Penny Pinching...

I get questions all the time about the financial part of being Pagan...  Books, tools, herbs, gems... it's easy to see how the cost can add up. However, there are some great ways to get around that cost. I can't tell you you'll never spend any money, but what I can say is IF you choose to spend your money, I can at least tell you how to spend the least amount possible.

Step One - Get outside! Even the biggest cities in the world have parks, cemeteries and trash... All of these places are great places to find "supplies."  Parks and Cemeteries are wonderful places to find everything from branches, stones, nuts and other supplies, including herbs or plants. Beaches are perfect for smooth stones, shells, branches and of course they are a natural source of water and sand...

And if you remember the saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure"? Well, it's very true! I'm not saying you should go picking through everyone's cans come trash day... But when you see things such as bowls, incense burners or other useful items, there isn't anything wrong with recycling, so maybe at least taking a walk on trash day is a good idea...

Local plants, herbs and berries are also easy to find in public parks, wooded areas, cemeteries and beaches... I'm sorry I have to say this, but DO NOT eat or ingest anything you find growing locally unless you know exactly what it is... 

Step Two - Run an internet search for Pagan Shoppes and Stores and sign up for their newsletters. The majority of Pagan supply companies will offer some form of newsletter or at the very least email you when they are having sales or specials. When I hear about big sales I always post the information on the blog here, but I can't possibly know about every one of them, so it's best to take a few moments to sign up with them yourself.

I also suggest visiting PaganPacks.com and spending the $5 or $6 to order one every few months. You should also make a point to check back  every few weeks or so. Pagan Packs is an organization devoted to promoting small Pagan owned businesses and sites. The packs themselves are full of samples, coupons and great finds! If you have a small business, blog, site or similar you should also join the Pagan Packs Yahoo groups and promote your own site or business as well, not only will it gain you some exposure, but it will give you a great connection to other owners and get you up to the day information on discounts and sales!

FaceBook, Myspace and other social networks... Most shoppes, organizations and even Pagan run charities have pages and profiles on these sites, and are always posting information about their sales!

Step Three - If you don't yet have an account with Amazon - GET ONE! While you won't be able to find everything you want on Amazon, you can easily save TONS of money simply buy shopping there instead of the regular book stores. I rarely pay more than $5 for a book and it's a great place to find out of print or limited print books as well. You'll also be able to find some great DVDs, alter and ritual supplies and even some beautiful jewelry at really great prices. I suggest you set up a WishList and check it at least weekly. I have somewhere around 12 pages of books and items I want, but I know I don't want to pay a lot for, so by checking the list every week or so, I'm able to keep an eye on the prices for used items and wait for them to fall in to my price range rather than spending more than I want.

In addition to an Amazon account, I suggest joining a site like SwagBucks or Bigcrumbs... With SwagBucks you can actually earn Amazon gift cards without spending any money, by doing things like surveys, searching the web, and taking daily polls. I switched over to the SwagBucks search engine from Google and usually earn enough points to get a $5 Amazon gift card every week to 10 days, that really adds up quickly! If you do any other shopping online you can either shop through SwagBucks and earn points which you can then turn in for gift cards OR you can shop through a rebate site like BigCrumbs which allows you to earn cash back on all your purchases. BOTH of these are completely free opportunities and will enable you to save some money, on both supplies and every day things...  I tend to use them both hand in hand and earn a good bit of my supplies and books free or close to it...

Step Four - Flea Markets, Swap Meets, Pawn Shops, Antique and Second Hand stores are all AWESOME places for AWESOME finds! Gems, Jewelry, Drums, Metals, "Trinket" boxes, Bowls, Plates, Cups... The list of what you can find is unlimited and in most cases these places aren't overly expensive and tend to be willing to deal or even trade if you have something worth trading for.

Step Five - Craft & Dollar Stores aren't usually as willing to deal or trade, but they are great place for DIY supplies, decorations and candles for cheap!  Grocery Stores & Supermarkets are great places for fresh and dried herbs, plants, wine & cider and any number of other things...

Step Six - Online Auctions are a little more dangerous and not quite as straight forward as regular shops are. I suggest joining a site like PayPal and ONLY making financial transactions through them, do NOT place more money in the account than you need to pay for what you're buying... That way even should you get "ripped off" they can't tap in to your bank account or credit card... Stick to "safe" sites like Ebay and ALWAYS contact the seller prior to bidding and check on everything from condition of the item to where they got it...  I know I sound a little paranoid on this subject, but just trust me, it comes out of experience!

Although sites like Craigslist and Backpage CAN be a good place to find things second hand and cheap, I'm not a general fan of them. There is no way to find out who you are dealing with and you will usually need to meet with the "dealer" in person to exchange money and items, which can, unfortunately, be very dangerous. In addition, unless they are nice enough to post photos, there is generally no way to figure out what you're buying until you're there...  My general advice is don't risk it just to save a few dollars!

Step Seven - DIY & Grow your own...  You don't need to have store bought everything, and it's always going to be much much cheaper to make your own than to buy. Most of the time recipes and how to information can be easily found online. Easy items to make include incense, wands, staffs, runes, tarot cards, athame, cakes, personal book of shadows or mirrors, scrying mirrors or balls, spell stars and the list goes on and on and on... Herbs and other usable plants can easily be grown at home. Even if you don't have a yard for a garden, a small planter or large bowl are easy to grow in and can easily fit in just about any home.

Step Eight - Okay, here's my final tip... But it's a favorite of mine - SWAP YOUR STUFF! Do you have friends? Go through their stuff, have them go through yours, especially books... and simply swap... If you know your friends grow certain herbs, grow different herbs then just swap!  If you know you have the ability to get a group together you can easily start a group swap where everyone brings in old items, used items or home made or grown items that they no longer need or want and trade... There's nothing like sharing with friends and getting free stuff too!


**If you have tips on how to save some cash... Make sure to let us all know!

3 comments:

  1. thanks for this one - my hubby found a real horse shoe on Aug 2 this summer he cleaned it and mounted it with the 7 nails it came with and hung it over the front door to our home - Oct now and still no big win - sigh....

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