Hobbies are a great way to unwind, have fun, and learn something new. It’s no surprise that multiple studies show the mental health benefits of having a hobby. However, the cost of starting a new hobby or maintaining a favorite pastime can add up. Here are a few money-saving tips to help you afford your hobby.
Borrow, Swap and Rent
From sports equipment to power tools to art materials, there’s no need to purchase your hobby supplies brand new. See what you can borrow from a friend who’s interested in the same hobby, or find a swap group online. If there are no useful swap groups in your area, why not start one? Another great tip is to see what’s available to rent at the local library. Many libraries offer rentals on not just books, but also cooking equipment, camping gear, musical instruments, gardening tools and lots more.
If your hobby involves a group of people – think amateur sports league or neighborhood reading club – then fundraising together might be a fun way to help everyone be able to afford your hobby. In fact, raising funds might turn out to be a new aspect of the hobby that you can all enjoy together! Consider holding a ticketed event, running a silent auction, or organizing a race where friends and family can sponsor runners. A group garage sale is another great way to get some funds.
Make Money With Your Hobby
Instead of only thinking about how to afford your hobby, you might also consider how your hobby can make you money! If you enjoy doing arts or crafts, check in with local businesses and see if any are willing to sell what you make—many coffee shops and restaurants, for example, will hang local artists’ pictures on the wall for customers to buy. Performance-based hobbies can net you some cash through ticketed events, but even “introverted” hobbies like reading have opportunities to make money. How about offering a community learning course where you teach others what you know?
Don’t Commit Too Fast
Amidst the excitement of discovering a new hobby, you may be tempted to go all in and invest a ton of money in your new favorite pastime. Be careful: the last thing you want to do is spend hundreds of dollars on, say, running gear, and realize two weeks later that long-distance races are too hard on your knees. Instead, borrow equipment from a friend until you’re sure that the hobby in question is one you’ll stick with.
Budget for a Hobby Allowance
As always, making a budget is the best way to spend wisely and save money. If you haven’t made a budget in a while, do it now. You might think you know where your money is going, but mapping out incoming funds verses outgoing expenses will almost always reveal a few surprises—like realizing you’re spending $50 or $100 every month on streaming platforms. Seeing your money laid out in a budget will make it easier to understand what you can cut to free up funds for your hobby.