How to Enjoy Your Hobbies without Going Broke
Published: October 29, 2016 | Updated: December 12, 2019 | Posted by: Carlo Miguel Castañeda | Personal Finance
Many often think that because they want to live frugally, it’ll mean having to eliminate hobbies, or anything else that might mean spending a little extra cash on. You will spend some money on things that actually entertain you, and this is usually one of the first things that get cut in a budget.
It’s all well and good to want to devote money to savings or investing, or even paying off debt, but recklessly cutting yourself off from something that gives you joy can be harmful. If your ultimate worry is that you might end up spending too much, here’s how you can enjoy your hobbies without going broke.
Skill over gear
The idea most people form about hobbies is that you need to spend a lot to get anywhere. It’s true when you get into some of the deeper aspects of a hobby, but there are hobbies that require one to spend time learning, or require creativity and ingenuity over having the latest in gear.
Find something that interests you enough for you to want to take it on as a hobby now. For example, there are a lot of free apps that teach can teach you how to code, or you could learn a new language via Duolingo. These are examples of hobbies that require time over money or the latest gear.
Lower your costs
Look at the hobby you’ve got, then look at the way you spend money on it. Let’s take video games as an example: if the list of games you haven’t finished is above ten, it’s probably not a good idea to spend more on another set of games. It might be prudent to instead wait on later editions of a game, when problems in the first version are gone, and all extra content has been released.
Hobbies are only as cheap as you plan on letting them be.
Take your time
Picking up an interest in something doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be good at it. There’s a good chance that you’ve looked at Pinterest after picking up baking to attempt to copy the overall look of a recipe. It should be noted that while some of the people who post these photos are amateurs like you, odds are they’ve invested way more time than you already have.
Rushing to hone your baking skill means you spend way more on ingredients, run up your gas or electricity bill, all in an effort to make a “social media worthy” cookie photo. As Great British Bake-Off judge and expert baker Paul Hollywood once said: “You can’t rush perfection,” so take your time to learn, figure out how it all works.
Don’t invest money immediately
The thing about a hobby is that you can invest as little or as much as you want in it. Dabbling in hobbies allows you to see whether or not you can sustain an interest in it, and therefore justify spending on said hobby.
You can learn a lot about your chosen hobby from practicing with less pricey versions of the required tech, such as in photography. You can start with your janky old digital camera, and if the interest picks up, then you can think about more formal lessons and the kind of DSLR you’d like to pick up.
Stick to something you already like
One way to ensure you don’t spend as much on a hobby is to fuel one you already like doing. Sticking to these will mean better mastery of the skills needed, or variation on skills you already have as you complete projects.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t try new things, but that getting one part of a hobby down could potentially lead to a new one.
There are times when a hobby can spin out into a side-business, allowing you to add more income and further your mastery of it. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s fun when it does. It’s important to remember that you can practice a hobby on a more modest scale, especially if you want to save money.