After several months of witnessing this phenomenon occur in our area, I've finally decided to write on this. As usual, I don't mean to cause any personal offense in my writings, but I just wanted to bring up the matter, talk about it, and offer solutions.
The subject that I'm talking about is budget. Extreme budget. Now I completely understand that people have bills to pay, kids to feed, the economy is crap, gas is expensive, girlfriends are expensive, and all that kind of life stuff. I have to deal with that too, just like anybody else. But the extent that this conflicts with YGO, in our area, is bewildering. Players may have a deck completely built and good-to-go for a tourney, but when having to pay a mere $3 for entry fee, they "don't have it" and can't play. $3. That's like two 20 oz pops, or two crisp meat burritos from Taco Time on Monday, or a Battle Pack and a half, less than a gallon of gas, or about equal to a gallon of milk. I've always felt that YGO was the most expensive TCG to play in the Advanced/Standard-like format; so you play YGO, but can't afford a $3 entry fee? Doesn't that just seem like an oxymoron?
If you're young, I can somewhat sympathize. When I was in elementary school and throughout junior high, my dad gave me $3 a day for school lunch (I went to private school). What I'd normally do is just spend half, and save the other half during the week or two to buy what I wanted to. When I was in 2nd grade he used to give me a dollar a day to do the dishes, which I did do every day. I never had a separate allowance so if I wanted money, it was always eat less and save, do chores, have birthdays, or get good grades.
Some kids never get any money from their parents though, so what then? And what about the slightly older group that are beyond this means of obtaining money? Well, since you're going to a card shop to play cards, I'm guessing you'd have extra cards which you either don't have much use for or just aren't using. Chances are, like me when I was younger, you went out to the store and bought booster packs at full retail+tax, and pulled absolute janky poop the majority of the time and have a stack of crap commons and rares. A lot of people that go to tournaments are always looking to buy cards, and you know the price of certain cards in the game, so, SELL A CARD! Multiple if you have to - it shouldn't be too hard to accrue $3. You have to take into account that you're not going to get full eBay value for cash from most people these days, so if you're fine with a 10-15% undercut, then chances are your buyer will be happy to help you out. For a cheapy card, you'll probably have to undercut a bit more.
Now I know, you're gonna say "but all I have is stuff that nobody wants. Just these commons and rares." Fortunately, I buy commons - crap commons! My current buyprice for commons is 1.5 cents per, or 2 cents per in trade value. It doesn't matter what common it is, as long as it's in near-mint shape. I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but if you think about it in a larger scale, that's $15 for 1000 commons that you couldn't trade away anyway, which would pay for 5 weeks worth of tournaments. 200 commons for your entry fee right there. I'm not talking about cards like Dark Hole or Book of Moon; stuff like, I dunno, Bounzer Guard (don't even know what this does lol). This is more than what stores like Trollandtoad offer for bulk commons, as well as others in the "points" business where the standard is 1 cent per common, on top of the fact that shipping would eat up half the value anyway. So seriously, if you need money for entry and you "don't got shit", well I'm sure you have commons laying around you wouldn't mind getting rid of. I'd be happy to take 'em. Likewise if you're looking to improve your binder or deck, at 2 cents trade value per common, that's $20 for 1000. Who else do you know in our area that would do that? No one.
Other than that, always remember that structure decks are your friend and buying singles is always the way to go. If you don't have means of ordering singles, ask me. Buying boxes in YGO is unfortunately usually a "minus'ing" endeavor for most, and paying $20 for a sneak peak entry is almost never worth it, unless the promo card is sick (*cough*tengu). Buying loose booster packs from the store is just about the worst thing you can do in the long run. If you're wanting to buy like 3 of a certain structure deck, talk to me about splitting a whole box of one (8 per box), cuz it's easily possible to pick up structures for around $7 each this way, rather than having to pay $10 + tax on each. If you wanted to split one between you and a friend or something, that's fine too; I'm just trying to save y'all some money so this "no money for entry" thing becomes a thing of the past.