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Witchcraft on a budget


Roanna

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One of the key things that in my mind differs Trad craft from New Agey stick it all on a credit card types is the ability to adapt and improvise. Taking the recent interest Pasterbation threads off at a tangent it would be interesting to explore how different witches look to minimise or negate the financial costs that other witches choose to accept. We've talked about not buying ingredients beyond those of immediate use... (not stockpiling) and other threads have covered the fact that modern functional appliances (I'm thinking of MW's coffee grinder) can be as useful if not more so than buying custom made tools in new age shops.

 

Can anyone share any specific examples of substitutions or improvisations made to pursue their craft with keeping costs down in mind?

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I can't think of an interesting example of ways I've overcome my poorness. My biggest achievement was learning how to burn herbs/loose incense with using tinfoil and a tea light instead of a charcoal block. Which I am still proud of to this day :D

 

I can, however, say that having very little pocket money has contributed a great deal to the development of my crafty side. My phase of "I must have X Y Z from the store in order to craft!" was unfortunately long. Being limited to using what I have on hand, or what I can find for free, has forced me to develop a deeper understanding of the things around me and become creative in how I can utilize my resources.

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I can only speak for myself, but I know that my will is stronger than an ingredient; it's how an item is used, rather than the item itself that gets results. Does that make sense?

 

Agreed, recycled glass jars are great for holding spells and for housing herbs and incense, too. I refuse to buy empty jars. 

 

Bones leftover from dinner are keepers:Some used a charms, others for poppets, easily disposable for crushing/mixing baneful herbs.

 

Olive oil is great in a pinch. I've fashioned Rue from Rosemary & black pepper. I've used herbs-on-hand and mixed them in reverse for desired result. 

 

I found that other sweet things work much faster than honey, like simple syrup or powdered sugar... less expensive, too.

 

Instead of using an animal tongue, I used a regular frying pepper that I had on hand. It looked like a tongue, so I used it. I saved myself a long trip to the butcher and got my result regardless. 

 

It makes sense to buy second-hand books, but I steer clear if I can get an unused issue instead. Call me overly suspect when it comes to pre-owned Witchy type materials. Plus, the money I save by being practical in other areas more than covers the difference in price. I'm the free-shipping Queen, too. 

Edited by Nikki
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I love dollar stores.  You can find all kinds of useful things for cheap. I also love thrift stores, yard sales and garage sales. Most people don't know what they own. 

 

I normally have to make due with what I have though.

 

For my herbs:  I have strung up twine all around my kitchen ceilings to dry plants in my tiny apartment.  I used paper clips to hang them.  When I didn't have the space or the right humidity for that in the next place I used a laundry rack in the garage. The ones that couldn't dry that way I put on cooling racks lined with paper towels.  Its all about adaptability. 

 

For my tools:  When I was first starting out I didn't have the money for a cauldron. I used a glass sundae dish until I found a little cast iron pot at a thrift store.  I paid only a couple bucks for it. I shop around alot at thrift stores and pick up what I need low cost. These places are packed with candle holders, candles, kitchen utensils ect..

 

For my crafting:  I have found that tinfoil is great mirrored surface for return to sender spells.  It is also tiny, concealable and portable. Alot of what I do can fit in my palm because I like it concealable. Hair ties and bread ties are great closures for packet type spells or an on the fly poppet. Scrap paper and trash (mc donald's bag, random receipts, junkmail envelopes) make awesome packet material too. I personally favor the junkmail credit application envelopes. Pens are wonderful.  They can write or they can be an awl.  I usually go through what ever is around and grab random things that will work.  Sometimes its the trash or oddball things in my car, sometimes its the odds and ends in my jewelry box or purse, and sometimes I have only what is on my person. Hair ties and shoe laces will work in knot magic. Jewelry can be spelled, or respelled to a purpose. Stray threads can tie close a spell bag or poppet made from a bit of clothing or paper.  Each situation is different and gives its own inspiration of what can and needs to be used. 

 

Also much can be done with just the mind alone, so I don't always find a need to make a physical item. 

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I love dollar stores.  You can find all kinds of useful things for cheap. I also love thrift stores, yard sales and garage sales. Most people don't know what they own. 

 

I love these things, too.  At the risk of being ostracized, money really isn't an issue for me, but I love a bargain.  For me, it is about capitalizing on the inherent value or hidden purpose in the objects or ingredients that I encounter.  I look at items, such as jars and aluminum foil (to use previous examples), and think how much more "life" they have left  in them and how much more they have to give.  If I have to pay, that is just fine . . . but, if I can satisfy my urge via cheap or free?  Awesome!

 

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When I was first starting out, I didn't have any money for this sort of thing either-didn't have money for books either-nada, nothing. I used what I had-that's it.

