story by Meghan Stewart, art by Kelsey Bell

Whether it’s your own guilty pleasure or caving to the desires of a significant other, chances are good that you’re going to see the 50 Shades of Grey movie at some point after it premieres on Valentine’s Day. Chances are also fairly high that going to see the movie may lead to a few racy online purchases to feed your 50 Shades.

With that in mind, we’re here to help you get the most out of your desire for “kinky fuckery” without needing Christian Grey’s bank account or black Amex to fund it.  Today, we’re starting with the brand-name Shades – that is, the official E.L. James-approved and licensed 50 Shades Experience.

Check out these prices and read on for many more details…

The cost to explore your Shades

By our count, there are 43 products available online in the Official Fifty Shades of Grey collection. Note that this number does not include the set items which come with multiple products in a single purchase. But it includes everything from the condoms and a massage candle, to the Ben Wa balls and nipple clamps.

If you bought all of the products just used in the first movie/book, you’re looking at a total cost of $219.93 plus tax and shipping charges for seven items we identified. This is actually a pretty good introduction to non-vanilla sex because you get everything from a riding crop to the pleasure balls – and of course, Christian’s tie.

And industry experts like Katy Zvolerin of Adam & Eve agree that this is fairly good introduction to the lifestyle if you’ve never had anything but vanilla in your bedroom.

“We would consider the product line ‘bondage light’ within the true BDSM/fetish lifestyle. These are introductory items for middle America that are beautifully packaged and moderately priced,” Katy says.

So the products give you a good introduction at an affordable cost, but now let’s do some math…

Let’s say you purchase all seven products needed for the first book experience all at once on one credit card with an average interest rate of 13 percent APR. The credit card has a minimum payment schedule set at 2 percent of your balance. How much would it set you back in total if you just made the minimum payments?

In total, you’d end up paying $239.68 (not including tax and shipping) over the 16 months it would take to pay back in-full. Not bad, since the total interest charges would be $20.68. And you could make that slightly less costly by paying more each month. For example, if you pay $50 every month to eliminate the debt in 5 months, you save $14.04 in added interest charges.

But remember, that’s just for the experience from the first book…

One too many vibrators

The full 50 Shades of Grey product experience covers a lot more ground than what you get out of just the first movie/book. The total for all 43 products would be $1,370.57 (plus tax and shipping). Keep in mind that not all of the items in the product array are used in the books – in fact, most of them aren’t.

Still, if you’re nuts for all things E.L. James-approved, then you can go crazy and buy the full product lineup. Admittedly, some of the items would need to be re-upped – after all, Christian practically goes through a box of his foils about once a day. But even just ordering one of everything is fairly costly.

On the same credit card we used above, if you bought absolutely everything within the Official 50 Shades collection, you’re looking at a total cost of about $2,438.78. It would take 138 months to pay off the debt in full on a minimum payment schedule for interest charges of $1,068.78. Essentially, you almost double the cost of the purchases by putting them on credit and then making minimum payments. For most people, unless you’re a true collector, it’s just not worth the debt you generate.

Of course, there’s an easy solution to this high cost: You don’t need the full product array. In fact, it would be crazy to buy everything on the list because you’re going to end up with a lot of practically identical items. For instance, there are two rechargeable rings – the “Yours and Mine” and “Feel It Baby” – and except for some extreme scenes you might come up with, most people would only need one rechargeable vibrator at a time.

Tips to get 50 Shades play for less

As you can pretty much guess from the example above, the easiest way to cut your cost is by cutting down and getting picky about which products you actually want. Choose one vibrator from the ten offered, one lube from the three available, one type of blindfold and single disciplinary item and you’ll instantly rein in the cost.

You should also go for cheaper items first. If you’ve never used a vibrator before, then it may be a waste to spend the $119.99 “Holy Cow!” Rechargeable Wand Vibrator only to find this isn’t really your thing. Instead, spend the $29.99 for the “Insatiable Desire” to see if you like it before you move on to the higher priced models.

If you’re wondering what the best items to buy are, Katy from Adam & Eve shared their top sellers list with us:

Another tip for cutting your own cost: Make your better half buy it for you (and hey, if they’re taking Christian’s role, they should really be footing the bill, anyway).

“Only about half of the purchasing segment for these products is women,” Katy says. “The other half is men purchasing the products for their wives or girlfriends.”

And if you’re really on a tight budget, remember that kink doesn’t even have to come with a price tag, depending on what you’re into. You can role play, explore some fetishes and enter the world of non-vanilla without paying anything.

“A serious dominatrix or BDSM couple can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars,” Katy admits, “but fetishes are as individual as snowflakes. Someone with a foot fetish can simply enjoy going to the mall and watching feet for free.”

On that kind-of-kinky note, we’ll get into the non-franchised side of financing your 50 Shades tomorrow. While Katy’s right that the 50 Shades products tend to represent the middle of the price range on most of these types of items, there are definitely cheaper ways to get the same kind of play if you’re willing to drop the brand-name. And by Wednesday, we’ll show you how much you can expect to pay if you really want to go all out to be Christian (with or without all the fucked up baggage, your choice).


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