A guest post by Brigitte of Covet.
I took up sewing two years ago, after I made my first eBay purchase. It was a gorgeous Scandinavian-style chair with a sexy wood frame and box cushions. With the itchiest, most cat-hair attracting upholstery ever.
But I didn’t mind. I had plans. Grand plans to take sewing classes and recover that bad boy.
It was only much later that I realized it would be less expensive to pay someone else to re-upholster the chair for me. Or…buy a new chair. Yet, I don’t regret my descent into sewing. Not one bit.
Unlike, ohh…probably everyone reading this post, I am not the craftiest chic in the room — mainly because I have grand ideas but shoddy execution. I mean, seriously, I am bad at crafts. But I love everything about sewing. Endless browsing over fabrics, buttons and the way I concentrate so very intently on the pattern or instructions in front of me.
Everything except the cost. Because I’m not particularly crafty, I didn’t have any perspective on how quickly supplies add up. Did I ever learn quickly!
Namely, just before my first sewing class, when I received an e-mail with the supply list.
You mean to say that on top of the cost of the class and fabric, I need to buy zippers and piping. I don’t even like piping!
I took the class. Loved it. And told my husband I wouldn’t take another one, because we couldn’t
possibly afford my new hobby.
Lucky for me, he put his foot down. We would find a way to make it work. And we did.
The solution was deceptively simple. We added sewing classes and supplies to our annual budget.
That’s it. That’s the ground-breaking idea that allowed me to keep sewing. And blogging. And doing just about everything else that I love.
Every year, the husband and I go through a pretty intense budgeting process. It starts with a review of our values…and ends with a spreadsheet. And it takes an entire weekend to put together (now that we’ve been doing it a few years).
One of my values is “I act on my passions.” Sewing was a passion – albeit a newly developed one. You know what isn’t a value: be lazy and take lots of taxis. Nope. But I spent a lot of cash on cabs (seriously, I used to direct the cab to different corners so my co-workers wouldn’t know. It was shameful.)
So when we started talking about how I could afford to sew, I fessed up to my cab habit. Don’t get me wrong here, I still take the occasional cab. But thinking of all the pretty fabric I can buy with that cash is a wonderfully effective deterrent. Or the money I could put into savings for a vacation. Or…well, you get the picture.
The idea that money doesn’t create happiness is hogwash. In fact, it’s dangerous.
Let’s say you’re like me. Taking too many cabs each week yet claiming you can’t afford to nurture your creative habits.
When your expenditures don’t line up with your values, you get that icky I-ate-too-much-ice-cream feel in your stomach. And it’s hard to shake.
On the flip side, when you do align your budget with your core values, you feel powerful.
And those feelings are happy-making.
Probably you don’t take a lot of cabs. But I’m willing to bet you have your own demon. Ready to hunt it down?
First, take 10 minutes to jot down your values. If you find it hard to start, think of three people in your life: a member of your family, a friend and an acquaintance in the community or even a client. What would you hope that each would say about you if you weren’t around? Make a quick list of the qualities you’d like them to ascribe to you.
There you have it…a quick exercise in sussing out your values.
Now that you have a list working, take another 5 minutes to catalog the purchases you made in the past week or two.
Can you find a disconnect? A purchase or expense that doesn’t feed one of your values?
If you can figure out a way to minimize or eliminate that spending…you’ve found the cash to support your creative habit.
What’s your cash-eating demon?
Brigitte explores the intersection between life, joy & purpose at her blog, Covet. Learn to create budgets that bring balance to your life in a 6-week series called Warm Soft Money.