 

If you can afford access to the internet, you are doing good for information research. There are really great "free" sites, like sacredtexts.com , for example-not to mention the zillions of witchcraft blogs out there on the 'net, for accessing different opinions and thoughts on various things, free astrology info (can even do your own simple birthchart free)- like on cafeastrology.com, following the moon phases-planet phases...like on moontracks.com (if that is important to you), getting info on herbs and such..example.. botanical.com..this forum too!...there is so much amazing free info out there, that if its not the right time to buy books for expanding knowledge...not a problem at all. All you need is a search engine & some free time to devote.

 

for practical craft supplies? If I had to bare it down to just a few mundane items for under, say around, $20?...I'd go with tea lights, olive oil, kosher salt/pepper, string/twine, a lighter or matches, sugar/honey, flour, a knife of some sort, paper/pen or pencil ......and a heat source (like a stove/oven), if you have it.

 

other than that...everything would come from outside-flowers/herbs, dirt, water, sunshine/moonlight, snow, ice, wands made from tree branches, acorns, rocks/pebbles. One of my favorite ingredients from last year, was a bunch of wild mullein I harvested at the end of the summer. Powerful, wonderful...and free for the taking! Although I grow my own herbs now, there is something special about wild plants, I think, for magical purposes. But, a spice in a cupboard would do in a pinch too (cinnamon & red pepper flakes for example)

 

I second (or third) the thrift stores/dollar stores/antique markets/yard sales. Those places are awesome-you never know what you'll find..and always on the cheap!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Giving this a bit of a shameless bump because I'm doing a workshop in June (Pagan Pride - Nottingham UK if you fancy a day out) on this very subject and I'm frantically gathering together some thoughts and info for the structure. So any more tips on how you all save money, cut corners and improvise to pursue your craft path would be very welcomed. (I won't claim your ideas as my own, I'll clarify that a lot of the points I'm discussing will have come from other witches in various communities).

 

Anything!!

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Deguwitchrose, I know the Urban Witches usually appreciate this space saver: you can take one of those hanging over the door shoe organizers (canvas style) and grow herbs in each pocket. I did this when I had a small apartment and it was very useful and not expensive. Then the anal type A in me could put the herbs in alphabetical order in my canvas. The mark-up on good organic herbs at grocery stores is ridiculous. 

 

Have a great time teaching your seminar! Wish I could go! 

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A piece of paper, writing utencil and a cheap candle can often be all that you need imo. When in doubt, raid your house for suitable items! Improvise. Bodily fluids, dirt, magnets,herbs/spices paper clips,string, birthday candles, tea lights, water, salt, photos, etc can usually be found in most homes :)

 

If not, step outside, see what calls to you. A particular herb, plant, stone, stick, soil, glass, coins etc can be awaiting a new home =)

 

Dollar stores also sell so many useful items! Bottles, tins, candles, oils, clips, strings, mirrors, glue, magnets, construction paper, feathers, brooms, stones, sands, etc.

 

If worst comes to worst, and you are in a bind....use your mind! :biggrin2:

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I've found that charity shops provide good resources for packaging. For example, I found the most useful storage box (made in 1930s) and it holds some of my tools and powerful herbs too. Also, I have a tendency to wash out and keep old jars from food that I buy.  

 

I'm trying to get to creating my own fragrance for oil burners but not much luck yet! Will keep you posted for that one! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've worked with a spirit for years who sometimes gives me spells to work. And boy does he ever love rocks. I think every spell we have worked together involved rocks from a sacred place.

 

So now when I'm in my yard I pitch all the interesting good sized rocks under my deck for future workings as he has declared my deck a sacred place.

 

I can't imagine he would ever send me to the store to buy something. :)

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Just thought I'd add, after graduating I am on a ridiculously tight budget so I've found myself sneaking into certain land and 'borrowing' what I can.

 

Also, for basic herbs... Don't judge me but I used Tesco products. I found it didn't effect my outcome too much but there is definitely a different energy to it than previous ingredients used from a more 'natural' source. 

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Investing in a good field guide of plants and trees is well worth the money. Even in the middle of a city like London for instance there are plenty of plant resources you can access for free. Of course always be respectful and don't harvest too much. That way the resource will still be there for next time.

 

I like to keep a good collection of seeds so I can always grow more of plants I need.

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  • 2 months later...

Ok, last bump on my thread. My talk is next month (it was August, not June, my mistake!). Loads of ideas here which I have incorporated into the first draft of my talk. But if anybody does have other specific examples of substitutions they have made where tools/ingredients etc. were out of price range then I'd be grateful for any more contributions.

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It's not exactly what you're looking for, but maybe you could include a section on what substitutions you shouldn't make, how to know when a sub. will or won't work, when it stops being a thrifty change and turns in to watered-down fluff, and which ideas on substitution are just plain bizarre. Some people really appreciate examples of what not to do.

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