Saturday, February 28, 2009

Learn About Your Hobby Online

Saving Money Tip #79 - Learn About Your Hobby Online – Many of us have hobbies that we are passionate about – collecting teaspoons, fixing antique cars, baking bread, etc. And back in the day when I, and probably most of you, was growing up, we were lucky if we knew another person in real life who had the same passions. Today, with the advent of the computer, we are fortunate because on a daily basis we can “talk to” other people who have the same interests as we do. And the best part is, it often doesn’t cost us any money. Granted, finding a kindred soul in real life who likes the same things as we do is much better than “meeting” someone on the computer. But what are the chances of finding someone who also collect Russian nesting dolls in your small town? Pretty nil. And that’s when the World Wide Web becomes a very useful tool.

So if you have a topic that interests you, go to Google or a similar search site (I’ve actually been using Swagbucks to search lately so I can collect points to redeem for Amazon credit, but that’s a post for another day) and type in your hobby. Let’s say you are passionate about 1960’s Fisher Price toys. Do a search of “Fisher Price Toys collectors” and right away a site comes up for collectors of these vintage toys. You can view pictures of the toys, meet the owners who have them, and learn about the ins and outs of these vintage playthings.

There are literally thousands of collectors clubs or hobby groups online from quilting groups to train enthusiasts to clubs whose members are passionate about old highways. In fact, there is even an association for collecting clubs. Of course, the more obscure your hobby, the less likely you will be to find an online group, but you might find a forum whose interests are at least similar to your own. And even if you don’t, you can always start your own online group. By joining an online hobby or collectors' group you will find like-minded individuals who share the same passion as you. You can discuss methods of collecting or how to improve your skills in your hobby. You may be able to trade or buy things for your collection. And sometimes you can attend a real life meeting or at the very least you may find a member who lives near you!

In Real Life (IRL) – I am a pretty social person in real life. However, there are certain hobbies that I enjoy, but I have few friends who like the same things. Because I sell things on eBay, one activity I like to do is frequent yard sales. Almost every weekend in the spring and summer I can be found scouring the yard sales in my town. And while I have met a few people while I am out at sales and have a couple friends who enjoy yardsaling once in a while, I don’t know anyone personally who likes going every weekend. Fortunately a couple of years ago I found an online forum called where I have found other like-minded individuals. On an almost daily basis I can talk about my finds at yardsales and hear about others’ scores. We can discuss how to hunt down the best sales or which ones to avoid. We share tips about selling on eBay and even discuss topics unrelated to sales. It’s a fun hobby, it helps my small business of selling, and I enjoy “meeting” others like me who have similar interests.

My daughter and I have an American Girl doll collection and I also sell them pretty frequently online. While trying to learn more about the dolls, I found an American Girl Doll Collectors Site. By joining the group I am privy to important doll collecting information. I find out about coupon codes for buying the dolls and have learned how to spot a fake. While my passion is nowhere near the level of other members (did you know some dolls have their own blogs? Seriously!), I still like checking in there once in a while to see what is new in the world of American Girl Dolls.

One last in real life scenario. Recently, I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking and one of the foods I am determined to master is the homemade pizza. I have made a lot of them over the past year but frankly, all of the pizza recipes I have tried taste very Midwestern (no offense to you folks from the heartland, but there is no pizza like a New York pizza). Guess what I found a few days ago? An online pizzamaking group! With a whole section devoted to how to make a New York pizza. You wouldn't believe the passion for pizza by some of these members. I tried a recipe out last night on my family and it was a huge improvement over the other pies I had been making.

There is so much information out there on the Internet. And once you find a group who is passionate about a topic, you can learn a lot from them. People are very generous with sharing their knowledge online. So if you have a topic that interests you, check for a forum online. You may learn some new information, find some new friends, or improve your skill. Finding an online group can provide you with many benefits. Why not check one out?


nankie said... sounds like it could be interesting! (haha...I have been frequenting that one for years!)
But I am off to check out the pizza site. I was just thinking it would be more economical and healthier to make pizza at home.
The internet is also a huge resource for meeting others with similar medical issues. When my husband recently had surgery, I was able to "talk" to many individuals who had been through the same thing.

Michele said...

Yeah, I had to put in a plug for YSQ for all 2 of my readers. :-)

OMG, the pizza site is unreal. The people on that site are true pizza aficionados! I have another dough rising now. I want to try it with a different sauce. My family is getting sick of pizza!