Sunday, 9 August 2009

Changing Hobbies for Changing Times


There was once a time when I would spend all my time in the shops on weekends, desperate to fill my bags and bring home rewards for a hard working week. I would really feel disappointed to return empty handed. I would feel bored at home and literally feel that if I was at home, I was missing out on something.

The same thing went for holidays or breaks, I would plan them ahead and look forward to my time off as a reward for hard work. Nothing wrong with this at all, if we can afford it and if we have no other bigger aims in mind for the cash.

These days though, I see that the last 3 years have changed how I see things. I was fortunate enough to find moneysavingexpert.com before the credit crunch hit, and so had around 18 months of 'practice' saving money and building an emergency savings fund before I actually saw the financial storm roll in and crash upon our shores.

Instead of expensive shopping and holidays I have now started to enjoy these more credit crunch friendly hobbies:

- Making homemade beauty items (saves a fortune, sometimes goes wrong but still saves so much and is more natural for my skin).
- Scouring charity shops for clothing and vintage plates etc - it also gives me inspiration for items we might like in our future home.
- Reading (I get out library books, which saves a fortune on books and is greener too)
- Visiting places in England instead of holidays abroad, or if we do go abroad, we spend as little as we can
- Making homemade cleaning products, not only cheaper but greener too
- If we go out for dinner we try to use a voucher like 241
- Never paying full price for a movie (get a free Orange SIM card on Google and then go to the cinema on Wednesday with a friend to get a free ticket).
- Scrapbooking (well, gluing onto paper!) ideas for our future home
- Growing tomatoes, basil, coriander and parsley (will try garlic this Autumn)
- Laughing at marketing on adverts which claims you 'need' an item to feel great, young, sexy, successful etc etc
- Homecooked meals - I cook in batches and then freeze to save time in the week when we are more tired. I really enjoy cooking when I get into the mindset - radio on, focused, relaxed, just need to make it happen more!
- Games and times together with my husband - planning ahead, getting to talk properly and feel connected is completely free and enables us to feel we're not just working the 9-5 grind all the time.
- Plan ahead - To avoid buying things new, I am following what Amy Daczyn from 'Tightwad Gazette' suggested - think ahead of items you might need. It hasn't happened fully yet but I am working on it, thinking now of items I might need in Autumn/Winter and keeping an eye out for them.

I do find it hard not to just sit and watch TV when I get in thoguh, so I am learning to be more productive with my time, like I have a list of things I 'Need' to do, but I also want to create a list of things I 'Want' to do. These can replace the need for shopping or over indulging, so that when I do want something special, it won't feel like I have been greedy!

How do you avoid spending money these days - have you replaced certain hobbies with others? Have you learned new skills? Are your family and friends supportive and encouraging? If we can all exchange ideas I am sure we can learn alot!

3 comments:

purplefish said...

Good post as ever. I have just spent the weekend bulk cooking. I am trying to to get nearer 'once a month cooking' and have started by cooking 6 portions at a time rather than 4 - when we would eat one each and then freeze the other 2. Now we have 4 portions in the freezer for very little extra work. This weekend I have cooked 18 meal portions, roasted 2 butternut sqauhses and cooked a cake and flap jack ot keep my OH going fot he week in treatswith his afernoon cuppa & lunches. I had found we weren't eating so well as I was too tired many evenings and that ended up costing more too.

Alan said...

I too found Moneysaving expert in 2007 and oh what a joy it is to have that simple website in my knowledge bank. I've learnt so much from there and as a result no longer feel suicidal and I', eager to further the cause whenever i can.

As for saving money I batch cook also, have a list of "to do" things and also the 2want list" but instead of I WANT X,Y orZ my want list is to reseach the item, design it and build it as cheap as I can or free if possible. .!!
On my current list is a dusk to dawn number plate for my home where it is solar powered and has large numbers so the emergency services etc can see... I can picture the scene now, flames raging out of the house and the fire chief says we were delayed because we couldn't see your door number,lol
The second item is a greenhouse. It is going to be 3m x 3m and the only thing I think I need to buy will be some sand and cement but it's a while before i need to get that sorted. As for labour i'm too spacked for that so a friend will be doing the building in return for me teaching him and his wife to cook healthy cheap meals so we all win.
Purple fish hits it on the head. We had nowt in, waiting for the asda delivery to come at 10pm so we ordered a curry. It cost £11.85 and was ok but I felt guilty half way through thinking what i could do with £11.85 worth of food. Still cold curry the next morning for breakfast was really nice...

SavingsNow said...

Hi Alan thanks for dropping by - sounds like you have the moneysaving bug like the rest of us! I wish we could live more self-sufficiently too, but alas for now a small city apartment won't allow us to, but we do what we can.

We had forgotten to defrost dinner last night, so I almost had a chinese take-away moment, akin to your curry moment. Luckily I had some bargain buys from the Co-Op reduced section and we had a lovely dinner from that, otherwise would have been £15 on take-away!

Must do some batch cooking this weekend - the Economy Gastronomy show has inspired me! Last month I made a huge batch of tomato rice, lucky I did, as that was part of our freezer meal from last night!