Thrifty Witch // Save Your Pennies, You Don't Need Fancy Sh*t To Do Magic

Hello, bebes. Nice to see you again.

Before I jump into my anti-capitalist rant, I would like to kindly direct your attention to my brand-new monthly Love Letter. I’m not entirely sure what this will look like, but I’m envisioning just a sweet little monthly love note for you, my most favorite person. It’ll for sure include a free Month Ahead group reading (which won’t be posted here or on Instagram), plus some resources and wise little gems that I’ve picked up and want to share with you. Expect book reviews, tarot spreads, rituals, spells, and witchy musings that I hope will help us all grow and learn together. Plus, you’ll be first to know about promos, sales, and live events. What do you say? Be my pen pal, maybe?


Jumping into the Witchy World for the first time is super freaking overwhelming. There’s so much to learn — more stuff than you even knew existed — and it all seems to come with a pretty hefty shopping list. Wanna cast your first spell? Well, you’re gonna need these 6 rare and elusive herbs you’ve never heard of, a cast iron or earthen cauldron, a gallon of Florida water (whatever that is), and 14 crystals.

Cool. Now you’re broke, when what you were trying to do was manifest a little cash.

Well, I’m here to tell you something. You. Don’t. Need it. Literally, you don’t need any of it. Really.

There are a few witchy truths that I wanna point out here. If you can accept these things, you can accept that your practice can be entiiiiiirely your own, with or without the use of expensive accoutrements.

  1. You don’t need a single thing to practice magic. Truly believing this fact is so important, especially for secular witches who don’t call upon the power of gods, goddesses, and Spirit to fuel their work. They’re just as powerful as those witches who do call upon divine help! You know why? Because we’re all divine. We’re all made of star stuff. And we’re all inherently magical. We don’t need to rely on anything to boost that. We just have to learn how to access our own beautiful power. (Here’s an excellent book to help you out with that.)

  2. There is no Witchy Board of Higher-Ups that have decided what the herbs, candle colors, fabrics, etc., all mean in your spellwork. There is no universally accepted, end-all-be-all guide to ingredients and their magical properties. You won’t bring the universe down on your head if you use basil instead of mugwort. (I can already hear the “~wElL, aCtUaLlY~” mail hitting my inbox, but I stand by this shit, you guys.) You can feel free to substitute herbs you don’t have with herbs you do — I promise, it doesn’t really matter. Because…

  3. When you do use “things” in your practice, your intention is the most important part. Here’s another controversial point that’s gonna get me in internet trouble — I don’t believe in crystals. I don’t think they have a “vibration” or that they can heal my physical and spiritual self. But you know what I do believe? That the decision to put a piece of lapis lazuli in my pocket before an important meeting will help me to communicate more effectively, because I’ve made a conscious decision to prioritize that, and I’m carrying around a physical reminder of that goal in my pocket. It has power because I allow it to. I have intention when I carry around my crystals, and those intentions effect my actual, real-life existence. I could carry around a piece of paper that says “COMMUNICATION,” or tie a piece of string around my finger, and the results would be the same. You know what I’m saying?

Ok! Now that we’ve established that you’re a badass bitch that needs no one and no thing, let’s talk about how we can save our witchy pennies when we do decide to spring for some tools. Because, look, it’s just fun to have these things on hand, and while spellwork is about intention and feeling, these tools can help us get into that headspace. But we don’t have to break the bank to do it.


AROUND THE HOUSE: We’ve already established that we can sub out ingredients we don’t have or can’t afford with things we do have around the house. So, where to look?

  • Open your pantry! Need fresh rosemary for your spell? Maybe there’s some dried Italian seasoning in the cupboard. Use that, boo. It’s all good.

  • Check the junk drawer. You’re likely to find lots of useful stuff there — matches, lighters, pens and paper, string, needle and thread, birthday candles, even.

  • If you’re intrigued by divination but can’t afford pricey tarot decks or crystal pendulums, try collecting a group of charms from around the house. Charm casting is a form of divination in which you grab a small handful of charms and toss them on to either an oracle board, a cloth, or just any surface at all. You can make your own oracle board, or just ascribe meaning to certain sections of your cloth (i.e., if a charm lands in the top left, it’ll mean my recent past. Bottom right is the near future, etc.) You can collect charms like old pieces of jewelry, marbles, dice — any small objects that you can ascribe meaning to. Create a little dictionary of the objects, and you’ll be able to gain some clarity about any situation at all. It’s free, and it’s fun. Win/win.

  • Your printer is actually an amazing resource. You can find free printable tarot and oracle decks, crystal grids, moon phase charts… Don’t underestimate the power of ink and paper in your magic!

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle! You’d be shocked how many glass jars, boxes, and bags we end up throwing away. Save those condiment bottles. Save the eye dropper bottle that your liquid vitamins or eye cream came in. Save the little pouch that came with your sunglasses. You can use all that shit. It’s good for your wallet and the environment.

  • Your yard or garden! Girl, you’ve probably got some honeysuckle growing out there somewhere. Plenty of sticks and wildflowers for altar decor or sigils. Grow your green thumb and you’ll never be without herbs again.

OUT IN THE WORLD: There are lots and lots of free and cheap places to source magical supplies.

  • Try hunting down a local trade or pay-what-you-can shop. There’s a shop like this in Nashville (although I can’t for the life of me think of it now…. will update) that allows you to pay what you can. It’s run by volunteers, and they’ll accept cash or a box of lightly-worn goodies as payment. You determine what everything’s worth. And there’s a TON of stuff in there — candles, jars, reems of half-used fabric, craft supplies… it’s a treasure trove.

  • Thrift and second-hand shops, for all the same kinda stuff.

  • The Dollar Store, my dudes! You’d be shocked how much witchy shit is hiding in there.

  • Pharmacies, especially in “ethnic” neighborhoods. I found 10 bottles of Florida Water and a plethora of seven-day candles at the CVS in our local latin neighborhood. They’ve got all the good shit.

  • Garage sales. Yo. Everyone loves a garage sale!

  • Craft stores. There’s a ton of usable stuff in there, usually for reasonable prices. Which brings us to…

DIY THAT SHIT: Don’t wanna break the bank on crystals, runes, and candle holders? Make ‘em yourself.

That was a ton of info. But hopefully I’ve got your gears turning and you’re thinking a little bit differently. You don’t have to bust your wallet, babe! You got this! And if you have more penny-saving ideas, let us know your thrifty witch tips in the comments.

Holley MaherComment