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What to do when an obsession/interest costs too much money? (I have too many interests, help)!

SalemGreencat

New Member
I can get pretty intensely interested in things that require too much money in order to be as exhaustive as I want them to be. I have a handful of Obsessions/interests, many involve collecting, and I just cant continue to prioritize them all anymore and I don't know what to do about it. I know that I have too many things I'm interested in, and while my research into them can be as deep as I want, my collecting/actual depth with them is limited by time and resources. I never have enough time to deep dive into them as much as I want to, and I end up not being able to engage with ones I am still very interested in because of time limitations. When I am interested in something I want to explore it as far as possible and feel very uncomfortable if I cant. I am wondering if anyone else has any issues like this? How do you deal with them? How do you decide which to invest money/time into over others?

-Salem

Interests:
Nintendo handhelds and other vintage consoles (Collecting, using, researching)
Pokémon/Zelda/games (Collecting, playing)
Pokémon TCG/MTG (Collecting, playing)
Board Games (Collecting, playing)
Haunted houses/Halloween props/special effects (Going to, making props, researching)
Picking/yard sales/thrifting (Collecting unusual items)
Dice (Collecting unusual forms, researching)
Arcade/impulse/pinball machines (Playing, researching, would buy but cant afford)
Uranium glass (Collecting)
Unusual musical instruments [woodwinds and percussion mostly] (Collecting, playing, researching)
Contemporary art (Collecting, making, visiting museums)
Vitreous enameling (Making, researching)
Alternative fashion (Researching)
Avant-garde music (Listening)
Obscure/cult films (watching)
 
That is quite the list, it almost sounds like too much to focus on perhaps

And, yes, some hobbies can tend to be expensive but there are other ways around it, in this photo both pieces of artwork are rather tiny but I only paid $26 for both of them, both are by local artists, and I love both pieces!

Artwork 01.jpg


And admittedly I'm in what can be an expensive hobby (photography), yet there are inexpensive ways to get into it, starting with a modern smart phone which can take excellent photos these days... You don't always need to have the expensive gear if you know how to read light, compose well, etc...
 
Perhaps you can switch some of the collecting to more of a research focus, and maybe make an interest out of divesting one or more collections so you can better focus on the ones you're more passionate about?
 
Perhaps you can switch some of the collecting to more of a research focus, and maybe make an interest out of divesting one or more collections so you can better focus on the ones you're more passionate about?
I would agree, but how do I pick which one(s) to focus on?
 
You remind me of me. I like some of your interests too. Some things I enjoy:

fountain pen collecting/use
antique typewriters
vacuum tube radio collecting (or, in my case, acquiring radios & promising myself I'll fix them EVENTUALLY.)
old clocks and pocket watches
78rpm records & Edison cylinders
The phonographs to play those records, all before 1930
Kerosene lamps, the more intricate the better.
Writing novels & stories & poems
Victorian, Edwardian, Great Depression-era middle and working class clothing
Collecting old books
Automobile repair
Horsemanship (for the love of Mike, why are riding-lessons so hard to find? Did the motor industry kill that many horses?)
Incandescent Edison type lightbulbs

I'm worried that I am getting into black-powder firearms, because today I have been down a YouTube rabbit hole on the history of the Konyak Naga tribesmen of the border between India & Myanmar. The Konyak Naga people were headhunters and craftsmen. (One might as well have something to do with one's heads.) They were skilled blacksmiths and produced locally made firearms, which look, to my guess, to be copies of 1860s-1870s Victorian English pieces, both single and double-barreled percussion guns. This matches their discovery by Baptist missionaries in the 1870s. If the Konyak Naga had been able to measure & examine the missionaries' guns, no wonder their own pieces match the general profile of a mid-19th c. British piece: halfstock design, long tapering tang and trigger guard, pistol grip on stock, and (interesting note!) late English style, bar profile, percussion locks, which were an 1840s development, and the high straight hammer associated with that design. The Catholic priest at church says when he was a boy he went shooting with his father's muzzleloader very often. This was in India about 50 years ago. He is now proving himself quite capable with a .22 rimfire rifle and didn't seem too impressed with the old muzzle-loader, so down the rabbit hole again I went: the muzzleloading gun lives on in the wilds of rural India, just like it never disappeared from Appalachia until about 1950.

