story by Meghan Stewart, art by Kelsey Bell
So in Part 1 we gave you the official 50 Shades experience, then in Part 2 we took things into the real world without the brand-name markup. Now we’re getting into the really big costs of living large and in charge like Christian Grey.
And with that in mind, how much money exactly does it take to be the Master of the Universe?
To sum it up: It ain’t cheap.
Here’s the unshaded truth – if you just want the toys and devices as you delve into a life of “kinky fuckery,” then you probably aren’t in danger of going into serious debt. Unless you’re customizing floggers and gages with the hide of endangered animals all dyed in your favorite shade of purple with a Swarovski crystal studded handle, then the most cost you’re looking at is a few hundred bucks per toy.
But toys are only part of the picture. Half the fun of 50 Shades’ storyline is the mystery, anticipation and danger locked in the Red Room of Pain. And this is where the road out of vanilla starts to get expensive…
A reasonably priced Red Room
“A complete dungeon that’s decently equipped will usually run you about $20,000 total,” explains Corey, fabrication expert and owner of MetalBound, a custom BDSM furniture and dungeon company.
And the more customized you want your dungeon and the more expensive or high-quality materials you want to use, the more you can expect to pay. That’s not to say you have to spend that much – you can get one or two pieces affordably if you’re willing to go for more affordable materials, but it won’t be the Red Room.
“Most mahogany wood dungeon furniture that you see available online is made of top-grade lumber with a mahogany varnish,” admits Starla of BDSM-Gear.com. “For true mahogany wood, just the lumber alone would cost about $45 per square foot. That would take the cost of something like a Saint Andrew’s Cross from $399 to at least $2,500.”
So the cost of expensive materials will set you back, but you can get around that with more affordable materials. But you’ll still have fabrication costs, shipping and installment to worry about.
And yes, you want a professional to do your installation or run the risk of medical bills from uncomfortable ER visits and room repairs if something doesn’t hold the weight you thought it would. We even asked about the “cheaper” route of putting carabiners directly into your ceiling – definitely not recommended unless you know what you’re doing.
“Suspension rigs are almost always the better idea,” Corey advises. “Unless a professional can get into your attic to secure ceiling suspension through the rafters in your attic and make sure the wood is healthy, ceiling suspension is not recommended.”
That kind of danger and liability is the biggest reason why MetalBound’s products (and other suspension products you’ll find) are all stabilized from the ground. It’s just safer that way.
Don’t let your Red Room put you in the red
So the same rules we’ve detailed in the past two parts still apply. Make sure you like restraint and suspension before you invest in anything this serious. Spread out the cost if you’re just buying individual pieces to make it easier on your budget. And go for more affordable materials.
“Unlike in the past where a piece like a Cross would cost about $8,000 or $9,000, the introduction of this kind of lifestyle into mainstream has made everything more affordable,” Starla explains. “These days you can get an affordable Cross that still looks great and will be good for what you want for around $400.”
But if you’re really trying to satisfy all of your 50 Shades and invest enough to buy a reasonably priced carabiner on a full dungeon setup, we figure you should get some financial benefit out of it. You should also find ways to save where you can.
• Find a fabricator who can give you a phenomenal deal on shipping. These items can get really heavy so shipping costs can kill your budget. But good fabricators like Corey have arrangements set up with shippers. He shipped a 300-lb. bed from Florida to Arizona for just $120 in added shipping charges. MetalBound and other sites will sometimes even run deals for 100% free shipping and that’s worth its weight in your 8-ft. iron grid suspension system.
• Negotiate to get an in-home design consultation and the final installation included. “If you’re paying this much money for a dungeon setup, then it’s worth it for me to throw in the consulting and the installation, even if I have to take a few flights to get to where you are,” Corey reveals.
• Get a credit benefit through financing. A payment plan with the fabricator is fine, but if you want to benefit from constructing your Red Room, take out a small personal loan at a low interest rate – like you would for other home renovations. That way you can pay the fabricator and get the credit score boosting benefit of paying off the loan at the same time.
• Consider hiding your Red Room in plain sight. If you can’t afford a full room and don’t want to explain to your maid, mother-in-law, etc. why you have a spanking bench and Saint Andrew’s cross in your rumpus room, try furniture that’s functional and fairly incognito. That’s at least what Corey designs some of his furniture to do. “A sturdy restraint and suspension bed can be used for play, but won’t bring questions if someone walks into your room,” he says. For the record, we also found a cross that converts into a pedestal so you can set a decorative plant on it when company comes.
Consider your yearly sub costs
You’ve bought all the toys, hired a discrete contractor to customize your dungeon room and even purchased museum display drawers for your items that match the classic Chesterfield couch you shipped over from the UK. Sadly, you’re still not exactly Christian Grey.
You don’t have your contractually-bound NDA-gagged sub, of course.
So just for fun, we tallied up the cost of what Christian Grey actually pays to outfit and maintain a sub. In most ways, it’s the same cost you can expect if you want to keep a mistress. And in the words, of Anastasia Steele…
Even if you don’t throw in the cost of the Sub Special Audi A3, you’re still looking at tens of thousands of dollars every year. And that’s if you get a women like Ana who’s constantly bemoaning the amount of money you spend on her. Get a sub that follows your instructions and doesn’t worry about your bank account and you can easily top a hundred thousand per year or more.
Are you a rich Dom who needs to cut back because your stock portfolio took a turn for the worse? Just get rid of your sub and abstain for a year until your assets have recovered.
The questionable moral of this story: If you truly want to live the lifestyle of Christian Grey, then you probably also need at least half of his earning potential, too. Otherwise, do what you can to get your “kinky fuckery” on the budget you have.