Being that guard are a numbers army it’s not a big shock to realise that they aren't one of the cheapest armies in 40k to start, but it is possible to save pennies and build yourself a solid force.
With my new aim of building my current guard into a full WYSIWYG blob army I’ve found I needed quite a bit more infantry with various weapons. To be more specific, I needed 13 power weapon sergeants, 24 infantry models, 16 meltas (I already had 10, need another 16 on top of that), 8 lascannon teams (Not ever thinking I’d use them and if I did It would always be Autocannons) as well as marbo, straken, Al’Rahem stand-in etc... The list goes on for a bit.
Thus I got myself one of the Imperial Guard Battle force boxes, always a solid enough investment and I think it’s the third total I’ve purchased over the years, being that the Value alone of the two infantry squads, command squad and Heavy weapons team squad is more than the cost of them separate, the Sentinel is basically a gift and while I’ve only used them a few times in the past when my guard was a fluffy army, They still can find a place painted in the army cases, or alternatively you could sell them on to recoup some of the costs.
The second great money saver I found was the 5 man click guardsman pack, 3 various Assault on Black Reach type guard models which are one piece with just the gun and hands which pop in. For £5.50 they excel in becoming infantry grunts saving your other multipart models to be used as special weapons or characters. And with three various poses and a little different skin painting you could get away with a fair number of these in your forces. Especially when you consider for just slightly more than a 10 man box of guard infantry you get twenty.
My next personal saving is using the vehicle commanders on foot as my Sergeants, the non armoured torso and legs means I can always tell them apart from my general infantry and saves me a model per squad (And if you’re a mechanised guard commander that’s at least 10 vehicles in your collection but probably closer to 15 upwards. By using the commanders form the sets you’re saving 10-15 models which is basically another squad or two, or maybe even a couple of Missile launcher heavy weapon teams (If you get 60mm bases separate), again quite small, but handy when you want to get every little extra out of the army and it does add up when you’ve done about 10 squads and get an eleventh free basically.
Addon to the post 03/11/11.
Just found a way to get the special weapons (Mainly plasmas and meltas) cheaper than having to buy the damn two packs of 1 melta and 1 plasma... Forgeworld (Scarey that I mention hat as a cheap option isn’t it). For £12.50 you can get 3 Cadian environment torsos and meltaguns, so while you don’t get entire models, you're not paying £8 for a single meltagun and plasmagun mono pose trooper. And if you've got spare infantry legs you can pop them on and bump up your special weapon numbers slightly cheaper.