Now I already (legally!) owned a few older guns but have recently been blacksmithing a single-shot 10-gauge back into working order. It is 140 years old but should work fine with home-rolled shells. There's a 16-gauge double I'm fixing up as well; I believe it to be 1876-1886 based on some numbering I found inside. Now it DOES work, but the stock is cracked. That arrives to-morrow I think, and I'll have to start many weeks of work trying to adapt a rough-cut walnut stock to fit the shotgun. (Then, assuming the thing works--which it may not--I still have to hand-engrave the checkering to match. And all for a $275 shotgun charitably described as an "JABC gun," short for "just another Belgian clunker.")

Why do I have antique shotguns?
Because I think craftsmanship like this is pretty nifty. Enjoy a silent-era documentary of barrel makers in Europe. These small shops would forge the steel tubes for the barrels, and sell them to gunmakers who would join them together with iron ribs & solder, then fit them to a lock and wooden stock & grip.



Modern demonstration by some of the young fellows of the Konyak Naga tribe. I do not recommend them as models of safe marksmanship. But I do think their devotion to the old traditions are commendable. Four are carrying classic percussion side-lock pieces and the one on the left appears to have a primitive form of what would become the modern inline muzzleloader. Someone introduce these guys to us down in the Southern US. We also enjoy standing around outside messing with guns that should've been thrown away a long time ago.


Anyway: Picking an interest to pursue. This is the hardest part of all; I suggest slowing down & just relaxing some on it. You may find that it'd be more fun to focus on stuff that doesn't cost you any money, or that you can do yourself. Uranium glass is nice, but costly. Take time & enjoy your less expensive interests as you figure out what to put the most work into.
It would cost me hundreds of dollars to build my own muzzle-loading shotgun from scratch. The work is harder than simply welding a couple pipes together--you never use pipe, and a good double is always soldered instead of welded (plus the barrels must be regulated to a single point of aim at 40 yards.) Of course I'm building a double-barrel; might miss with the first shot!
Can't afford to build the thing now, but I can learn Barton's Formula--an old mathematical trick for calculating the working load of a piece of tubing.

And it goes like this:
P = 2ST / (OD)(SF), where P = Fluid Pressure (in PSI), T = pipe wall thickness, in inches; (OD) = Outside Diameter, (SF) = Safety Factor, and S = Material Tensile Strength in psi. (Considering I am talking about building a replica of a 19th-century muzzle loading shotgun it would need to be yield strength. A gun goes "out of proof" if the barrels are bulged slightly--you do not want to be stuffing a charge of powder and shot into a warped-up tube.

The piece I was planning to construct was going to be a traditional black powder smoothbore. It would not need the complication of a rifled bore. Some people use DOM (drawn over mandrel) electrically welded steel tubing to construct these; it's been popular in the United States during the 1960s-1980s muzzleloading revival period to use DOM tubing to craft muzzleloader barrels. Unfortunately, it's also very easy to blow up DOM tubing if it is made out of a crappy steel. I could get high grade tubing for $25 USD per barrel, and have only to solder the two barrels together and lay the ribs. But I'd have to proof-test both of them beforehand, which you do by double-loading the barrels, clamping them to a test stand, and lighting them with a fuse. Measure the barrels at all dimensions before and after the proof loads. If they survive proofing with zero change, good--you can probably get away with using your barrels. The English are strict about proof tests. I am in America; we don't have a proof test for muzzleloaders here & you could get away without proofing your gun--but I'd much rather use one that I've already tested.


Anyway, why all the minutiae about building an historically authentic replica of a 19th-century fowling piece? Because I can spend any number of happy spare moments scratching away at mathematics, researching appropriate stock geometry in both English pieces & the artisanal pieces of the Konyak Naga, dismantling my father's old Pedersoli muzzleloading double (itself a copy of a Wm. Moore or Joseph Manton c. 1840-1870) for the details of how to make a "patent" or hooked breech and how to drill the breechplugs themselves for the percussion cap nipple, calculating the strength of steel or the pressure of a 20-bore black powder shotgun charge or the best way to mix a batch of Armstrong's Mixture so I can make percussion-caps --

and none of this costs me a dime. Research is free, and it stays free until I start making stuff go. In the meantime, anybody want to come research the barrel wall thickness of muzzleloading shotguns with me?

