How To Avoid Boredom While Turning Your Finances Around

The worst part of cutting your expenses is also the worst part of going on a diet. Boredom. Not being able to do exactly what you want, when you want to do it is boring. “Grown up,” but boring.

Trent from The Simple Dollar has some tips for avoiding ennui while saving.

Here’s one that we liked:

Re-evaluate your hobbies There are a lot of enjoyable hobbies out there that don’t require a fistful of cash. Read a book. Start a garden. Take a walk. Fully enjoy the DVDs/video games/CDs you already have. Teach yourself to cook. Then, focus on that hobby and really develop it – if you put in the time at any hobby, you will become more skilled at it. Since figuring out my financial situation, I’ve come to really enjoy cooking, something I didn’t enjoy nearly as much until I decided to actually learn how to do it with some modicum of skill. Not only is it fun, virtually everything I make is cheaper than eating out.

Cooking is fun. Try making something that you usually order at a restaurant. Chances are that you can figure out how to make it, and you might even make it better than the restaurant.

Seven Tips For Avoiding Boredom During A Financial Turnaround [The Simple Dollar]
(Photo:stirwise)

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  1. Manok says:

    Be a good consumerist, sell all your belongings, become a bum and save every nickel forever while you sleep on a street bench..no rent!!! You will have no expenses and the be the envy of all your friends that spend money they earn from working. (How dare they)

  2. eys says:

    My advice: use the local library. Plenty of DVDs, CDs and books, all yours for the borrowing. Of course, this all depends on how good your local library system is.

  3. Kierst_thara says:

    I guess this shows that I haven’t devoted much free time to cooking, but I’m really wondering what’s going on in the picture up there with the eggs and ice cubes…

  4. Manok says:

    That’s saving money my friend. Consumerist style. Eggs and ice costs less than you would buy at a restaurant. Plus, you can make it at home with frozen tap water you keep in a bucket outside overnight and expired eggs from the store for cheap! Saving money my friend, that’s the name of the game.

  5. ugly says:

    @Kierst_thara: I was winder the same thing, it must be some secret trick. We should get to the bottom of this!

    @Manok: I think you’ve missed the entire point. Being a good consumerist is specifically about buying, owning and enjoying oneself. It’s far more about being conscious of our choices and sharing information. Probably lots of us believe far more in the free market than your average conservative. However we believe that those choices are best when they are informed choices, rather than making them based on falsified advertising, misleading marketing and illegally or immorally maintained monopolies.

    The smartest among us know that while the dollar is the only vote that count, there are still a limited number of candidates to choose from. At least in the market, abstaining from voting (buying) still has some payoff.

    Take EYS comment for instance. In this case he or she is noting that the promise of being able to read about X is equally well met by voting to use the library. Some others prefer a new crisp book or are turned off of books others have read, so for them there is additional payout for buying. Both are great decisions if you know the alternatives and know why you buy or not buy. I’m sure you wouldn’t vote for someone just because they were in a particular political party right?

  6. ugly says:

    winder = wondering

  7. deserthiker says:

    buy your clothes at goodwill. All my very best and most expensive duds come from GW. Just don’t become a thrift store addict. It won’t cost much but you’ll end up with a lot of junk.

  8. SOhp101 says:

    @ugly: I’m pretty sure Manok is joking.

    As for making cooking your hobby, find your nearest restaurant supply store for your cooking hardware needs. Whatever you do, don’t step into that store in the mall. They sell stuff there for people who can afford it but never cook.

  9. SOhp101 says:

    @Kierst_thara, ugly: Based on the recipe card (Apple Pie), I think it’s to make the eggs as cold as possible when making the crust. Using very cold ingredients (especially the butter, very important) results in a flakier crust for your pies.

    First time I’ve ever seen this, though.

  10. veronykah says:

    @eys: I never experienced this but the library where I live charges for DVD rentals! I started borrowing them from my friends instead…

  11. manok is a sage

  12. Parapraxis says:

    I think the better term is “boddhisativa”

  13. kjherron says:

    @SOhp101: Yeah, but you don’t put eggs in pie crust. Or in apple pie, for that matter.

    Maybe they’re also making a custard pie. Mmmm, pie…

  14. Wrathos says:

    Although most folks don’t want to start in the Fall, I recommend taking up running as a hobby. It’s cheap and even if you buy new sneakers it’s about a $100 investment for the year. Versus $70+/month for the gym. And you can feel justified for eating the extra slice of pizza.

  15. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @Manok:

    Dude, you COOK the eggs. Remember that stove of yours? The one with the clock on it (that gave you the excuse for not buying your wife a new watch)?

    So maybe SHE cooks the eggs… ;-)

  16. wezelboy says:

    If you really want to save money, the gardening thing is pretty good. If you live in California and have a 215 card, it can be downright profitable.

  17. Buy things for the long haul

    This isn’t bad advice but what’s it doing in a list of ways to avoid boredom? Is “a reliable and energy efficient appliance” more entertaining than a cheaper one? Only three out of seven bits of advice seem to actually be about combating boredom.

    That said it’s nice to read something like this after all of the “OMG, why do U pay fur things, yur LAME only lozers need enturtainment, ELIMINATE ALL FUN FROM YOUR BUDGET STUPID” comments.

  18. MollyNYC says:

    @SOhp101: You’re right. With piecrust, the reason they tell you to get everything ice-cold and not mix it too much is that when you finish making the dough, it shouldn’t be homogeneous on a micro level. You should have little pockets of flour and water, little pockets of butter (or other shortening) and flour, tiny pockets of air, etc.

