I can game again.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I have a notional monthly budget which is used for gaming and re enactment purchases. The actual monthly amounts vary, but I try to stick to no more than the budget averaged over the year. If I go to a show, I take a bundle of cash as my spending limit, and when it is gone, it is gone.

    Tbh, wargaming stuff is pretty cheap compared to militaria, but for both my biggest limitation is storage space, and that is a bigger limiting factor. I’ve been doing this a long time so I rarely have big gaming projects any more, more a case of filling in gaps.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoMike

    I only ever had one project on the go and that was using my own range so it did not really matter.
    I probably spend no more than £50.00 a year on paints, brushes and other consumables and the figures/models were kind of free.
    Maybe £50.00 a year on scratchbuilding materials?
    So my spend was low.

    Having said that, for the first time in decades (?) I am doing 2 projects now (see here) and have had to start from scratch.
    Playing surface, troops, trees, buildings, rulebook, terrain etc.
    So that has been probably about £200.00 this month.
    But that will be it for a bit, it will ofc be ages before everything is painted and I am unlikely to buy anything until the current forces are done.

    This year so far, including all spend, consumables, tools, models and everything?
    £350.00 ish?

    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    Well I blew a chunk of money on a 3D printer in June, and now I’m looking at laser cutters…

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    I have a monthly budget (not just for gaming, but for everything that doesn’t count as a necessity), which I do stick to.  If there is something else I would like, then I ask for it for my Birthday or a Christmas present.

    Time is more of a limitation than money really, I usually don’t spend my budget.

    Avatar photoJim Jackaman

    I get paid on Fridays as I do contract work, so allow myself a £25 a week spend at the weekend. I sometimes go over and often go under, so it evens out. I find that sticking to naval and air wargaming keeps the outlay in budget, as I don’t need terrain much.

    Avatar photohammurabi70

    I’m afraid my budgeting is pretty much see it, “ooh! shiny”, want it, buy it!

    I thought that was the established standard. Although I haven’t attended a wargames show for quite a while now, my method for shows was to try not to spend more money than was in my wallet at the time. All the best, John.

    The invention of the credit card allowed cashflow manipulation that rather holed the concept.

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    £100 a year for paint and material sounds about right. £200 in a month to get a game started sounds like a GW thing. Having said that I have a shopping basket with £40 of 3mm, and that’s only a few packs.


    Space is my limitation as well. If I buy a new house, is that included in the wargaming budget?

    Maybe wargamers hoard up on lead, not because we can’t control ourselves. In the long run, when a mnia double or tripple in price we’re already sitting on a trove of unpainted treasures.

    D Salt
    I don’t go to conventions much either, the last one I went to was maybe 2016. Way too much shiny, I always spend everything I have and half of the stuff I buy were stuff I like the look of but don’t need.

    @Jim Jackaman
    Space games are the same. Along with air and naval I find them the easiest to get into, needing very little prep.

    Avatar photoGone Fishing

    My approach is the same as Sane Max’s. I always try to sit on a new interest for four weeks or so before making a purchase, and have found that the lure of most “impulse buys” largely evaporates over this amount of time. One still has the fun of planning, sniffing around for possible purchases, rules, etc., but in the end it doesn’t cost a dime.

    I don’t do conventions or video games, so that saves a goodly amount.

    And I don’t buy in to kickstarters. If the range eventually hits the market and the interest remains I’ll buy it then.

    Otherwise it’s open season, with the caveat that a small amount of wife dodging might be in order! 

    Avatar photoMike

    £100 a year for paint and material sounds about right. £200 in a month to get a game started sounds like a GW thing. Having said that I have a shopping basket with £40 of 3mm, and that’s only a few packs.

    That is 2 armies and 300+ acrylic bases, the terrain board, hedges, walls, trees, numerous buildings and the rules. etc.

    The GW 4ok starter set comes with 2 forces, the playing surface , buildings and the rules for just over £30.00


    Avatar photoJim Jackaman

    I’ve just been tinkering with some 1/2400th ships for the Chile Peru 1879 Battle of Angamos. Three ships plus mdf bases works out at less than a tenner, so well within budget for one week, even if you factor in paint, glue etc.

