Pick your hobbies strategically and save

For the most part, we think of hobbies as activities that we naturally gravitate toward. The idea of being strategic in our selection of hobbies may seem contradictory to their very nature! However, I think that being strategic in the selection and pursuit of hobbies isn't mutually exclusive with enjoying yourself. What's more, you have options in how to strategize.

The Hobby-as-Side-Gig Option

One obvious method of making your hobbies work for you is by getting others to pay you to do them! Maybe you enjoy making quilts but hate the outlay of money and Stuff. Plus, how many quilts do you (and the friends and family you make gifts for) really need? By selling what you make on sites like Ebay or Etsy, you can keep your house uncluttered and come out ahead financially.

This method may work best for hobbies that produce an end result that takes up space, especially if the process of making the item appeals to you as much or more than the item itself. You can always take a picture of the item you made before selling it. That way, you can look back and admire your handiwork without having to store and dust it.

Another twist on the hobby-as-side-gig option is providing a service instead of a product. Perhaps you enjoy something like writing, event planning, or tinkering with cars or electronics. Many people hate those tasks (or don't have time for them). Offering up your services for a fee can lead to a tidy profit for something you enjoy.

There are a couple of caveats with service hobbies, however. Many times, you will have to work around another person's schedule rather than your own. Having a deadline can take a lot of the enjoyment out of an activity. Additionally, charging for some services requires obtaining a professional license. That process can be more expensive or time-consuming than it's worth, especially for an activity that's intended for your spare time.

The Hobby-as-Something-You-Have-to-Do-Anyway Option

A number of studies have poked holes in Malcolm Gladwell's claim in Outliers that 10,000 hours of practice will “automatically” make you an expert in any domain. Some skills take longer to learn than others, and innate ability may make some skills easier to learn for some individuals. However, two conclusions seem to be generally supported by the literature:

  • First, the more you do something, the better you are likely to get at it.
  • Second, the better you are at something, the more likely you are to enjoy it.

So use that to your advantage. Come up with a skill-based task that you have to do no matter what and make a conscious effort to improve in that area.

As I've mentioned on several occasions, one of my hobbies is cooking. I came to that hobby after becoming vegetarian (a transition I made for a couple of reasons, mainly health-related). However, I quickly discovered that if you want delicious food as a vegetarian, you pretty much have to make it yourself.

Tip: In fact, if you are looking for strategies to cut back on restaurant spending, try going veggie! The dearth of options will do a lot to kill your desire to grab a quick bite.

From there the line of thinking went, W ell, if I have to eat, and cooking myself is the best option, I might as well be really good at it. I started simple. As I've gotten better I've used techniques like the Pinterest strategy to branch out and expand my comfort zone. At this point I've won my office's holiday appetizer competition two years in a row!

Maybe you've got a flair for fashion, so you develop your thrift-store skills. You've got to wear clothes, after all, at least in public! These hobbies may not earn you any money. However, they might enable you to increase your enjoyment of activities you used to think of as a chore. Plus, you might find time- and cost-saving strategies that will make your life even easier.

The Free-or-Super-Cheap Hobby

These are hobbies where you either don't have to spend any money or can make a dollar stretch a long way. My library card, for example, lets me check out books for free. While I sometimes have to wait for a new release, the selection's good enough that I can always find something off of my to-read list. If fiction's not your bag, you can even check out personal finance books from your public library!

My love of fiction also goes beyond books. A well-crafted TV show is a source of endless joy for me. I don't like movies because two hours later you're right back where you started. Most of my favorite TV shows, however, have 100 episodes or more. At one or two episodes a night, that's something I can sink my teeth into! The selection of movies on Netflix streaming leaves, shall we say, something to be desired. But for $8 per month, I have access to more TV shows than I'll ever be able to watch.

