Hobbies are an essential part of keeping a balanced life. They give us an outlet, allow us to stay sane in a sometimes not so sane world, and provide an opportunity to release stress. It sometimes seems that in order to save money we need to give up the things we enjoy (our hobbies). Though it may seem like a budget is designed to suck the fun out of your life, that is not necessarily the case. The opposite is true; in order to actually maintain a realistic budget it needs to include entertainment. Everyone has some sort of hobby that they enjoy, whether it is scrapbooking, golf, dining out, or playing tennis, chances are it definitely isn’t free.
For me, it’s scrapbooking. Not only do I enjoy the scrapbooks themselves, I sincerely enjoying sitting for hours and designing each individual page. I have made 11 scrapbooks, pretty much one for every year since I entered high school. And through the years I have learned how to keep the costs down. It is very easy to get carried away (just like with any hobby) with wanting the best equipment and accessories. But, just like with anything in life, in order to keep your hobbies and not bust your budget you need to be creative and find ways to pinch pennies. Here are a few tips…
Shop the used market or share/ rent equipment.
For instance, if you play golf, search craigslist for used clubs or share clubs with a friend. Whatever your hobby may be there are many hobby-specific stores that offer pools of equipment that can be shared, rented, or used on site. If you enjoy photography, look for a local photography group that shares cameras amongst themselves. I found a scrapbook store that allows people to come in and use their equipment for a small fee. If I were to buy all the equipment that I use while I am there I would absolutely be broke. Doing this doesn’t just allow me to enjoy my hobby without going broke, but I am also able to spend time with people who enjoy scrapbooking, and we can bounce ideas off each other and derive inspiration. It’s really a win-win situation.
Do your Research & Take your Time
Obviously, you want to try and borrow equipment or buy it used on craigslist or at yard sales. But if you do have to buy make sure you do your research. Ensure that the equipment you are buying is going to last, that it is what you actually need, and that it works the way it is supposed to. Read reviews, look for deals, and don’t jump in and buy too soon. Most importantly, make room in your budget to buy what you need. For instance, if you enjoy skiing and you are sick of renting skis; maybe this means you have to give up actually skiing for a while in order to save to buy the skis. Then in the long run when you start skiing again you will save money by not having to rent anymore.
Ask for gifts related to your hobby
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I never think of it at the time that someone is asking me what I want for Christmas or my birthday. When people want gift ideas from you don’t draw a blank, ask for hobby-related gifts or gift certificates.
By making room in your budget to enjoy your hobby, exploring all the options, and doing your research, you can enjoy your hobby and relieve stress without breaking the bank.