Paganism and Witchcraft on a Budget

The last few years have been terrible for everyone’s wallet.  Food and gas prices are high, the job market is kind of strange, and more and more people are going into debt.  Yet everywhere I read, beginners in the Pagan, Wiccan, and witchcraft-related paths are told to buy, buy buy.  STOP NOW!  As a community we need to stop this insanity.  It is just not a feasible model anymore.  All you need to be a spiritual being is yourself PERIOD.

Now, I understand the ‘stuff’ is fun.  And for some practitioners certain things like incense are key to their devotional activities. So when it comes to the spiritual side, there are things you can do to get the tools you need without breaking your bank.

1. Decide What Is Important and Prioritize: Spending $400 for rose essential oil you’re only going to use for one recipe?  That is insanity!  This is up to you, but here is my personal guide:

  • Books: Unless it’s an almanac, buy used. If you hunt around Amazon, you can always find a great deal.  Or even better, check out your local library!
  • Herbs: Unless you’re a hard-core herbalist, keep the herbs to about seven to ten favorites.  Make sure you can cover all your spellcraft and ritual basics.  That said, it is okay to buy herbs from a reputable herbalist for good quality product.
  • Oils: These get very expensive. That said, the synthetic versions mess with some people’s allergies so are not good for everyone.  But the good news is essential oils keep for a long time.  Buy only what you need, like herbs keeping a few key ones around.
  • Gemstones: Again, they get a little pricy.  My best advice is to buy tumbled stones in as many varieties as you can budget, then save and buy large specimens of your favorites.
  • Statuary, Cauldrons, and Other Ritual and Altar Supplies: Okay let’s get real.  Unless you have a disposable income, you can use materials from around your home to use for ritual (exception: incense burner. All of the other solutions cost the same as a good quality holder).  Put these in the ‘save for’ category.
  • Divination Tools: I am not opposed to splurging on a deck and a set of runes.  But you don’t need more than that.
  • Jewelry: Again, save for a key piece but don’t buy a ton of stuff.

2. Borrow from the Goddess: Wildcrafting is a Goddess send.  I understand that this is not always possible for city dwellers, but not impossible. Pick up a stone on a meaningful walk.  Collect acorns for academic, new beginnings, or protection rituals and spells.  Every time you go to the beach, grab shells, driftwood, and sea glass.  Also if you have the means to grow herbs and flowers, consider using magical varieties to harvest for your practice.

3. Save for Luxuries or Big Items: I learned in school that 40% of your budget should go to housing, 25% for food, 15% for gas or a rail pass, 10% for other necessities (medications, clothes, etc.), and 10% put away for savings.  This model is not always feasible, especially for people just starting out.  But one thing I like about this practice is that you put a little away for a long-term goal and I use this concept to save for big items.  For example there was a tapestry I loved that I saw in several shops online and in my area that was a tad above my budget.  But I put a little away for two months and now it hangs above my altar.  It makes the piece much more special to me because I worked for it.

4. Don’t Feel Bullied Into Anything: Use a ton of candles?  Don’t feel like you have to always buy organic beeswax votives from a local farm that cost $16 for a case of 30 when you can buy a bag of 100 candles for less than $5 at the grocery store.  Using materials that are reasonable and well priced will never make you a bad Pagan.

© Ariadne Woods

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2 thoughts on “Paganism and Witchcraft on a Budget

  1. Thank you for this! I completely agree! When I first started I went a little crazy and wanted more. Now I keep very little. Most of my money these days is spent on candles and incense.

    There is a site http://www.hpb.com that links to stores that are mostly in the south at the moment. Half Price Books is a treasure trove of extremely cheap books of all genres and now you can shop them online!

  2. I’d add that herbs don’t have to be unique or hard to find. There are always replacements for the difficult ones, sometimes for example allowing pepper or basil (common kitchen herbs) to take their places. A little extra research can save you big money!

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