Budgeting for Dance
So even though I will be taking a couple months off from dance, I thought this was a timely topic because after my college loan payment comes out of my account later this week, I will have run out of the money I saved up back when I was still working. Which means I will be dependent on my husband for everything. I feel sort of useless, but child care costs so much that it makes more sense for me to stay home with the kid rather than us spending most of my salary to pay for child care. Plus, being in a new city, I wouldn't even know where to start with the child care search.
The bills are accounted for, but how to pay for my hobbies? Some of my passions aren't too costly. When I was involved with community theater, it was mostly free, just costing time and the occasional shoe, tights, or make-up purchase. As for scrapbooking, I have so many scrapbook supplies already that my main expense is just printing photos. Running is pretty cheap, except for new shoes every 500 miles or so. Most local races are reasonably priced, costing 25-50% of the cost of the average feis (and with the running race, your t-shirt cost is included in the entry fee!). I only do a "destination" race (Florida, DC, etc.) every 2 years or so. I suppose you could chalk that up to my travel hobby, though, which can be expensive, even though I have learned how to travel fairly cheaply. And I can choose when to travel....it's not like a dance fee that has to be paid every month.
Right now, since I am in a once-a-week adult class, my dance costs are pretty manageable. Even at my old school, I thought the fees were really reasonable, though dance-related costs can add up, after you figure in all the extras. So here are the top 6 ways I got creative with saving/making money for dance:
1. Keep non-dance related costs down- I drive a car with 211K miles on it, but I paid it off back in 2010, I take good care of it, and it gets more than 30 mpg on the highway. I don't typically buy many new clothes. Pre-pregnancy, my closet was filled with clothes slowly accumulated from about 2007 - 2015 (although I do have a dress that I bought in 1999 that fit me back in the spring). Shopping for maternity clothes was almost a treat because it had been a long time since I had bought that many new clothes! I gave up regular pedicures around the time that I started Irish dance, and we make our coffee at home. It has been a few years since I last went to a Starbucks. I like experiences more than things, and dance is one experience I don't want to miss out on!
2. Buy used- The last time I bought soft shoes, I got them out of the used shoe bin for less than half of what a new pair would cost. Normally it would weird me out to buy used shoes, but since they came from one of my classmates, I was okay with it. If I ever get a solo dress, I will definitely buy used.
3. Borrow and barter- I have always worn a school dress, and at my previous 2 schools, school dresses were rented. The "barter" part of this one comes in because I got a good deal on a dress from another adult dancer because we were friends, I had just moved, and she was about to move, so I gave her a bunch of boxes and Rubbermaid bins that we were done with.
4. Sell stuff on ebay- I'm not necessarily talking dance-themed stuff, although if you are creative and make stuff, that's awesome! One year when I was just working part-time, I started selling stuff I had hoarded since my childhood in order to make some extra cash. My wig, blister booties, and half of a workshop fee were paid for with the proceeds from vintage Care Bears, My Little Ponies, Rainbow Brites, and She-Ras.
5. Shop around- The bun wig I wanted was $30 at a feis. I went home empty-handed and got a suggestion from another adult dancer on dance.net about a cheaper bun wig. $10 plus less than $3 shipping later, I got a bun wig that still blended in with my classmates and got me a compliment at a feis. My blister booties actually came from a rollerblading website instead of from a dance vendor.
6. Get creative- This includes: taking a Megabus to a farther-away feis, asking for a dance jacket for a Christmas present, hot-gluing a piece of a hair barrette to a Wal-mart headband to make a custom one to match my dress, booking hotel rooms with Priceline or hotel reward programs, and using my old university marching band uniform bag for a dress bag (we had to buy monogrammed uniform bags freshman year...since I've always had a-line stretch velvet dresses or soft circle skirts, I haven't had a need for a triangle dress bag yet, so I might as well get more use out of something I already have). Dance means a lot to me so I will do everything I can to scrimp and save to ensure I don't have to give up this activity :)
While the adult Irish dance camp at CRC is out of the question again this year (last year I couldn't get the days off work, this year little one will be too small for me to leave for a week), I am still trying to figure out how to manage that cost...I better start ransacking my closet now for stuff to sell on ebay or at a yard sale! Anyone else have any ideas?