Some “free” hobbies can be deceptive. I recently started jogging with a friend from work because the community trails are free and easy to access. Once we started going longer distances, I discovered my shoes are woefully inadequate. And I'm not willing to just go with the cheapest replacement option when doing so could lead to discomfort or injury. But at least I waited until I determined that I enjoyed jogging before spending money on shoes! Here's a list of other tips for saving money on hobbies.

You Don't Have to Cut Every Expensive Hobby

This isn't to say that every single hobby has to make you money or be low-cost or free. I really enjoy hot yoga, which is fairly expensive. However, by saving some dough on the majority of my hobbies, I can budget in something that is on the pricier side.

Even then I am strategic. I can't afford the unlimited monthly pass (and I don't fool myself that I will go that often anyway). So I buy the 25-pack that expires in a year. That way I can feed my yoga addiction once every couple of weeks without breaking the bank.

Do you strategically choose your hobbies? Share your experiences on cutting costs or even making money below!

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SAHMama
SAHMama
6 years ago

I crochet, do some sewing and jewelry making. I have a few strategies for my hobbies: Sign up for email coupons from craft stores. About once a week I get an email for 40% or 50% off one item. Get gift cards at the grocery store for the craft store. I get fuel points from the gift card purchase. Then use the gift card to pay for my purchase (for which I used a coupon). At one local yarn store, there is a donation basket of yarn. You can take some with the promise you’ll use it to make hats,… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  SAHMama

This is really impressive, clearly quite a bit of thought goes into your hobby!

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
6 years ago

I run which is a fantastic hobby because it keeps me fit, happy, healthy, and costs next to nothing. I guess my only other major hobby would be blogging 😉

Money Saving
Money Saving
6 years ago

Exercise in general is an awesome hobby that can be done on the cheap if you don’t go crazy with all the unnecessary accessories!

Matt YLBody
Matt YLBody
6 years ago
Reply to  Money Saving

Oh but exercise is such a fun hobby. Minus the gym expense it’s not that bad.

Surfing is my pick.

Followed by blogging.

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
6 years ago
Reply to  Money Saving

Good point. Some people go nuts on the athletic apparel and accessories. I remember thinking, “How am I going to be able to afford all this gear” when I signed up for the marathon. Then I realized I didn’t really need any of it. Ran the marathon without music, water belts, or anything- just some good old fashioned sneaks 🙂

Beth
Beth
6 years ago

I’m guessing Honey doesn’t quilt? 🙂 Most quilters I know will make gifts or donate items for charity auctions before they’d sell them. The reason being that they value their time. Many people who sell quilts online ignore their labour and use cheap materials. Sadly, part of the reason it’s hard to sell handmade goods for what they’re actually worth is that the market is flooded with people who ignore the cost of their time. I love the idea of making a hobby out of something you have to do anyway. I think I’d enjoy cooking meals more if I… Read more »

Amy
Amy
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

“Sadly, part of the reason it’s hard to sell handmade goods for what they’re actually worth is that the market is flooded with people who ignore the cost of their time. ” This. A million times over. YES a ‘handmade’ quilt (or really any sort of art) is going to be expensive based on the fact that you are paying the artist for his/her talent and time. And when you can get a mass produced item for far less money…well, I’ll let you guess what the majority of people end up purchasing. I’m guilty of it to! And I am… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Agreed! I find there’s a sometimes a double standard on PF blogs. It’s okay to spend on vacations because they’re an experience, family time, making memories, etc. We don’t expect vacations to pay for themselves or earn us money. IMHO, hobbies are experiences too. I have many fond memories of a loved one teaching me a new skill or working on a project with a friend or family member. I do think we can budget and spend wisely regardless. Still, some hobbies like quilting and knitting that seem pricy are pretty good value when you break them down to an… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Amy

@Amy, I’m not saying that all your hobbies have to be inexpensive or make money — at the end of the article I stated by choosing to make some of my hobbies fall into this category, I could make room for things like hot yoga. And certainly cooking (which falls into the “gotta do it anyway” category) is a hobby that has meant my food and equipment costs are sometimes more than they are for people who don’t cook as a hobby. That’s where the strategy comes in. This article was actually inspired by a friend who doesn’t understand why… Read more »