No?

I didn't think so.
 
I usually go with the cheaper version. For example, I'm obsessed with modular synthesizers but can't afford the real thing, so I use free and lower-cost ones that exist as PC programs and plugins. At one point I was really into arcades (a short-lived obsession), so I emulated them on my laptop instead (which is legal here in the US). There are ways to legally watch movies for free as well, like on Youtube or Archive.org, where older films tend to get preserved. Board games sometimes exist as PC games, and you can always play indie clones for free if they exist. Last but not least, mediums like Spotify allow you to listen to almost all the music that exists worldwide so you don't have to go out collecting a whole bunch of albums. When something isn't on Spotify, it's almost certainly just around the corner on YT.

You can also find so many free sample pack / Kontakt libraries full of obscure instruments that it's unbelievable. I've stumbled across so many free ones at this point that I can't even believe how much people are willing to give away for free or just an optional donation. You can also do all of the 2D art and 3D modelling in the world with a free program called Blender, plus way more in the art / modeling / sculpting territory. Also if you're doing a lot of research online, LibreOffice and OpenOffice are free suites which provide you with Excel, Word and Powerpoint clones for managing all of your data. If you want to get even more nuts, you can sort your CSV data for free with a Python library called Pandas, but that's only if you're that much of a nerd like me.

As far as collections go, I really like to admire others' on places like Reddit to scratch the itch. You don't have to follow any of this advice, but this is how I allow my obsessions to flourish without having to spend much extra money at all. If you've got even a lo-spec PC, you're set.
 
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I have just as many interests as you lol, some special interests and some just like basic interests.

I try to prioritize the things I am the most interested in, if that makes sense? And other than caring for my dogs, and collecting things, most of my interests are fortunately not too expensive.
 
@SalemGreencat..."I am wondering if anyone else has any issues like this? How do you deal with them? How do you decide which to invest money/time into over others?"

1. Oh yes, very much so.
2 & 3. I have the advantage/disadvantage of living with a wife who is in charge of the finances,...and keeps me "in check". Two, the house is ours,...not mine,...and this also means she doesn't like having a bunch of my stuff cluttering up the house. She is tolerant to a point,...then either the money or space become an issue for her. I think she understands I need a "hobby" to keep me engaged intellectually,...at some level I think, as a wife, she knows it makes me happy,...and although I know she really isn't interested in any of it and would rather manage our money better,...she does her best to be supportive (to a point).

I generally don't have a large number of "smaller special interests",...I usually have one or two large special interests at a time. Examples of large, expensive special interests in the past,...(1) rebuilding a 1989 Ford Mustang into a race car,...learning how to do all of it myself,...all the tools, the garage, the skills,...and then,...learning how to drive, getting my "racing license", and finally competing. $$$$$ (2) starting out with a small aquarium, to then multiple medium-sized aquariums, to eventually a 300 gallon/1135 liter wall aquarium,...large cichlids, then to an all natural planted system,...balanced with Asian gouramis,...no filter. $$$$$ (3) Powerlifting,...start out as weight lifting as a kid and into adulthood,...then, getting recruited to join a powerlifting team,...all the food, supplements, lifting gear, competition travel, training, chiropractor, etc....$$$$$ (4) tropical plants,...start out with a few common ones,...then to specialty, rare, mail-order plants,...now, as we speak, about 60 different orchids from all over the world. $$$

The four things I mentioned above certainly wasn't all of my special interests,...just the ones that stood out as financially significant.
 
My interests in Trilobites, Travel, and Numismatics can get expensive quickly. I have a budget for this and adhere to it strictly. Sometimes that means shifting priorities. But since these are wants, not needs, they can be planned for, sometimes a year in advance.
 
I started with an inexpensive hobby, figure drawing. As my income improved, I was able to augment that hobby with figures (mostly resale) and drawing books.
 
Use some discenable criteria to cull the list down to a managable level.

You determine the criteria but to give some examples that I used:

- How much space does it take up
- How expensive is it to maintain
- Do I really get any consistant enjoyment out of it or does it just stay stored away

Once you cut it down to size get rid of the other stuff completely if possible. Sell/donate/give away/trash.
 
