10 ways to save money on cosplays
If there is one thing I have learned as a parent, it’s that raising kids…is expensive! And as they get older, the price tag just goes up doesn’t it? There is one thing that my daughter can spend all day talking about, doing, practicing, and working on, and that’s cosplay! It is her #1 hobby and love. I’ll have to admit, it’s pretty cool to watch her transform into all of the characters she sees in her favorite shows and video games.
But as far as hobbies go, cosplay is far from a cheap one. I quickly learned that turning yourself into one of those amazing anime protagonists you see on your screen can cost a pretty penny. So I have picked up a few tips and tricks on ways to save money on cosplays that I just knew I had to share with my fellow cosplay enthusiasts. I hope I can teach you a little something that maybe you didn’t know! Let’s get started shall we?
Here are my 10 ways to save money on cosplays:
1)Do you research! There are TONS of websites to buy cosplay outfits, accessories, and props, and not all of them are created equal. A note that you should remember, a good bulk of them are going to be companies from outside of the US. With that in mind, reading sizing charts, reviews, and item descriptions are so important. Spending your money on a website that doesn’t have a good review in the cosplay community, or failing to read the sizing chart can be a costly mistake. There are tons of reputable companies out there to buy from, so make sure you do your research before you decide to purchase. And when in doubt, always check Amazon, you can hardly ever go wrong there, and if it does they have a great customer service team!
2) Hop on social media! I would say I get a good 60% of my daughters cosplays on good ole Facebook. There are hundreds of buy,sale,trade groups specifically for the cosplay community. From groups local to you, to groups that have members that are all over the world. You can find some amazing deals if you are patient and know where to look. I have even gotten cosplays that are in perfect condition for less than $20 (like the one in the picture above)! A tip for when you go to explore these groups, know your measurements beforehand, you will need them. You can also find commissioners that will work with you to make exactly what you want and usually at a great price. Speaking of making things…
3) Learn some basic DIY skills! Yep, that’s right, learning a few DIY skills can save you TONS of money on most things cosplay related. If you can sew, you can make garments, or you can alter a cosplay that isn’t quite your size but you found for a great deal, or you can fix a ripped seam on a cosplay someone was selling for cheap because they didn’t know how to fix it. Also if you don’t know how to do something, youtube is your best friend. Seriously, you can learn how to do almost anything on it.
4) Make your own props! Cosplay props can get expensive, especially if you only use them for one shoot or character. So I learned how to make some of my own from the very start. Lucky for me I was already a craft lover before my daughter got into cosplay so I already had some essentials in the prop world. Me and stores like Michaels, Joanne’s, and hobby lobby are on a first name basis. I actually just learned to crochet so I could make a scarf for one of my daughters new cosplays! There are few things a little polyfoam and air dry clay won’t make. If you are serious about your cosplay hobby, investing in things like a 3d printer, or a vinyl cutter is a great idea because you can make things on the fly at home and save money in the long wrong by making things yourself instead of having someone make them for you at a huge mark up. And hey, if you get good enough at it…turn your cosplay obsession into a money making one!
5) One word…Thrifting. I love going to thrift stores on any given day, but it’s even more fun to thrift your way into a super sweet cosplay. People give away a lot of their stuff to thrift stores and you can buy things for pennies on the dollar. I got a wedding dress for under $20 that I altered and is now a super cute Boosette cosplay that was no only fun to make, but sooo cost efficient.
6) Get some cosplay basics. I know what you are thinking, what could possibly be basic about them? More than you might think! If you cosplay female characters, you are gonna run across several of them that wear sailor suits. Like, tons of them. So you buy a few in different colors and then simply accessorize to fit whatever character you are playing at the time. You can get sailor suits for $15-$25 on amazon, even cheaper if you are able to wait a few weeks for delivery and can order off of AliExpress. If you are cosplaying male charecters chances are there are several of them who wear dress pants and white button up shirts. Tie this tip in with the tip about thrift shopping and you can make several cosplays for less than 1 you might find on a shopping website. Which is a win-win right?
7) Closet Cosplay. This is my daughters favorite tip. You can sometimes make a complete cosplay right from your closet with things you already own. A few tweaks and you can make your every day outfit into your favorite character. Like in the photo above of my daughters Futaba cosplay! Everything in that (other than the wig which was a total of $11 on amazon!) was pulled from her closet. I added the vinyl to her white t-shirt and she had a complete look that we didn’t have to buy anything new for.
8) Seasonal clearance finds. The day after Halloween is a cosplay girls best friend. You can find costumes, props, make up, jewelry, and more for 1/2 off or more. We always make a big shopping trip right after Halloween just for cosplay stuff. This same point goes for other times of the year as well! If you need say a bathing suit for a piece of your costume, wait until the end of summer and grab those deals, buy a pair of knee high boots at the end of winter, etc.
9) Never underestimate the power of make up! Make up is a fantastic way to really add the life into your cosplay character even if you don’t have the exact outfit they wear. Make up can be found pretty cheaply and lasts for awhile too. I actually signed my daughter up for a special effects make up class at our local theater company for this exact reason.
10) And finally cosplay is what you make of it. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have fun and get into character. As long as it makes you happy, than you are doing it right. Everyone no matter their budget can cosplay!
Which money saving tip for cosplay would you add to this list?