Slinky
Slinky
6 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Hobbies are only as expensive as you let them be. She could keep doing all of these things, but in a more responsible fashion by limiting the frequency. Quite like how you only do hot yoga every couple of weeks. You didn’t give it up, you just do it less. She should figure out a hobby budget that still lets her make progress on her debt and then work out how often she can indulge her hobbies. This from someone who knits and sews and weaves and plays harp and piano and reads and plays video/computer games. Also DIY house… Read more »

OneEC
OneEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Amy

This, this, a thousand times this.

GC
GC
6 years ago
Reply to  Amy

I totally agree with the last paragraph. Even though I’m a fairly frugal person, I love scuba diving. I don’t live anywhere near the ocean and it’s a money pit. It’s a fairly expensive hobby with travel, gear, and guides, but I love the underwater world. Moving to a place near the ocean(San Diego or Miami come to mind) may or may not be cheaper in the long run. For now, I’m just going to stick with travelling, and keep an eye out for places with good diving, culture, and jobs.

Carol in Mpls
Carol in Mpls
6 years ago
Reply to  Amy

I love to do needlepoint, the more challenging the better. If a canvas costs $200 because it is hand-painted, then my pleasure comes from the creativity — choosing threads, colors, textures, stitches — everything that brings the project to life, my way. This expression of my artistic interests is what feeds me. It usually takes a long time to complete a canvas, so I can enjoy the process in a more leisurely fashion. I love seeing how things unfold organically over time. I even did a piece for a friend. She selected the canvas, so it was her style, my… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

When I was in middle school/high school, I used to crochet quite a bit, and once I did make a quilt. My main experience of quilts is a certain relative who has given us far more quilts than we need 😉 I’ve never really spent any time on Etsy though my general impression is that handmade items are generally pretty pricy! And I still have a vivid memory of going to quilting stores/museums in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the prices on those quilts were like WHOA. So I just assumed that most quilts go for that much, though you make… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

I think there is definitely a high end market for quilts, but it’s like any high end product — there’s a limited clientele and you have to be very, very good at what you do. Most people aren’t interested in spending several hundred dollars to few thousand on a quilt. (I know people in the business so I’ve heard some funny stories about people’s expectations versus reality!)

Don’t get me wrong — I love quilting and think it’s a great hobby. It just isn’t going to be a money-maker for most hobbyists.

Another Beth
Another Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

“Most quilters I know will make gifts or donate items for charity auctions before they’d sell them.” Haha, I know a lot of knitters who would agree with you! A yarn studio I frequent will proudly display staff members’ and customers’ finished products. These are beautiful handmade sweaters, shawls and the like that probably took countless hours to create. The owner told me she is asked all the time by newbie shoppers “How much for that item?” She doesn’t sell the finished products because she would have to charge quite a pretty penny to reflect both the cost of the… Read more »

Tonya
Tonya
6 years ago
Reply to  Another Beth

Yup, as a knitter, I totally agree. It’s insulting to spend 100 hours making something and get $50 for it. I’d rather give things away than make a pathetic amount of money. The only time I’ve ever made money on knitting is when the Harry Potter movies had just come out and everyone wanted scarves for their kids’ Halloween costumes and there weren’t any officially licensed scarves for sale. Of course, I got in trouble with eBay for trademark violations for listing “Harry Potter scarves,” but at $15-30 for five hours worth of work, that was the closest I got… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

Lately I’ve been knitting socks — $15-$20 for a nice ball of yarn, and a basic pattern takes me 16-20 hours to knit up. Imagine what would happen if I paid myself minimum wage for my labour? ($10.25/hour in Ontario). Or even a quarter of that?