    Avatar photodeephorse

    I’m afraid my budgeting is pretty much see it, “ooh! shiny”, want it, buy it!

    I thought that was the established standard. Although I haven’t attended a wargames show for quite a while now, my method for shows was to try not to spend more money than was in my wallet at the time. All the best, John.

    For many years that was my approach too.  I’d withdraw a wad of cash from an ATM and when it was gone I’d leave.  Unfortunately remote chip & pin terminals put paid to that tactic.  No cash?  No problem.  As others have written, time is my budget now.  I’m much older than I’d like to be, and I have to be realistic with what I devote my remaining time to.  Consequently, if the product before my eyes doesn’t fit into one of two well established collections then it doesn’t get bought.  No more flights of fancy or “oooh, shiny” for me now.  ☹️

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    Avatar photojeffers

    I have a big idea, check out all the nice kit available, plot & plan… and then my credit card bill comes in. I look at that, see how much money the dog costs me and cry. Any spare money is now put towards my ‘sack, brick & one-way ticket to the Kennet & Avon’ budget.

    I’m currently on a drive to sell things that will either never be finished or not 20/small 25mm, so anything that enhances the latter is paid for by the former. I actually find the time I have available to paint stuff is more limiting than a budget.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoThuseld

    I currently have three separate shopping lists of miniatures and scenic items that I can’t justify buying yet. I don’t have a budget, and limit myself to a couple of £50ish purchases each year. That doesn’t include the small purchases of paint supplies and terrain building stuff, but they come very cheap.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Seems like time is the most limited budget we have, hobby wise.

    Avatar photohammurabi70

    Don’t have to tell us how much your budget is, but I’m curious how you set it.

    Are you including club fees and travel costs within your budget setting?  These are the biggest expenditures in my annual budget: a Club night starts at £15 as a result.

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    I don’t have a fixed budget, but as with everyone, it’s of course implicitly set by how much your disposable income is.

    Over the years, I have mostly transitioned from “acquiring stuff” to “upgrading stuff”. After all, storage space is an issue, and I rather invest in high quality terrain and figures these days rather than mass heaps of cheap things I’ll never use anyway.

    Overall, I estimate I roughly spend between 750 and 1000EUR per year on wargaming items, but that also includes books on military history and boardgames. I don’t have any other hobbies or activities I spend significant amounts of money on, so I guess that also defines the budget.

    This year, expenditure has been significantly lower due to the lack of shows, and not having been able to get to the local shop that often (I buy my brushes and paints from the local boardgames/modeling gameshop – support the local guy and all that).


    I try to keep it under $300 a month

    Avatar photoBenjamin Cato

    Like most others I dont have a fixed budget but having the kids grown up gives me a lot more money.

    But time is the biggest constraint. I try to paint everything I buy but have to admit I am a few purchases behind.

    Avatar photoAlan Hamilton

    I have been wargaming since about 1960 and so have many projects, forces and unpainted figures.  At certain points in my life I have worked to a small fixed budget (when I was a student and now as a pensioner), a virtually zero budget (when the kids were small) a fairly unrestricted budget (when promoted at work) but most of the time a moderate budget that was supposed to be fixed but varied slightly throughout the year (more at shows, less between).

    Now that my income is fixed and moderate then budgeting means sticking to a regular amount each month and decision making is more “need” than “want”. Admittedly that is easier now that I am adding to rather than creating new forces/periods/genres.  Also my purchasing is now mainly of second hand, discounted or other bargains (sales, black Friday, birthday, Christmas etc).  It is a long time since I bought a full price item with the exclusion that during the lockdown I bought full price paint because all shows were cancelled and I was out of two colours.

    I also have, over the years, amassed a large quantity of figures and models.  Probably more that than I will ever finish let alone use.

    So, my monthly budget now is, in relative terms, quite small and is seldom spent in full.  That said my paints and other materials are running out so a fairly large order may be in the offing soon – probably timed for Christmas.

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