The journey of rediscovering myself since February 2012 has been a long one, and a part of that was discovering and rediscovering the things that I truly love and enjoy. Over time I have picked up and dropped hobbies, but the three main things that I list when people ask me what I do for fun are knitting, yoga, and baking, and as with any hobby, once you get really into it, it can start eating away at your wallet.
At anywhere from $3-$15/skein plus needles, knitting (and crocheting) isn’t the most expensive hobby in the world, but it can certainly get expensive fast, especially if you’re working on a huge project. But for me, I really just make things at random for people, or find patterns I like and then gift them after I’m finished and don’t know what to do with it (or I make things for people who are having babies – like the blanket below!). If you don’t mind, you can also sell the things you make (I’ve sold hats before) or offer to make something in exchange for them purchasing the supplies. For me, because what I made actually didn’t matter as much as the process of doing it, I started looking around for charities. Spoiler: there aren’t a lot of places looking for knit goods in Louisiana. Enter bf’s mom. Her church sponsors an organization that knits afghans and shawls for charity…and the best part? People are constantly donating yarn, so I can go, pick out a few skeins, and then give it all back after it’s been knit into something! So without buying $30 worth of yarn, I’m able to create something that will actually mean something to someone else.
Yoga is one of those things that everyone wants to try at least once, has read about in Eat, Pray, Love and has been around for a billion years. You can practice with work-out DVDs, Youtube, Netflix, with your friends, on the Wii Fit, or, as I prefer, at a yoga studio. But at $17/class, it gets really expensive really quickly. So I did their entry 10 classes for $20 in 30 days and was hooked. Unfortunately, there was no way I could sustainably afford the prices after that, so I started using my Wii Fit and eventually tapered off. Then as I was browsing Facebook, I saw that the studio was advertising what they call an “Energy Exchange,” which are apparently common. You work for the studio in exchange for practicing there, an hour of work for an hour of yoga. I immediately emailed them and interviewed about a week ago and got it! I had my first day yesterday and it was fantastic! The energy in that place is so positive and embracing, but also the work is very straightforward and it flew by. So instead of wishing I could spend $1200/year to practice, I can be scheduled to work the studio and then take classes whenever they fit my schedule. This can apply to a yoga studio near you, or even a gym…just seeing if your favorite place to hang out or exercise or even just be will let you work in exchange for services. It saves them the money of paying someone and you get to practice something you truly enjoy!
This one is trickier. I have found that it takes a large-scale initial investment and then the rest is just replenishing as you go along. But if you don’t have several hundred dollars to drop on baking supplies, the really simple solution is to bake with friends. You would be surprised at what baking pans people have pilfered off of their families and what they have lying around the house. Plus what, you’re going to eat three dozen cookies by yourself? Puh-lease
I do that. And to build up your collection of pans and cookie cutters (why yes, I do have pans shaped like a jack-o-lantern and a heart), you can wait until after the holidays because they go on sale like crazy. They’re also great things to ask for as Christmas presents. Then there are those people who love baked goods but do not have the ability to touch the kitchen without setting the house on fire, so you can always offer to hang out and cook for them in exchange for them providing the baking or cooking supplies.
Good luck in your endeavors to find a way to do what you love without breaking the bank!