Use some discenable criteria to cull the list down to a managable level.

You determine the criteria but to give some examples that I used:

- How much space does it take up
- How expensive is it to maintain
- Do I really get any consistant enjoyment out of it or does it just stay stored away

Once you cut it down to size get rid of the other stuff completely if possible. Sell/donate/give away/trash.

Very nice list. For me, a big factor is the enjoyment side of things. If something makes me happy, it's a keeper, and that can more or less override other factors, and usually, there's not many things that truly fall in that category.

One factor that I would consider as well is the resale-ability of certain items.

Something that's large and hard to sell, but is worth some money, you may wish to consider listing for sale, and holding onto until you get a reasonable offer for it.

Something that's more compact, and especially if it's niche and relatively low cost, like postcards of your hometown, perhaps you could keep going, but perhaps keep it more on a serendipitous basis (e.g. buying something only if you come across it randomly, rather than seeking them out)
 
It's nice to have many interest, for me they come and go, if you cannot afford them time to move on. most of mine can be fulfilled by reading or listening.
 
I collect music releases, digital, CDs and vinyl. This costs a lot of money and if I bought all the releases I would like to have, it would cost me many thousands of euros. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of disposable income and I'm on a tight budget. I also try to save money, and the drive to save money and live frugally is in constant conflict with the drive to collect music. If I spend money of music, I feel guilty, even though I could afford the items I bought.

On Wednesday, I'm going to a place which I know will bring me very close to a record store I like. I have a list with about 10 items, some expensive imports. That's going to cost me over 250 euros. I know I should compromise by removing maybe half of the items from the list, but I don't like compromise - it's either all or nothing with me. The only way round the problem is to put money aside for that purpose, and then be really strict about not going over that budget. But it's not always easy.
 
Geometric tessellations of classic poetry forms...yeah, low cost, no fun logic puzzles guaranteed to result in extreme frustration. The only investment time and sanity.
 
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I do tend to accrue houseplants, but they don't cost the earth, freshen the air, and add much needed colour and character to the house.
 
I do tend to accrue houseplants, but they don't cost the earth, freshen the air, and add much needed colour and character to the house.


I like your plants.
My antiques tend to be light on the environment as well, but they are usually brown & dumpy-looking, add the wrong kind of character to a place, certainly do NOT freshen the air, and, worst of all, are not alive.
I should go dig up some cuttings & start growing house plants. There is plenty of English ivy outside that I can borrow some cuttings from, as well as a bunch of other nice things.
 
My plants aren't my biggest weakness. My books are; the space they consume is immense. Our basement is basically a book cave. Bookcases, jam-packed on every wall, so my bookshop discount is a Catch-22. I can afford more books than most folks, but do I need the books...not some much. Do I love and (re)read my books? Yes.
 
I collect music releases, digital, CDs and vinyl. This costs a lot of money and if I bought all the releases I would like to have, it would cost me many thousands of euros. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of disposable income and I'm on a tight budget. I also try to save money, and the drive to save money and live frugally is in constant conflict with the drive to collect music. If I spend money of music, I feel guilty, even though I could afford the items I bought.

On Wednesday, I'm going to a place which I know will bring me very close to a record store I like. I have a list with about 10 items, some expensive imports. That's going to cost me over 250 euros. I know I should compromise by removing maybe half of the items from the list, but I don't like compromise - it's either all or nothing with me. The only way round the problem is to put money aside for that purpose, and then be really strict about not going over that budget. But it's not always easy.
I wonder if any of them contain content that is not available online, let alone available free of charge.
In the past, the main point of buying them was listening to the content on them. If most people can easily listen to all the content without buying copies, the takes away that reason to buy them.
 
Having many hobbies, even some expensive ones, is wonderful I think.
Some NTs do not have any hobbies- They go to work, then come home and watch TV. I'd heard of a fellow
at an old workplace that died depressed because his work was his life, he was forced into retirement.

With many hobbies, one can get bored with a hobby or run short of money persuing it. Then you can pick up on another hobby 'left on the shelf' and run with that for a time. Etc.

With so many hobbies I don't have much time for loneliness......
 
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