Emmy
Emmy
6 years ago
Reply to  Another Beth

Yup. My sister’s a great knitter, and in Portland we have no shortage of high quality yarn shops. She just knitted me a pair of (gorgeous) flip-top mittens for Christmas. My coworkers actually seemed a little angry when I told them she has no intention of setting up an etsy shop. Economics major that I am, I figure that since home knitters can only knit so fast, even if they get a sweet deal on yarn in bulk there’s no way they can compete with manufactured goods. I think people are willing to pay a bit more for handmade, but… Read more »

Brian @ Luke1428
Brian @ Luke1428
6 years ago

The only hobby I’ve strategically chosen is blogging. The others (cooking, running, collecting baseball cards and reading) all came about naturally as I was exposed to them and realized how fun they were.

ShackleMeNot
ShackleMeNot
6 years ago

“In fact, if you are looking for strategies to cut back on restaurant spending, try going veggie! The dearth of options will do a lot to kill your desire to grab a quick bite.”

Totally untrue. No veggie dearth exists. Plenty of restaurants offer vegetarian options. It’s easier now than ever before.

Honey, you always seem to find a way to leave me shaking my head by the time I finish reading one of your posts.

Vanessa
Vanessa
6 years ago
Reply to  ShackleMeNot

Perhaps in Honey’s area it is true, I know it is in mine. Not many options around here except for salad or steamed mixed vegetables and that’s pretty boring.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  ShackleMeNot

It is easier now than it was, say, 11 or 12 years ago when I became vegetarian. It is also a lot easier at ethnic restaurants (Greek/Mediterranean, Indian, Thai). However, at least where I live, I consider having 3 options a victory, and usually at least one of those is only nominally an option (that is, it’s vegetarian, but not something I like). Many times, the description of something on the menu leads you to think it’s vegetarian when it’s not. Or it’s cooked on the same top, or using the same utensils as the omni dishes. I try not… Read more »

ShackleMeNot
ShackleMeNot
6 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

I get what you’re trying to say, but I disagree with your point which was that going vegetarian is a good idea because you’ll have nowhere to eat unless you cook at home. You might do it better at home, but eating out isn’t an issue in most places in the US. I have been vegan for over 20 years and I live in a medium sized city with zero vegan restaurants and only one vegetarian one (Indian). I travel domestically and internationally for work. Going vegetarian is a good idea for many reasons. This isn’t one of them and… Read more »

Marsha
Marsha
6 years ago
Reply to  ShackleMeNot

I think it’s hard to eat out when you’ve got any major dietary restrictions. I’m on a low-carb diet for health reasons, so although I can eat a slab of meat, the low-carb side dishes are usually uninspired. Most restaurant choices are usually high-carb or high-fat or both. I’ve got friends with Celiac disease who can’t have gluten, and there’s only two or three restaurants they can trust to serve truly gluten-free meals. It’s better now than it was a decade ago, but the choices are still pretty limited.

Holly@ClubThrifty
6 years ago
Reply to  ShackleMeNot

I totally agree with Honey on this one. We don’t eat meat or dairy and it’s difficult to find a restaurant, let alone “fast food,” that offers something we can eat. It’s much easier to just eat at home than it is to eat yet another burrito from Qdoba. We are able to eat at a few local ethnic restaurants but do not choose to do so often because they are so expensive. With all of that being said, I would probably say that becoming vegetarian has been a wash for us. We eat out less but we spend more… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  ShackleMeNot

once you reach a certain level as a home cook, you mostly end up thinking, “I could do a better job of this at home” when you eat out.

In most restaurants where I live the food tastes like nothing but bitter disappointment.

So if I have to meet people at a restaurant I’ll order beer and an appetizer. Best way to minimize the unavoidable damage to my wallet and senses.

Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
6 years ago

I think you just have to think outside of the box when it comes to hobbies to that you can keep the costs down. For me, I started a t-shirt business a few years ago. It’s a tough segment to get into and the costs of inventory, etc. can be scary when just starting out. So, I found online stores that I can sell my shirts on. They will design the shirt for my and keep a portion of the sale price. I could earn more selling them myself, but this was a nice first step to see if my… Read more »

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

My main hobby is an expensive one. I love interior and home design (recently including yard scaping) and have probably spent almost $10k in the last several years on it (not counting necessary reno costs as the house needed a total gut when I bought it). But I probably saved nearly as much DIY’ing, refurbishing, and obtaining quality materials and furniture free, or nearly free–mostly from my favorite store in the world, Habitat for Humanity Re-store…which is like a Goodwill for residential and industrial fixings and furnishings; I’m lucky enough to live a reasonable distance from 2 of them, so… Read more »

Ellen Cannon
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Ordinarily, LMoot, I delete comments with links to outside stuff, but you’re such a regular commenter, you get a pass!

Holly@ClubThrifty
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Great pics! Your tile project seems to have gone much better than any of mine ever have =)

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Whoa, amazing. Good job!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Wow! Awesome!

It started as a bit of a dark cave, didn’t it? Great renovation.

Your final product reminds me of one of Peter Greenaway’s “26 bathrooms” (yes, it’s a movie). And you gotta check it out– probably found somewhere online as it’s a bit of an obscurity that i used to rent as a worn-out vhs, but if you like bathrooms, it’s well worth the search!

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Thanks El Nerdo! I’ll have to check that out. didn’t think anything could be compared to my bathroom (it’s a little erm eclectic), so I’m curious.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

It’s real bathrooms that real people use, and they are all somehow delicious as I recall (first time I watched I had a miserable hangover, and i found the video extremely soothing, ha ha ha). I hope you like it!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

PS (hope not too late) – FOUND IT!

https://vimeo.com/66720845

warning to the paranoid & phobic: there’s a bit of real human nudity in the video, as some of its subjects are filmed while bathing, etc. everyone else– enjoy. (30 minutes)

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Thank you Holly and Honey. And thank you Ellen, wasn’t sure what the rules were regarding links so thank you for allowing them!

kathyglo
kathyglo
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

You really did a beautiful job on the floor and bathroom reno, congratulations!

Sarah @ Little Bus on the Prairie
Sarah @ Little Bus on the Prairie
6 years ago

I absolutely share your love of books. One of our local library connects to all the other libraries in the county as well as other libraries public and private around the country. I have access to pretty much any title I can think of, and if it’s not available they are really good about purchasing requested items.
It’s the awesome.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
6 years ago

I bought a smaller boat. It’s a stretch to call that “savings” though, really.

Mel @ brokeGIRLrich
Mel @ brokeGIRLrich
6 years ago

I loved your running advice. I started swimming again a few years ago and pulled an old bathing suit and goggles out the recesses of my parents attic from high school. I made myself swim for 6 months before I even considered investing in new equipment – and it actually wound up being goggles first when the band snapped – but at least I knew I was likely to stick with it and make it worth the investment.

Carla
Carla
6 years ago

Most of the hobbies I love doesn’t fit my lifestyle at the moment. Our home is too small for me to sew or even do jigsaw puzzles. I am currently taking a painting class which is outside the home. Fortunately I love it and I’m quite good at it but unfortunately its not a cheap hobby, especially since I prefer oils. It is a win-win situation though since the class does satisfy my major requirement. The market is flooded with painters so I doubt it would be anything more than a hobby. I do love to cook, but I do… Read more »

slccom
slccom
6 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Get to know your local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s or other craft store. Our Hobby Lobby recently unloaded a hundred or more tubes of paint, oil and watercolor. They also did the same with a large number of canvases.

(Said the woman who looked longingly at them, and took a pass because, on a good day, she can draw a stick figure…)

Carla
Carla
6 years ago
Reply to  slccom

Thanks for the heads up @SLCCOM! We don’t have a Hobby Lobby in the PDX metro area but I recently discovered a local art supply store that has used supplies. Thanks for the reminder!

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  slccom

I can draw two things: people and horses. Sadly, they come out pretty similar, though 😉

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
6 years ago
Reply to  Carla

“Most of the hobbies I love doesn’t fit my lifestyle at the moment. Our home is too small for me to sew or even do jigsaw puzzles.”

