30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Living Within Your Means

Digging myself out of debt back in the 90's was one of the greatest life lessons I ever learned.  It made me figure out how to manage my money and to avoid carrying a balance on my credit cards.  But most importantly... it taught me strategies to live within my means.

By the early 2000's, I was on the road to financial recovery and in 2001, I decided to sell the bulk of my collection to help pay off my debt and pad my savings, which I'd eventually use to buy my townhouse.

In 2008, I reached a point on the salary scale where I could afford to jump back into the hobby that was originally the center of my financial woes.  Only this time around... things were going to be different.  I had learned from my mistakes and decided to focus on being a "budget collector".  Instead of being the guy who busts tons of new product every week at card shops, I became the guy who loves standing around for hours digging through dime boxes at shows.

These days... I still enjoy an occasional dime box... but every now and then, I'll go out and add a big card to my collection.

Sometimes I'll go with a key vintage card like my 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson.  Other times I'll chase a highly desired rookie card like the 1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett.

Two weeks ago, I stumbled across this 2005 Sweet Spot Signatures card featuring Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera:

I've been trying to add another Pujols autograph to my collection, because I missed out on him during the early to mid 2000's and as soon as I saw this card, I immediately added it to my eBay watch list.

Both of these guys are probably first ballot hall of famers... and are considered two of the best hitters in recent years.  But until recently... Pujols autographs have been way out of my price range.  Patience paid off.  This card wasn't exactly "cheap".  When the bidding war ended, I paid $110 (+ $3.60 shipping).

Initially... I suffered some buyer's remorse, because that's what happens when you spend an entire month's card budget on a single card.  However... all of that went away as soon as it arrived in my mailbox last weekend.

In terms of dual signed cards, it's right up there with my 1999 Stadium Club Co-Signers card of Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones:

Both of these are nice consolation prizes... since owning the 1994 Upper Deck Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. dual signed card will never be anything but a pipe dream.   Owning the grand daddy of dual signed, packed pulled cards simply isn't living within my means.

Happy Wednesday, go Cubbies, and sayonara!


  1. Jealous of both cards, nice, dude! I don't think what you paid for the Pujols/Miggy was bad at all.

  2. Considering how Miguel Cabrera's TTM autograph fee is $120 that's a pretty decent deal I'm sure.

  3. Nice dual of two of the dominant hitters of their era.

  4. I'm Jealous of the Chipper & Jeter card. Very nice.

  5. Valuable lessons! And love that Jeter auto!

  6. It is a beautiful card-great pick up. Albert and Miggy! Score times 2!

  7. Fuji,
    Don't know if you have any other of those Sweet Spot Signature cards but I have a Tony Perez where the autograph is almost completely gone seems they have a major fading issue with them I'd consider keeping out of the light to preserve that sweet dual signature card.

  8. Dennis - Yeah, I figured it was a fair price... it's just anytime I drop a Benjamin on a single piece of cardboard (I think this is only the fourth time I've ever done it)... it makes me sweat a little.

    Zippy - Wow. $120 for TTM is a little ridiculous. Maybe for Aaron, Mays, or Koufax, but not for Cabrera.

    Dion - Thanks for the advice. I have three Sweet Spot Signatures in my collection that have pretty much disappeared completely. I think it had to do with the type of leather they used in 2007... and the selection of ink used on some of the 2008 cards. Well... at least on my three examples.