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paper.alien
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18 Apr 2022, 7:59 am

How do you invest in special interests when they are usually too expensive? Right now I'm reverting to my special interest in Harry Potter as when I was a child, but I've realized that no matter how much I invest in Harry Potter merchandise, my pitiful attempts are still insufficient. I have all the books, all the movies, some collectible figures, a key chain with the deathly hallows and even a Hedwig plushie! But still I feel like an impostor because then I see other people have larger collections than mine and with many more articles related to the saga. And I would really like to invest more, but money is not infinite, I still depend financially on my parents and I am not rich. And I realize this can be a bit childish, especially for someone my age, but I think I just can't get on with life without my special interest and I want to have it ALL about it.

Does anyone else have this same "inconvenience"? What do you do about it?



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18 Apr 2022, 4:03 pm

I'd never consider collecting things if money was a consideration. I got myself out of a deep funk by buying brass knick-nacks at under scrap value, and improving their details and polish. The fun of a collection is in hunting for rare, disregarded things, and working on them.
The "collectible" market is just one big scam. One woman fell on hard times, and took her Franklin Mint ingots to the pawn shop, where she got maybe ten cents on the dollar for the metal value. She was shocked to see this "art" then get flipped into a scrap metal bin, and the velvet display case dispatched to the garbage in one swift motion.



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18 Apr 2022, 5:37 pm

There are lots of ways to engage with a special interest besides buying collectibles. And there's no point in comparing yourself to others and trying to get a more extensive collection of stuff.



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18 Apr 2022, 6:08 pm

looking for more stuff is never-ending and you'll never be happy because there is always more



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18 Apr 2022, 6:32 pm

Very much.
Especially related to crafting and that most of my special interests are expressed nonverbally.
It limits the mediums I could get my hands on -- it's not about collectables, it's about accessibility.


One small example was crocheting.
I'm limited to mercerized crochet threads and cotton yarns. I also have to conserve certain colors or pick wisely or reuse from old projects. I'm not allowed to go crazy.

I wouldn't know what it'll be like to handle cashmere, wool, or anything softer or larger.
Or anything bigger than 1cm diameter thick unless I get to spend at least 3x my usual. Or get lucky with online shopping.

Same applies with hooks without ergonomic handles. I can't crochet several times an hour straight without cramping my hand because of that. It's a huge roadblock and it's really frustrating.

And so many others. I would've want to learn pottery. But I can't unless I spend at least somewhere half of my monthly income and a room to learn any of that.
The same goes with woodcrafting or carpentry.


The biggest issue is that there's no consistency of access -- because of that particular constraint.

Anyways.
I'd DIY my way out of some as much as I could.


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18 Apr 2022, 7:21 pm

Yes, not all special interests involve buying a huge collection of merchandise. I've never been rich, so "hobbies" always had to take second place to the necessaries of ordinary life when it came to budgeting. As such I've always had to pit my wits against the expense of playing and recording good music (my main interest), and to some extent I've succeeded. I've managed to make a lot of "silk purses" out of "sow's ears," and it's become such an ingrained habit to avoid needlessly spending money that it doesn't put a big dent in my income. I've always been rather amazed at the way most people seem to assume that they can't do anything worthwhile without parting with a ton of cash.

Of course the commercial world will always try to tell you that to be happy you have to buy lots of stuff, but it's a lie. Just make sure that if you must collect things, they're not expensive things. Find out how to make and repair your own stuff. Look after your stuff so that it lasts longer. To do it well you probably have to make being a cheapskate a bit of a religion, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Of course its true to a degree that money helps, and it's a shame when people get stuck in a kind of financial dead-end with their special interests when there's no way to advance without a big cash outlay.

After I'd spent years getting cheap recording gear to achieve the best possible results, I was still dissatisfied so I looked into upgrading. But in a way I'd become the victim of my own success. The upgrade wouldn't have been very cost-effective because my results would have been little better than the near-miracles I was already achieving. So I couldn't justify it.

I'm very lucky that the price of decent recording gear came down massively over the years since digital technology took over from the cumbersome old analogue stuff. These days it's possible to install a couple of free sound recording programs onto practically any computer and you're in business. As for collecting music, as long as you don't insist on the original vinyls or shop-bought CDs, you can download practically anything you want without paying anything.



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18 Apr 2022, 7:43 pm

If you're looking for a hobby that doesn't cost much/anything, you could try exercise, yoga, nature walks or bird watching. If you like writing, you could try poetry, fan fiction (hello, HP!) or blogging. If you're artsy, you could try singing, do some music appreciation online, cellphone photography, or drawing. There are several internet sites that will help you learn a new language at no cost. You could do volunteer work. If you like sight-seeing, you could visit parks, zoos, and free museums. If you like crafts, you can try using found items instead of shelling out at the store. Some residents at a local retirement community/nursing home crocheted sleeping mats for the homeless using nothing but donated plastic shopping bags!

