Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hobby Money

Yesterday I was asked how I manage to have money for things. I work. Hard, seven days a week. My husband works two jobs. When we need to, we buckle down. We aren't foolish with money, but we also aren't afraid to spend it. When we spend it, we spend it wisely.

There are ways of making money on the side, and there are ways of having money for your hobby. I have a couple of slightly expensive ones. I love to hike in places other than where I live, that being the high desert, and east coast mountains. That costs money. I quilt, that costs a lot of money, at least at times it does. A really good sewing machine big enough to roll a quilt into costs at least $1000.00. Good fabric is expensive (about $8 a yard, and most quilts take about 12 to 15 yards). I do ghost investigations, that costs money for equipment and travel.

How do we do it? We plan, we spread the money out. We know that certain money will go to specific places. We also watch our normal spending. I see people who can't afford $20 to do something, but they have a ton of expensive things they don't need. There are people with ipads who can't afford $20 to go to an event. Priorities! It is OK if your electronics are your priority, as long as you are able to turn on the heat and eat that is, but when you have an expensive hobby, you need to have a way to fund it. Unless you own a business you don't NEED an ipad (even then there are cheaper options). Have the money and want expensive stuff, cool!

The person I spoke to yesterday asked about affording ghost hunting trips. We currently have a few advertised that right now, would cost a minimum of $115.00.People who have $115 on them right now can go on two trips. One has an $85 balance due in October, I think a person could raise $85 by October.  That is NOT a lot of money. I personally have two additional ghost trips planned for another $150.00. That is $265.00 right now. Four trips. I actually have more money than that out for the trips as ones are paid in full, etc. ,but let's use the two trips on the table for all with a $265.00 total.

Let's assume you have a job, and that you get paid every other week. Each time you get paid, put $7.00 minimum in your ghost hunt jar. That $7 at the end of a year of saving,is $365.00. That would enable not only the trips deposits on the table, but for both to be paid IN FULL and $165.00 left over.. That means you could add in the two additional trips I am taking, and still have money left over. Put in a minimum of $5 a week, and you will still be sitting pretty at $260, just chip in another $5and you are right with me on 4 trips. If you can afford more each week, put it in and buy some equipment.

It all comes down to how important is it to you to be able to do these things? important enough to save up or not? You have a limited amount of money, then you have a limit to what you can do. There is nothing wrong with that, you just have to decide what is important.

Don't have a job? I don't think your spouse would mind giving you $5 a payweek, or if you have your own business and a good week, put extra in that week, and nothing on a down week.

This isn't hard!

Ghost investigations cost money. All the haunted houses are not going to situate themselves near least I would hope not. People tend to forget that the price of admission to these places isn't the only part of the cost. At a minimum, you need gas money, food money, and possibly motel money. You also need a little extra in case something goes wrong, like a car breaks down. The person I spoke to yesterday wanted to know if we did any "free" things. yes, there is one, and investigations we do for families (which may actually have no ghosts!). We do NOT go into spooky old houses we find along the side of the road, that is trespassing.

Think about getting a credit/debit card for your hobby only. Credit cards are essential these days, they are a necessary evil. Most places won't take a deposit without one, from rental cars to hotel rooms. If you can't get one, get a prepaid card. You can put your jar money on it, and pay deposits, motel room fees, and more.

Aside from the investigation itself, you need equipment. Here are the basics:

A good voice recorder, the good ones start at about $60-70.00

A camera. Small digital ones are not the best for ghost hunting. Make sure that you have a camera where you can turn off the flash, and a camera where you can set the timing on the lens is best. They are expensive, approximately $500 for the cheapest, all the way into the thousands.

A SMALL flashlight. You mostly want to use YOUR night vision. It is how you will pick up most ghostly activity. Flashlights and night vision apparatus filter and can actually make paranormal phenomenon disappear. Spirits, orbs (real ones), and energy anomalies, give off THEIR OWN LIGHT, you will see them better in the dark. Flashlights are more for checking equipment than seeing where you are going. The small/less lumins flashlight keeps your night vision from being effected, and is easy to carry.

A pad and pencil, spare batteries, water, and you are set.

Once you get serious about things, then there are other items you can buy.

IR video cameras are about $500-800.

IR camera systems are also about $300, plus you need a monitor  ($100-200), extension cords, etc.

Computer programs to analyze and save all the evidence.

Laser grid- $30-100

K2, Melmeter, Mutlimeter- Anywhere from $100-300

Thermometer with probe -$40

First aid kit, cooler, and other items you would normally take for a night outdoors, most "haunted sites" don't have all the conveniences of home.

There are more goodies you can buy, getting very sophisticated. Things you really won't need , but would be nice to have like a thermal camera. Walkie talkies, IR digital still cameras, and motion detectors are all fun things to have in a controlled environment.

DO NOT, EVER use phone applications on investigations. They do NOT work. Your phone as a camera won't cut it either, or as a voice recorder. Your phone, no matter how expensive it is,  isn't going to do the job, except for phone and internet use.

This is not a "cheap" hobby, and it is a hobby where you can be out in the cold and dark, and nothing happens (sort of like deer hunting). You can spend a ton of money, and not have an experience or scrap of evidence. That is how it goes. It is not for the faint of heart or light of wallet. Yet, like most hobbies, you can get by just fine with little money and a system for making sure you can go where you want to. Sometimes one hobby will need to be pushed to the background so another can get attention, both time and money. It is the way things go. Sometimes hobbies get pushed aside so new ones can come in. There is nothing wrong with that!

Set goals, boundaries and dates, and watch how easy things become.

Peshaui Wequashimese

(C)2013 Dr R M Wolf. May not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.

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