I can relate. My brother and his wife got me a couple jigsaw puzzles as Christmas gifts, but my kitchen table is too small for them! They’ll have to wait until I have an actual dining room.

Laraba
Laraba
6 years ago

I have a friend who always wanted a horse and ended up taking on FIVE “horse like” creatures (horse, donkey, miniature horses, etc.), all for free…because the previous owners realized how expensive they were to maintain. I know how much she enjoys them but she’s also struggled financially, a LOT. I think it is wise to THINK through the hobby thing. I agree having an expensive hobby can be fine so long as you are deliberate about it, and analyze it carefully. Just doing something fun and exciting and feeling like you “deserve” it can be a road to financial… Read more »

butterbean13
butterbean13
6 years ago
Reply to  Laraba

Absolutely right! Someone I know also “collects” horse-like critters and has a serious problem trying to get someone to care for them if she were to travel. (Her AH husband refuses to help her because “it is her hobby, not mine”. But of course he is another problem….)

Marsha
Marsha
6 years ago

Sometimes you can participate in your favorite expensive hobby if you’re willing to do a little work. A friend of mine loves horses, but can’t afford her own, so she works a few hours each week at a stable. Yes, part of the time she’s mucking out stalls, but she gets to exercise the boarded horses too. Another friend can’t afford the monthly rates at the gym, so she babysits member’s children at the gym for a few hours a month in exchange for a free membership. A third friend loves golf and helps the groundskeeper with mowing in return… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Marsha

Good call! I tried to barter at my favorite yoga studio (offered to develop web and newsletter content in exchange for a membership). Though I wasn’t successful, I know it works sometimes!

Jarrod
Jarrod
6 years ago

Try investing in a hobby that will be productive for you even if it does not result in an actual business. If you like beer or wine, for instance, try homebrewing or winemaking. Learn to cook, or make things to use a lot of. The up front costs of learning to do it passably will eventually be returned in savings, plus you’ll have an interesting skill and extra satisfaction built in to your products.

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

Hmm, I guess my response didn’t go through because of links to photos. They weren’t to a specific site, but maybe there were too many?

Frugal Finn
Frugal Finn
6 years ago

I try to have hobbies that will benefit me in some way on my way to self sufficiency, right now I am practicing archery so that I would be able to hunt for my own meat and trying to implement other more traditional “homesteading” skills to save money.

Steven
Steven
6 years ago

Nice post, as many say I can relate. People will always say to me wow you travel a lot or seems like you are always going somewhere. I respond very similar every time. I don’t own a boat or jet ski. I don’t buy the newest gadgets when they come out. I don’t own a brand new car. I choose to travel, that’s my hobby.

CalLadyQED
CalLadyQED
6 years ago

In southern California, with chains like Veggie Grill, Chipotle, Zpizza, and Mother’s it’s easy to be lazy and get vegan meals from restaurants instead of cooking at home. Given you’re likely driving a little further and paying more, vegetarian diets can eat into your pocket book pretty fast.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  CalLadyQED

We make Chipotle-style burrito bowls at home all the time! Once you have had homemade salsa there is NO COMPARISON

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF
6 years ago

I don’t have too many hobbies – kind of lost them all in college because of all the work – but the ones I do have are naturally low-cost or I can participate in a low-cost manner. I enjoy cooking and learning about nutrition, working out (free gym at school), reading and writing (our blog is now in the black!), and tennis (outdoor school courts). I do think that once you turn a hobby into a side hustle it changes the nature of the hobby and to me it’s less enjoyable.

Frank W
Frank W
6 years ago

Most of my hobbies have a higher start-up cost (hunting, canoeing, fishing, gardening, blacksmithing, woodworking, raising small livestock) but more of a time investment in honing skills, licenses and maintenance down the road. I enjoy doing hobbies that I can buy once, cry once as far as finances are concerned. It’s also piece-of-mind to me that most of these hobbies are life-long and I can pass the knowledge on down to my children.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Frank W

Cooking is that way too, I own a LOT of tools for the kitchen. I use most of it so regularly, though, that it was worth it (though I didn’t start collecting this stuff until I had been cooking for a few years and so the hobby was cemented). There are some exceptions. I am still a little intimidated by my stand mixer. But I’ll get over it!