    Then, when you roll it out, the little pockets flatten out into flakes. If ingredients aren’t really cold, the butter melts into the other stuff. (Sticking everything you’re going to use, including the equipment, into the freezer before you start isn’t a bad idea.)

    Not all piecrust recipes call for an egg yolk, but it’s one more nonheterogeneous element, it makes the crust more tender and it gives it a nice color. You add them with the ice water (as illustrated).

  19. Myron says:

    @Manok: Well said. This should be auto posted after every mushy ‘use the library and retire at 52′ article.

  20. JessiesMind says:

    Hobbies can actually be quite expensive. I have friends who spend small fortunes on their scrapbooking habit. With all the gadgets offered for the kitchen (and recipes calling for food processors, stand mixers and exotic ingredients more often than not) cooking can get expensive, too.

    Personally, none of my hobbies strike me as particularly cheap. I love to knit, but the cost of yarn is ridiculous. It is almost always cheaper to buy a scarf or sweater instead of buying the yarn to make one. Gardening costs a pretty penny, too. And, I’m not even going to take a guess at the amount of money I spend each month on my reading addiction, either.

  21. ltlbbynthn says:

    omg when I cooked, EVERYTHING I made was better than restaurants. God, I miss having all day to spend in the kitchen.

  22. BlondeGrlz says:

    @JessiesMind: I was going to say the same thing about gardening. Annuals like impatiens and pansys are super easy but only last one year – not very economical. Even with my own compost bin and free mulch from the town I spent several hundred dollars getting my garden up and growing. And don’t even try growing roses.

  23. hollerhither says:

    Cooking can be an expensive (but fun) hobby if you are trying to emulate “restaurant-style” gourmet entrees — buying equipment, cookbooks, upscale ingredients. But if you’re cooking basic stuff instead of ordering in a pizza, you’re absolutely saving money (possibly calories, too).

  24. SaraAB87 says:

    No matter what hobby you get into it seems if you really want to get into it and play with the big boys its going to cost you money, and lots of it. Gardening costs money for seeds, plowing the ground, tools, plants etc… plus your time. If you want to have the prized garden expect to pay even more.

    Everything has a cost, and if you make friends in that hobby you will quickly find yourself trying to be better than them in no time at all as soon as they start making comments about your paltry selection of cooking devices, or how they have this and that instead of your old, outdated cheaper technology. This could end up costing you tons of money in the long run, especially if its a hobby you are just trying out. Try out many hobbies, and you will probably lose a lot of money just trying to find something you really enjoy.

    Sure you can participate in things like Slot car racing and trading card games for a minimal start up cost however soon you will find those starter kits don’t get you anywhere and that to really enjoy said hobby with the people already into it who have invested years into it you will have to spend big bundles of money. I am just citing some examples but it seems that every hobby is the same.

  25. MollyNYC says:

    Sorry, that should have read that egg yolks in pie crust are “one more nonhomogeneous element . . . “

  26. MollyNYC says:

    @hollerhither: Well, anything can be done more expensively. But since you have to eat anyway, and home cooking is the cheapest way to do it, there’s no point in not knowing how to do it well.

    More importantly, there is, bar none, no skill that makes being broke as bearable as being able to cook, because the limiting factor in how well you eat at home isn’t money–it’s skill. The most expensive foods are the processed or premade ones, which are usually mediocre at best. If you’re cooking from scratch, all your ingredients are ‘way cheaper than that, and the results are always better. But you have to have some game.

  27. tadowguy says:

    I have NetFlix, but a cheap plan, so I mainly use NF to Queue up movies I want to watch. Then I jump off to the library webpage and put holds on some of my NF queue movies. If the local one doesn’t have them, I use the inter-library loan search which covers about 40 other libraries. This works very well for older movies especially, new releases work sometimes, but often you are put in a huge line of holds.

    Re: hobbies, don’t start homebrewing beer if you want to save money ;)

  28. spookyooky says:

    Don’t forget being a boozehound, that is a great hobby.

    If you buy your booze in bulk or when on sale, you can get so messed up that you won’t even want to leave your house saving you money on gas, clothes, and the cost of drinks at bars/clubs.

    Oh, and when you wake up with a headache the next morning, remember the generic asprin is way cheaper than the name brand.

  29. SOhp101 says:

    @kjherron: Yes, you’re right, but using egg wash is popular on baked goods for nice browning. I can’t think of one recipe that calls for it to be mixed in with the dough, however, so I can’t explain two eggs instead of one (maybe prevent overdilution or something).

    Pies are sooo good.

  30. JessiesMind says:

    @blondegrlz: And don’t even try growing roses.

    LOL Yeah, too late. I do a vegetable and herb garden with my kids and husband but the roses and lilies – those are my personal passion in the garden. Unfortunately, an elderly neighbor thinks I’ve invaded her yard with my roses thanks to the former owners constructing borders and raised beds several feet into the yard instead of at the property edge. When I saw her “pruning” my roses, I discussed it with her and ended up showing her the land survey we received at closing of our home. She appeared to see reason. The next day, my roses looked like they had been beat with a hammer. I got one bloom this year. That’s with seven rose bushes. At least they weren’t long established or I’d be heartbroken.

    I can’t prove she did it, but I don’t believe in coincidence. I am loath to get into it with her, due to her age, too. So, we are putting up a privacy fence in the spring. We wanted one anyway, but it wasn’t exactly a necessity until this summer past.