Collecting is addictive, and as you said, expensive. I love Harry Potter too, but when I see things in stores or online, I remember to ask myself if it's a "want" or a "need." (Spoiler alert: it's never a "need"! !)



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18 Apr 2022, 11:09 pm

paper.alien wrote:
How do you invest in special interests when they are usually too expensive?

Most of my special interests have involved collecting information and ideas, not material things. These days, most of the relevant info can be found online, so I don't even have to buy books.


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19 Apr 2022, 8:50 am

Over the years I had many hobbies, things that I collected. Then when I began collecting them, within a year or two, the prices skyrocketed. So I generally waited and picked up a different hobby to collect.

For example, I began buying old books. Those published before 1900. I was able to purchase a small amount. My oldest book was from 1555. Then the prices went way over the level I could afford.

So I switched my hobby. I began collecting leather bound books. They were well build and lovely. But now their prices have gone beyond what I can afford. At least this time I purchased many over the years (over a hundred) and they fill the shelves of my home.


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19 Apr 2022, 10:39 am

Oh yes, I have this problem, too. It got bigger once I graduated and moved out of my parents' house since while living there, I could've literally used all my money on special interests if I wanted to (and up to age of 15 I kinda did), but after moving out, I no longer had the possibility since I needed to handle rent, food and all the other necessary bills on my own. So yeah, bad news: it'll eventually get even worse for you, too.

As for what you can do about it, you could get a job, or if you already have one, ask for more hours to work. If you feel like you aren't ready for a real job/can't get one, you could ask your parents if they'd pay you a little extra if you did more work around the house.

You could look for good deals, like looking for Harry Potter stuff from flea markets (online included), or looking for some older Harry Potter stuff that many collectors have already and will be sold with a discount because of it.

Making your own stuff is also an option if you have some kind of artistic talent... or even without a talent if you're not too picky. :lol:

You could also be a fan of the series in ways that don't cost you: memorize little facts about the series that only true fans would know, read articles and interviews from Rowling and the actors online (assuming you're interested in them too and not just the series), discuss the series with other fans, like what scenes you liked and didn't like, what would've made the series better etc. And as KimD said, you could try reading and even writing fanfiction (stories that fans have written about someone else's work.) I know that that one's not for everyone since it doesn't bring new facts to the table, but many people love it, so maybe you will, too?

BTW, have you taken the house test? Which house are you from? I'm from Hufflepuff.



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19 Apr 2022, 12:31 pm

I also mostly collect ideas and information, not things.
That said, I have 5 sewing machines and a pretty decent collection of comic books.
But it's for using/reading, not collecting just for the sake of collecting. With a few exceptions.
And I've almost always been able to wait for a decent price to come up, like finding stuff in a thrift store or on sale.

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19 Apr 2022, 7:34 pm

Investing in experiences and education is often a good idea.

Where i live there is a good free library - and a park.

If you like a book character you could draw pictures, write fanfic, create lists of facts, contribute to a wiki, create a blog. Think in terms of being “creative”. Like a river feeding a lake. You can write quotes on paper and decorate it with crayons or glitter or even nature things like pinecones and leaves.

If your special interest ends up taking more from you than it is giving you it may be an addiction.

Consider a budget. If you want more stuff and it is in your budget you are good. If not you can save up for it - and look forward to it.


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20 Apr 2022, 7:38 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
Yes, not all special interests involve buying a huge collection of merchandise. I've never been rich, so "hobbies" always had to take second place to the necessaries of ordinary life when it came to budgeting. As such I've always had to pit my wits against the expense of playing and recording good music (my main interest), and to some extent I've succeeded. I've managed to make a lot of "silk purses" out of "sow's ears," and it's become such an ingrained habit to avoid needlessly spending money that it doesn't put a big dent in my income. I've always been rather amazed at the way most people seem to assume that they can't do anything worthwhile without parting with a ton of cash.

Of course the commercial world will always try to tell you that to be happy you have to buy lots of stuff, but it's a lie. Just make sure that if you must collect things, they're not expensive things. Find out how to make and repair your own stuff. Look after your stuff so that it lasts longer. To do it well you probably have to make being a cheapskate a bit of a religion, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Of course its true to a degree that money helps, and it's a shame when people get stuck in a kind of financial dead-end with their special interests when there's no way to advance without a big cash outlay.

After I'd spent years getting cheap recording gear to achieve the best possible results, I was still dissatisfied so I looked into upgrading. But in a way I'd become the victim of my own success. The upgrade wouldn't have been very cost-effective because my results would have been little better than the near-miracles I was already achieving. So I couldn't justify it.

I'm very lucky that the price of decent recording gear came down massively over the years since digital technology took over from the cumbersome old analogue stuff. These days it's possible to install a couple of free sound recording programs onto practically any computer and you're in business. As for collecting music, as long as you don't insist on the original vinyls or shop-bought CDs, you can download practically anything you want without paying anything.


