What I spent and what my collection is worth are two very different numbers. I was lucky enough to know some people who gave me great deals. Some examples.....
A $500 Twilight Zone? (Bought it in 2000 pieces and it's now completely restored.)
A $500 Funhouse? It's a pos but I have everything to restore it.
I also had some luck getting into the hobby somewhat early before prices really took off. $2100 TOTAN, $2600 AFM, $2100 SC and a $4800 MM are just a few examples. I remember picking up an IJ from an operator in town for $2800. At the time I way overpaid!
All this on transit driver wages while the wife works part time at a local middle school. I made a deal with the wife where I can spend my overtime money on anything. I work a lot of overtime! The wife still doesn't care for the hobby..... until I sell a game!