Saturday, July 11, 2015
Quilting, and Sky Diving, and Golfing and Travel -On a Fixed Income?
For those who have asked, I do have quick update on my car. The total damage was $7000, after all is said and done, and includes damage to the frame. Fortunately, I had not planned to ever sell or trade the thing in. I am praying that it will be done by about the 20th, as I do have a mini vacation planned a cannot take the dogs in the rental car. Meanwhile, I continue to drive the Hyundai Sonata. It's probably a lovely family sedan, but I am reminded why I drive an SUV. My knee is dying from the angle it is at in this car (the knee is above my butt), and my leg cannot stretch out properly. Hopefully in another week, all will be well!!
As a retirement frugality maven (of sorts), I am fairly big on doing things for free. One one level, I don't think one has to spend pots of money to have fun, and in fact you can be perfectly entertained without spending extra money. There are piles of free entertainment and free hobbies out there. There are also, as almost any frugal or retirement blog or article will tell you, plenty of hobbies that are "contributory" in terms of home, expenses and other values.
I certainly take advantage of many of these hobbies. I read a great deal. I write. I used to walk mainly for exercise (a separate story). I'm learning a language for free online. I walk for exercise. I take free online courses. I belong to free meet ups and the community center, where I participate in knitting groups, card playing groups, and the like. At church I belong to a dinner group. You get the idea.
I also, however, have hobbies that cost money-and I have no plan of giving them up. Quilting is not a cheap hobby, let's be clear. The average queen sized quilt takes can take as much as fourteen yards of fabric-at thirteen dollars a yard. Add that to batting, thread and the like, and for every queen sized quilt I make you are looking at a great deal of cash. One can purchase not quality fabric at a cheaper price-but even if some of these items become gifts, quilting is not a "free" hobby. It requires a regular infusion of cash and has it's own budget line. I still quilt, even as a frugal gal living on $33,000 a year.
I also still travel. Less than previously (for non financial reasons), and mainly US road trips instead of international travel. Still there is a cost, and I do plan to travel internationally again-hopefully to spend a year in my other home country.
The bottom line is that while we all want to watch our money in retirement, there are ways to enjoy almost any hobby on a reasonable budget. One does not have to be elitist, or a wealthy retiree, to enjoy any of the hobbies in the title of this post or many others. Certainly there are hobbies that are prohibitive and require an income stream just for those interests-flying and boating come to mind (although I would be happy to hear from those folks who do those hobbies as well).
My son (and my late husband) regularly payed golf. My son still does so, even as a partially employed twenty something. The people they played with were mainly government employees and the parents of my son's friends (who were teachers, school bus drivers and sales people), and my son regularly plays with others in similar circumstances. While a separate article on affording hobbies is probably worth being written, and I am not an expert in say skydiving (although I did take flying lessons at one time), I do know how affordable golf can be. In both my son's and husband's case, we purchased the best equipment we could afford at the time (with son's being more expensive). Golfing was done on public courses, often at non-prime time, and a couple vacations a year put in the budget (hello, Myrtle Beach).
My father in law and late mother in law lived on social security and off a small trust. My father in law still raced his Triumph on a private track and spent most of his money (and time), improving the car. He's now getting ready to sell it, at close to ninety.
We all have priorities, and we all have different budgets. If we really have a passion though, we will generally find a way to enjoy it, and nothing should be inherently off limits in most cases. Obviously, I probably cannot golf regularly, take expensive cruises many times a year, have my expensive hobbies and purchase a sports car. I can, however, to at least one and maybe two of these-assuming they interest me and that I set my priorities.
So while I plan an upcoming missive or two on how I afford my less than free hobbies, I encourage you not to limit yourself based on preconceived ideas about others who enjoy the same sports or hobby, or finances-until you've done all the research.
And now, I'm off to spend a weekend reading a book for my book group, enjoying the hot summer weather on the patio with family and friends, possibly attending a local Irish festival, and yes, going to the quilt store to spend a hundred dollars on whatever beautiful fabric I find.
That's this weekend in retirement.