I collect older music, but refuse to pay full price for CDs. Thrift stores, estate auctions and garage sales are where I do my music shopping. Once home, I burn the CDs into my computer (legal to do if you own the CD) and transfer the files onto an external hard drive. That way I can easily listen to any song, yet not have to fumble around searching for the CD it is on.

Sure, you could get a streaming service to do the same thing, but you will pay a fee each month to have access. I pay one time buying each CD and have access at any time. Music streaming services have been known to crash, which is another reason why I will not use them. I currently have 40+ Giga bytes of songs in my digital library. Most of my CDs were purchased at less than a dollar each, including several boxed sets. It stands from the early 1950s to early 2000s. (I do not like auto tuning in my songs.)

If I get tired of a particular CD, I delete the digital copy and pass the physical CD along to someone who wants it. It is a form of recycling for music. If you want to get free access to music, that can often be done through local libraries loan programs.



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20 Apr 2022, 8:12 am

One thing I learned over the years of collecting is to consider your storage space before attempting to collect large things. I used to be quite active in collecting cars. No, not the little models, but the real ones. I literally ran out of space to store them. It started costing me more to pay for storage than what some of them were worth. I literally had more cars/parts cars than I was years old at one time.

I reaccessed my goals and thinned the herd down to a manageable amount. While I still enjoy my cars, I no longer have a need to buy more of them. The prices of some of them skyrocketed so much that I would not be able to replace the ones I have if I sold any of them. All of the ones I have left are long term keepers. One will be going on a one way trip with me into my grave.

What I learned from this is to collect smaller things as an interest instead. Comic books and coins can be good choices for small storage spaces if you know what you are doing. (Although comic books are relatively small, they do add up fast. I have bought around 2,000+ of them in the past few years.) The key to being successful at any hobby is to learn everything about the hobby before you dive in. So many collectors get taken to the cleaners just starting out because they do not know better. Learning the basics is the first step towards obtaining a new hobby starting point.



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20 Apr 2022, 12:31 pm

I've got a huge collection of stuff arising from various 'special interests' over the years. Yes, some of it has proved expensive, eg I've got over 40 laptops, most of them quite ancient (15-20 years old) and quite a few of these would be difficult or even impossible to sell. I've also acquired a pretty serious accumulation of coins and stamps over the last few decades: stamps have been a poor investment, coins rather better, but buying and selling these via auctions incurs huge costs in commission and VAT (Value Added Tax), which makes it difficult to recover your purchase costs, should you ever desire or need to do so.

Maybe the best results from special interests come from exploiting advances in technology. For example, collecting things like films, TV shows, music videos and the like was pretty expensive in the 1980s and 1990s, but can be dirt cheap now. A VHS or Betamax video tape, on which you could record two or three hours of material, cost around £8 in the early 1980s, but now you can download maybe a couple of hundred hours of stuff for free from YouTube to a £10 64gb SD card or USB stick. I've even bought 500 GB secondhand hard drives for £8 which can contain almost 1000 movies or TV shows. In the early 1980s, a prerecorded film on VHS was £30-£40 in the UK (around £150 in today's money).


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20 Apr 2022, 3:50 pm

QuantumChemist wrote:
I collect older music, but refuse to pay full price for CDs. Thrift stores, estate auctions and garage sales are where I do my music shopping. Once home, I burn the CDs into my computer (legal to do if you own the CD) and transfer the files onto an external hard drive. That way I can easily listen to any song, yet not have to fumble around searching for the CD it is on.

Sure, you could get a streaming service to do the same thing, but you will pay a fee each month to have access. I pay one time buying each CD and have access at any time. Music streaming services have been known to crash, which is another reason why I will not use them. I currently have 40+ Giga bytes of songs in my digital library. Most of my CDs were purchased at less than a dollar each, including several boxed sets. It stands from the early 1950s to early 2000s. (I do not like auto tuning in my songs.)

If I get tired of a particular CD, I delete the digital copy and pass the physical CD along to someone who wants it. It is a form of recycling for music. If you want to get free access to music, that can often be done through local libraries loan programs.

One workaround might be to depend on YouTube for almost everything. There isn't much music that can't be found on YouTube, and many websites exist that "mirror" all YouTube content without the tracking and advertising. AFAIK it's not illegal to use those sites, and even some of the free YouTube downloading utilities you can get have managed to stay on the right side of the law. And even if you'd rather not make your own personal copies, YouTube isn't particularly likely to remove a given recording (though it can happen), so just keeping the URLs and using YouTube as a replacement for your record collection is generally pretty reliable, and it's much cheaper to just buy the songs you'd really hate to lose and fear might get removed, and leave everything else at that slight risk of vanishing.

There's also the fact that it's unlikely anybody would be prosecuted for making personal copies, and it's possible to base any moral decisions about "theft" on how wealthy or not the musicians and recording companies in question happen to be. Not that I'd go so far as advising anybody to break the law. That's their personal decision.