How I spent more than $ 1,000 last year - and what I wish I could do instead

How I spent more than $ 1,000 last year – and what I wish I could do instead


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You don’t have to repeat my mistakes.


Key points

  • I took on a new hobby and spent too much money because I didn’t think about shopping.
  • Not rushing and setting clear goals from the beginning could save me a lot of trouble.

When I started doing my family history last year, it was mostly just to calm my boredom and curiosity. It quickly turned into what I believe will be a lifelong passion. But as I found out, it’s not a cheap hobby.

I confess that my enthusiasm got the best of me at first and ended up spending over $ 1,000 on things I really didn’t need. Now that I have a little more experience, it’s easy to look back and see what I could have done differently. Here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned hard.

1. Focus on free resources first

Whether you’re researching a new hobby like me or starting a new business, there are probably some free resources that can help you. These can be blog articles online or a book at your local library. You can also request help from others on social media or on a message board tailored to your interests.

Rather than immediately diving and discharging your bank account, first see what you can do without spending money. I didn’t do it and later realized I should have done it. As it was, I ended up paying a lot for prepaid services that I wasn’t ready to use at that stage of my research.

It’s okay to be a little stingy about your money at first. Do your research and make sure that what you spend money is really worth the effort. And that brings me to my next tip.

2. Learn from those who have gone before you

If you’re trying something completely new, you may not know what tools you need or what books or courses are worth the investment. But chances are there are other people out there who have been where you are and have the answers you are looking for.

Before you spend any money, look at product reviews, read expert advice, and try to find out what your immediate goals are before you continue. If you do, you can even get into a community of others who have the same hobby and are learning directly with you. Sometimes the individual help you can get from another person is more valuable than the general advice you would pay for in a book.

3. Let yourself start small

When I get excited about something, I tend to dream big. I wanted to track down all the members of my family who were returning as best I could, and I identified all kinds of resources that could help me achieve this goal. And some of them can be useful in the end. But I’ve learned that if I want to make sure my job is right, I have to do it step by step.

Rather than spending a lot of money on books and subscriptions that may one day benefit me, I would like me to set clear, simple goals from the beginning, what I want to achieve. When I met these goals, I was able to reconsider and focus on my other, slightly larger goals. I did that in the end, but unfortunately I spent a lot of money before I found out.

It’s okay to have a plan for what you might need to buy in the future, but make sure you have clear priorities and don’t go too far. If you need to buy something expensive, budget it and save time over time. And who knows? Waiting can even pay off for you. If you don’t need something right away, you might be able to wait for a sale or look for a cheaper, used version online.

Sometimes spending money is inevitable. However, if you follow the three steps above, you can at least be sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your costs to a minimum. Then, every few months, check to see if there are any additional savings opportunities as you pursue your hobbies.

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