How to Build a Fantastic Vinyl Collection on a Budget – Review Geek

Radu Bercan/

Since its release, vinyl has remained a popular medium for music and is even experiencing an exciting renaissance! And while he can costs a fortune to build a truly great collection, there are several other options and tips for hanging vinyl on a budget.

While it might be tempting to grab a brand new reissue vinyl fresh off the shelves of your local music store or favorite online vinyl retailer, it’s not the only way. There are plenty of other places to source vinyl, some of which you might not have considered otherwise. We also have some tips that will help you be a savvier shopper the next time you decide to go crate digging.

Check Used and Clearance Sections

It’s a fact, new vinyl is expensive! One of the best ways to save a few bucks here is to browse used and clearance deals at your local vinyl store. Here you can often find excellent albums that are gently used and significantly cheaper. And the more obscure your tastes, the more likely a hidden gem is to go unnoticed or be buried deep in the clearance section.

Access real estate auctions and garage sales

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Maybe your neighbor up the street is spring cleaning via a garage sale. Or maybe the old audiophile who lives in the mansion up the hill has just passed away and his relatives are holding an estate auction. Anyway, these are fantastic places to find popular and rare albums!

Unidentified young couple choosing vinyl records (A Collection Of Beatles Oldies album) at flea market.
Elena Dijour/

On the one hand, you will have less competition. Garage sales and real estate auctions are not for everyone, and their contents are not listed and offered for sale online. While it’s up to you to show up and browse the selection, you might be the only person to find a Beatles album in mint condition or a rare limited-edition pressing.

Settling for lower quality vinyl when buying online

Do you like window shopping on sites like Discogs? Instead of limiting your search to expensive Mint or Near-Mint discs, consider expanding to lower media condition qualities. Obviously, if you can afford it, we’d recommend sticking with vinyl in (near) pristine condition, but settling for lower quality will bring the price down.

The trade-off isn’t ideal, but it’s still worth considering if you’re on a budget. Lower ratings include Very Good Plus, Very Good, Good Plus, Good, Fair, and Poor. Staying in the middle of this scale is your best bet, but avoid Fair and Poor options.

For scale, Mint quality records have never been played and are likely still in their original seal. Neither the record nor its sleeve (or any of its inserts) will show any wear or other imperfections. Average or poor quality discs will likely be super warped or cracked and probably won’t be playable (at least without some skipping or other issues). This rating also means that the sleeve and other inserts may be missing, torn or otherwise damaged. Be aware that these lower condition levels may affect playback or not last as long as newer or higher quality options; you may need to buy them back later.

Ask a friend or relative

Do you have a friend or relative who loved vinyl back in the day and has an extensive collection? You might ask them if they have any albums they would be willing to part with. They’d love to talk to you about music, and they’d probably be happy to see these albums in the hands of someone who can appreciate them more easily. It doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?

Group of friends listening to music - vinyl at home
Photographer by Milan Ilic/

Visit thrift stores and flea markets

Sometimes people don’t know what to do with old vinyl records or can’t be bothered to try to sell them online or in a proper store. In turn, they end up dumping them in thrift stores or selling them cheap at flea markets just to get rid of them. There’s never a guarantee that you’ll find anything at either. However, if you’re the type to like hanging out with them initially, you might be surprised what you’ll stumble upon one day if you’re lucky.

There are many stories of people finding great albums from Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, New Order, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles while paying just a few dollars for each. If you’re willing to replenish your local Goodwill’s inventory regularly, you can easily expand your collection and maybe even find a gem or two.

Look on hobby forums

If you enjoy hanging out on hobby forums with other enthusiasts, like Reddit’s Vinyl subreddit, you can easily find lots of tips for getting vinyl. Some forums are dedicated to buying, selling, or trading vinyl (or turntables and other gear) and can even help those looking for a particular album figure out where to get it. These people are super connected to the scene, and you might even make a few friends along the way!

Our favorite tips and tricks for buying vinyl

Well, now that you know or to watch, you will need to know How? ‘Or’ What look. With these expert tips and tricks, we’re sure you’ll be able to create a vinyl collection so massive it’ll make all your friends jealous.

Go second hand

As we mentioned above, don’t be afraid to buy used! Most vinyl stores won’t buy back bad condition records, and you can easily clean used records if they get dirty. Peasy easy. Also, sometimes it can be beneficial to buy an entire collection of records if you are able to go through it and confirm beforehand that there are tons of albums that you like and that everything is at least in good condition. state.

Yes, it’s a bigger purchase initially, but it’s an easy way to fill your shelves, and you can always resell anything you don’t like to recoup some of the cost. Some stores may even offer you store credit that you can use to purchase albums on your to-do list!

Check the value online before buying

Smartphone, earphones and vinyl on colorful background with copy space.  Modern and minimal retro style in pastel colors.  Music concept.
Galica Borisz/

If you are wanting to buy a few albums at a garage sale or thrift store, hop online real quick and check out what they’re worth before paying the posted price at checkout. Many stores have no idea how to price records properly or intentionally charge a ton in the hopes that you won’t know they are ripping you off.

By taking a few minutes to check things out on a reputable site like Discogs, you can feel better about your shopping. Similarly, you can have peace of mind by putting an overpriced album back on the shelf and looking for alternatives elsewhere with a lower price.

Avoid fancy pressings

High quality pressings generally weigh more than cheaper pressings and they use new vinyl instead of recycled vinyl. This extra weight makes them more durable, prevents unwanted vibrations and, of course, makes them sound better. While staying within your budget is important, we recommend going with standard pressings for the vast majority of your collection and only choosing heavy pressings with just a few of your favorite albums.

Be patient

Good things take time, and building a vinyl collection is no exception. Don’t expect to find all the albums you’re looking for in the first few months of this wonderful journey, because you probably won’t (especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget along the way).

Be prepared to spend a lot of time rummaging through the shelves of multiple stores, looking at unconventional places (like thrift stores or flea markets), and browsing selections at online vinyl stores. Trust us, the wait and the unknown make it all the more exciting when you find an album on your list!

Before you leave …

As you grow your vinyl collection, you’ll also want to make sure you have a quality turntable and some accessories to enjoy. There are plenty of turntable options for every budget, whether you only have $140 or over $500 to spare, whether you’re new to vinyl or a seasoned enthusiast.

You’ll also want to take a moment to learn how to properly store and clean your vinyl records, so they’ll stay in pristine condition for years to come. If you clean your records regularly, handle them properly, and store them properly, they will last for decades. There is no better value than this!

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