Hobby horses

DJ has been enjoying a few days off work– stupidly we didn’t arrange our holiday at the same time. Perhaps this is some peculiar brand of schadenfreude in which we can only enjoy it if our partner has to work. That smug feeling you get lying in bed while your other half staggers about getting dressed and tripping over his socks in the dark. The problem is the temptation – when I’m working from home– to down tools and watch Zoolander all afternoon smothered in popcorn on the sofa instead of working, or suggest wanton, unfrugal trips to the Chinese.

Sadly for DJ (ha!) the weather was rubbish. He had hoped to practise his golf swing (if I have to watch another David Leadbetter dvd I’ll scream…) and fish. But it was dreary so he resorted to his bad weather hobby – family history (or digging up dead people, as I call it).

When I’d finished listening to how many William Coopers DJ boasts stretching back almost until Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) VIII himself, I got thinking about the cost of hobbies. You might assume family history is cheap – sitting about in dusty registry offices. But it’s pretty pricey. You can now order birth/death/marriage certificates over the net but this costs £7 a pop and can mount up. Especially if – like the Coopers – your family is rabbit-like. And if you need to go abroad to investigate further – DJ was born in Zambia and had family in Gibraltar – there are travel costs – more if you hire somebody else to do the legwork. Of course, if you’re famous you can go on Who Do You Think You Are? for free!

Golf is easily DJ’s most expensive pastime. He’s spent about £200 on his clubs – although he drove a hard bargain – then there are the lessons, plus the endless books and dvds. He also owns millions of gardening books, but gardening is broadly his cheaper hobby.

But I’m no angel. A few years ago I DJed – I was terrible – and spent £1k on equipment. Then there were the records – I have about 150 so you can imagine the cost, although some were second hand.

Nowadays I am much less cool and keep pet lizards (bearded dragons), but this has very expensive upfront costs. A tank setup costs about £400 and I have two tanks (Jake says Ellwood smells) so, including the cost of the lizards (£100 each) I’ve spent £1k – not including nearly £400 at the vets when the Ellster got ill last year. Ouch. Fortunately unless there is another vet emergency (please no…) general upkeep is salad and crickets (yuk), which aren’t too expensive.

Then there’s jewellery making. Before the frugal life I spent £200 in one month on beads. My choir membership isn’t too bad. It’s £30 a term, plus music rental but I was forced this week to buy carol books for £23 and there’s been a spate of people selling things from stalls at rehearsals to ‘raise money’ for the choir fund, so you feel drawn by guilt into buying things.

In the strive towards frugality, I need cheaper hobbies. Drawing could be a goer. All you need is some paper & a pencil! Or housework. There’s an endless supply of it around here and all for free! Eeek!

Any suggestions for cheap hobbies? Let me know & leave a comment.

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4 Responses to Hobby horses

  1. Tattyhousehastings says:

    Hobbies are expensive usually to be fun, otherwise you\’d just go off down the pub with your mates and spend even more money. Would suggest a book club though – when I first moved to London me and some women started one up, meeting at each others\’ flats, talking books and boys, and buying wine by the box (v.cheap) and pizza. We just used to chip in £7 a night each. Course you have to actually read the book, so that\’s out for me at the moment.. also used to do power walking gang in London with some other local mummies. Used to walk very fast for about 40 minutes, and I used to talk too much so walked bit too slow.
    That, or housework anyway?

  2. piper says:

    Those are great frugal hobby ideas Beverley!  I quite fancy a book club now that I\’ve actually got more time to read. x

  3. jan says:

    hi piper if dj insists on having days off whilr   while you have to work how is he at ironing? or even yourself/can you imagine how many people would love to have their ironing done for them at this time of year?you could just start offf with your neigbours and see how it goes .give them and yourself a deadline an d dont take on too much at once.you could charge say a£5 per carrier bag,and state that is strictly nothing but everyday things ,ie,no pleated skirts or special fabrics.do people still wear pleated skirts?so instead of sitting there wondering how to budget for xmas,(i hate it) you will be earning instead .and you dont have to do it forever just till 23 dec. any help? hope so ,enjoy whatever you do and good luck.jan xxxx

  4. piper says:

    Janet, that is an inspired idea.  And – even better – I can\’t wait to see DJ\’s face when I suggest it to him in a few minutes\’ time…!

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