Money To Live

March 15, 2013


Filed under: budgeting,goals,hobbies,scrimp/splurge,spending — by moneyconsciously @ 12:09 pm

We’ve all heard the advice not to impulse buy. But here’s an example of how seizing an unplanned opportunity — combined with patience and knowing where I stood financially — worked out nicely.

My wishlist included an item that was a non-trivial expense. I knew that I would eventually purchase this item for a hobby, however a) it was not a priority, and b) it didn’t fit my current spending pattern.

On the weekend I passed by a sale. I decided to stay open-minded. The sales assistant recommended me a product and size, and the first one I tried was excellent: much better than I expected, and I felt it was unlikely that I could find a better fit even if I were to shop around.

When I walked into the store, I already knew that I had planned to not buy this item immediately. The pressure to impulse buy was removed.

I also knew that, although it wasn’t within my current budget, I could make it happen if I really wanted it. If I bought the item now, I would benefit from a 40% sales discount and no future rental costs. I would also save time shopping around.

So, after patiently wishlisting this item for a year, I impulse bought it…and saved time and money in the long-term 🙂


August 31, 2008

Try a new hobby

Filed under: hobbies — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

If you are thinking of trying a new hobby, check out the resources in your community. There is a probably a local club or class you can take to try a new activity while receiving expert guidance.

The Princeton Adult School offers classes in a range of subjects from basket weaving and ballroom dancing to acting and writing. I took four classes (writing, guitar I, guitar II, and watercolor) and found it a great way to learn a new skill and see my friends regularly.

I meet some really interesting people in these classes. Admittedly, a lot of my classmates were retired, and they were frequently the only ones who completed the homework. Who else has time to complete two paintings each week? or read short stories while writing an original piece? The great thing about this school is that homework is optional.

Registration for fall classes is usually in August and September, so check the local offerings soon.

Have you taken community classes? If so, how did you find out about the class?

August 17, 2008

Cost Analysis: my yoga habit

Filed under: hobbies — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

For 3 years I have practiced yoga regularly. It kept me sane in grad school and is still enjoyable every time I hit the mat. It also can be an expensive hobby. This summer I have some extra time right now and am attending classes five days a week. Before I ran through the numbers, I thought it would be an extravagance to take so many classes, but it is actually a pretty reasonable expense.

Almost everywhere in America, you can practice yoga every day for $100 a month. Most studios offer specials for signing up for several months at a time, and many offer even lower rates for regulars.

I pay about $200 a month total because I practice with two different teachers at different studios and attend extra events.

Monthly cost for classes: $140

  • $100 monthly pass at a studio nearby, which I can ride my bike to
  • $100 for 20 classes over 10 weeks of the summer in a special “engineering class.” We meet in an engineering building, but otherwise, it is regular yoga. There is no “suspension bridge” pose or “binary signal processing” pose.

Monthly cost for extras: $20-30

  • This could be a donation at a kirtan. $20.
  • Last month I went to a Yoga with Rhythm class. A live drummer performed while we flowed. $15.
  • A few weeks ago, I went to a reading group led by a visiting guru and bought his book for $20. The book was $5, but I only had a twenty, and since they did not have change, I made a donation.

Clothes: $50-100 annually

  • I love wearing cute yoga clothes, and the cut of a shirt is pretty important (with all those inversions, certain body parts need to be held in place). I recommend Title Nine‘s yoga lines.
  • Black is the best color because massive amounts of sweat are not as obvious. Have you ever exercised in a room intentionally set at 105F? You want to wear black.

For less than $200 a month, I have more than 32 hours of relaxation and enjoyment. When I have a bad day, it kicks me out a funk and often yields a new perspective on a problem.

A possible objection to this spending is “Why not just practice at home?” I am still learning so much in every class- proper alignment, new postures, new breathing techniques, etc. And, there is good energy in a group. In a group I push myself much harder than I do alone at home.

If you like yoga but cannot pay much for classes, you can attend anyways. At one of my studios, paying for classes is optional. The owner flat out says he is not a business man and is not looking to get rich. He encourages students to join his classes if they cannot pay — he asks for a lollipop instead of cash. If you would like to attend classes but cannot afford it, talk to the owner and offer to swap services in exchange for the class fees. For example, volunteers sometimes man the desk for an hour before class or wash towels (sweat-soaked towels, see above).

My teacher says that anything can be yoga — dancing, singing, painting, even balancing your checkbook. 🙂

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