Let’s face it; cosplay can be freaking expensive. And if you’re not careful, you could be spending hundreds…maybe thousands of dollars on this hobby!
It’s something that I would never think that would be possible. But in fact, I unfortunately know some people who do get into debt for cosplay. And that’s a terrible thing. Fortunately, you don’t have to go down this road. Not only can you avoid debt and cosplay happily, but you can budget and cosplay multiple characters and be financially afloat.
In this post, I’ll go over cosplay debt and how you can avoid going down this route with careful logistical and mental planning. Cosplay is an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be something that drains your wallet or bank account. Let this post ensure that you enjoy cosplaying without need to go broke!
Without further ado, let’s get started.
How cosplayers get into debt
You might be thinking how you could possibly end up in debt over a simple thing like costumes? Especially if you’re new to the Cosplay Community, there’s no possible way you could splurge on a hobby like this?
Well unfortunately, it does happen. In fact, I did know a cosplayer in real life that went into serious debt because of cosplaying. To me, there are 3 main reasons how someone can get into cosplay debt:
Choosing an expensive cosplay.
As you may or may not know, the character you choose will pretty much determine how much you’ll be spending on a cosplay. A Pokémon trainer or Sports Anime cosplay is going to be much cheaper than say, a Gundam or Genshin Impact cosplay. In the latter examples, Gundam cosplays are usually made of armor. And armor is NOT cheap to make or buy. And with Genshin Impact, since it’s super popular right now and brand new, those two things will always drive up the price of costumes.
It’s fine if you buy an expensive cosplay once in a while. But if you’re buying like once a month, that’s a LOT of money you’re spending! These cosplays can be hundreds of dollar each. So if you’re buying a bunch of them, that’s thousands of dollars you are spending on cosplay.
If you don’t know, FOMO stands for fear of missing out. And when it comes to cosplaying, oh boy is it a big deal. When cosplayers see a trendy cosplay showing up on social media, it’s very tempting to jump into the fad and be the next person to cosplay that popular character. The problem is that FOMO can lead you astray financially. As mentioned before, newer and popular cosplays will cost more. And if you’re always clout-chasing, you’ll need to buy a lot of new costumes very often, which will be very expensive to do.
Another factor with FOMO is related to Anime conventions. When you see videos of cosplayers at popular conventions, it’s only natural to want to go as well. But the thing is, conventions can be really expensive too! Not only for the badge but for hotel/accommodations as well. It’s fine if you attend a convention but if FOMO is making you spend thousands of dollars to hit up conventions all the time, then you may find yourself in cosplay debt.
Not budgeting properly.
The third factor in cosplay debt is simply not budgeting properly. I was talking to my other cosplay friend about this, and when it comes to cosplaying, it’s not just the costume itself; there are many other things that cost a lot of money. Things such as the wigs, wig styling, accessories, cosplay shoes, makeup, cosplay props and paying for photoshoots. And that’s not talking about the cost of attending a cosplay convention; that’s even more money you have to consider and budget into.
Those things can easily add hundreds of dollars to your cosplay total. If you don’t pay attention to the other things that cost money, you can easily set yourself up for cosplay debt.
So those are the 3 main reasons in how you can get yourself into financial trouble with cosplay! Hopefully you don’t find yourself in those situations. But with the way I explained it, you can easily avoid it.
Now let’s talk about solutions…
How to prevent yourself from overspending on cosplay
- Set a financial budget for cosplay and stick to it. Before you even decide on a character to cosplay, you need to figure out how much you can spend on a cosplay. If you’re a poor college kid with only like $100 to spare, then stick to that budget of $100. Don’t even think about doing expensive cosplays unless you save up for it first. You can always earn more money and save up for a more expensive cosplay if you want. But only buy or create cosplays you can actually afford.
- Pick a character that fits your budget. Now that you have decided your budget, it’s time to pick a character. So if you only have $100 to spend on cosplay, that’s totally fine! There are tons of wonderful characters you can cosplay that don’t even cost more than $100, such as Sailor Moon, Pokémon and pretty much all sports Anime. And the nice thing is that you can use your regular clothing for a lot of these cheap cosplays, meaning you’ll spending a lot less on accessories than you would with an expensive cosplay. If you want a full list of cheap cosplay ideas, click here.
- Don’t compare yourself with professional cosplayers. People don’t talk about this much, but it’s not fair to compare yourself and expect to compete/cosplay/attend conventions as frequently as a professional cosplayer. Why? Because unlike some people who learned how to cosplay with no money, for professional cosplayers, it’s their job – not only do they spend hours upon hours making costumes like non-professionals do, but they’re also constantly posting on social media, marketing their content, selling prints, consistently doing photoshoots and looking damn near perfect in every photo. Since it’s their job they’re pouring more hours than non-professionals!
And there you have it; a lesson on cosplay debt and how to avoid it. I hope you found this post helpful. Cosplaying is fun but be financially responsible!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!