This post will mostly be a stream of consciousness. There are no plans to fix typos or grammar and just sort of rattle off some thoughts. All of us have things about ourselves that we don’t like. There are also things about ourselves we don’t care for but not enough to change. My dad always says about dieting and fitness that you have to get angry. If you’re not pissed off, laziness will take over. Find some way to get pissed off about your weight every day and the pounds will come off. Make this weight the enemy and challenge it every day to beat you and always win.

I think that beer changed my life in many ways this year. I’ve only been “into beer” for about a year meaning checking ratings online and seeking out certain beers to try. Beer has opened up a world of friends and really great people. There are people that have stayed at my house and who hosted me at theirs. People who I met online and then reviewed beers with at bars all over the world. There are guys that mail me beer, camp with me at festivals and help me brew beer giving me their spare parts and offering advice. It’s an awesome social environment especially since I’m new to New England and have been looking for a long time for a hobby that’s not based on technology or social media. I like leaving work and not worrying about it until the next day. The social activities around beer help with that tremendously.

Beer has also disrupted two goals of mine.

The first goal is to become skinny again. I was my fittest at 220 and I’ve been above 250 since 2008 and now sit around 275. I was skin and bones at 200 but, at 220, things were pretty balanced and I wanted to be there by this time having started my journey a year ago. I still visit the gym but beer in my diet adds about 500 calories per day. An average 12 ounce of beer that I drink is about 250 calories and I drink about 2 per day. That’s a half hour run that I have to do on top of my normal work outs every day to counteract that and I’m losing.

The second disruption is saving money. I’m terrible at telling people no. It’s not a skill that I’ve ever found to have so, when there’s a beer tasting, festival or event every week and when I get 2-5 people a week asking to do beer trades with me, what I get is a situation where I’m trying to please everyone and this equals a lot of extra spending. In the time I started getting more into this hobby to now, I could have probably paid off my car or finally gotten a Digital SLR or doubled my 401K contributions. 

I tell friends a lot that this hobby is not sustainable in its current form. Just today I realize that I need to spend about $1200 to get a few wine barrels, racks and a larger brewing kettle and mash tun so I can start doing 15 gallon batches of beer. $1200…and I have to tell myself no. There’s no need for this right now. It would be cool to do a belgian style lambic but for $1200, that’s insane. To spend every spare dollar I have on this is careless. It’s stupid and childish.

I’ve started telling guys no who ask me to trade with them which saves me about $250 a month in shipping and buying the beer to ship to people. In June, I purchased about $1,500 in beer and spend $500 on UPS just for beer trades while attending two beer festivals. The hobby has cut into my savings too many times and, the month of June without beer could have gotten me a Canon 7D SLR and a lens. That’s something I can have for a few years and truly enjoy without the weight gain. 

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So, I’m thinking a bit today about the future. I bought some beer supplies today..about $25 worth of crushed grains, yeast and hops to make a german sour beer. I plan on brewing that tomorrow. Total cost per bottle on that would be about 45 cents per 12 ounce bottle of delicious beer. That is something doable. I’m using raspberry extract to flavor it instead of fresh raspberries but that saves another $20 or a total cost of about 95 cents per bottle. There are things like that to save money but it’s more than just making my own beer and using only the parts I currently have. It’s a bigger picture.

I have about 250 750ML bottles in my beer closet. That’s about 520 12 ounce bottles of beer or about 2 beers per day for a year. I’m also brewing about 15 gallons of beer a month..sometimes more or less. This means I have enough beer. Will I stop trading? No. However, I won’t seek out trades anymore. I’ll trade with 6 people once per month that I regularly trade with and that’s that. I have to limit myself or I’ll go crazy. 

I’m curious how you do it. How do my readers manage their hobbies that they’re most passionate about with a budget? Budgets..well I have one but if you break it every month then it’s not a budget.

I’ve thought about trying the pissed off method but I actually love doing this beer thing because it’s a fun hobby and something I can do socially. I like that but, I’d love to get an SLR this year. I’d like to get a Canon 7D. I guess the rule here is not trading anymore and limiting the amount of beer I buy. No need to buy 5 new beers a week if I have so many at home already. Things like this are probably the most effective way to handle this.

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Now for the “it goes without saying” rule. I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t drink to get drunk. if beer didn’t make me tipsy, I’d still drink it because I enjoy reviewing it, taking photos, sharing it with friends and waiting in line for special beers. It’s a fun hobby. There’s nothing worse than wanting to drink more but knowing you can’t and not getting in that review of the opened bottle that all your friends are trying. Trust me, it’s not the alcohol that I’m talking about. I have a full liquor bar at home but haven’t touched it in a year. It’s not the alcohol..it’s the hobby.

So, I’d like to budget more for the rest of the year and I think that requires less beer in my life. It’s not as if I am without any beer to drink. Just have to drink what I have which is fine. Thoughts?