Kathleen
Kathleen
6 years ago

I decided to narrow down my pursuits a few years back, and instituted a personal policy of picking things I would do, could do and wanted to do every day (and keeping a checklist to make sure I did!). For example, I lived in a wooden sharehouse and often came home late, so I decided to give up learning the bagpipes. On the other hand, I could write at least 100 words and draw at least a smiley face every day. This helps with cost decisions (if I simply haven’t got the money for a hobby it won’t meet the… Read more »

Simple Money Concept
Simple Money Concept
6 years ago

My experience with picking a hobby always led to the expensive way.

My last hobby was a coral reef tank. I wanted to start out with a small tank, but experts told me that it was harder to keep a small tank, so I picked a 30-gallon tank. With everything else that were required to maintain the tank, that hobby ended up costing me close to $3,000!

Do pick your hobby strategically!

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago

I had a friend in college who got really into fishtanks. It started out with a 20 or 30 gallon freshwater tank, and within six months there were 5 fishtanks in the apartment, and yeah. Expensive!

He had it all. A guppy tank, a saltwater tank, a cichlid tank, a schooling tank. Sadly for him his apartment complex got bought by the university as dorm housing and he had to sell it all at a loss.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
6 years ago

My hobbies are pretty frugal: –Reading. I haz a library card! Our library also has a giveaway bin that has yielded some pretty fabulous stuff. (You just have to wade through a lot of pop fiction and Harlequin Romances to find it.) –Writing. It’s what I do for a living but I also have a personal blog, aka my playground for words. Minor expenses (domain et al.) are deductible for business reasons. (I also haz a LLC.) –Crossword puzzles. The local paper runs the NYT puzzle every day. Since we’d subscribe no matter what, the puzzles are free. –Cooking/baking. I’m… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal
6 years ago

My husband loves sports officiating. Thanks to the need, it pays well too. I’m a happy camper even if he does have to spend an extra 15-20 hours a week busy elsewhere. Blogging was my hobby and it led to our online business and self-employment. Obviously I am a huge believer in making hobbies work for you. 😀

Jan
Jan
6 years ago

My depression era parents always said to pick hobbies that make you tax free money! They enjoyed metal detecting and were dealers for Garrett Electronics in the early days of the company and they found thousands of dollars of free cash & treasures and traveled the entire midwest doing it. Mom was also a coin collecter and antique dealer/garage saler and made thousands. Dad fished, hunted & trapped so we ate deer all winter and trout & walleye all spring, summer & fall and he trapped fox, muskrat & raccoon and sold the hides to a local furrier. (sorry, but… Read more »

HKR
HKR
6 years ago
Reply to  Jan

I know of other people who make “tax-free” income too; they just don’t report all their tips, or have side-hustles they don’t report. Some even work full time for cash and draw unemployment simultaneously- now there’s a good way to pass one over on Uncle Sam! Seriously though, you’re supposed to report all income you make, whatever the source. Typically garage sales and hobbies net a loss (the former because you typically purchase items at retail and sell them for much less, and the latter because like the commenters above said you almost never make back what you invest in… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Jan

Yeah, like HKR, I think the activities you’re talking about are legal activities. Not paying taxes on the income derived from them, however, is not :-/

Dear Debt
Dear Debt
6 years ago

My hobbies are blogging, learning languages, singing and biking, all which do for free. I spend money occasionally on # 2, but I try to space it out. I think when you are in debt, you should focus on free things that make you happy and have a small hobby budget to stay sane.

Ely
Ely
6 years ago

Like Honey I’m a voracious reader, and my library card gets a lot of exercise. My local system is one of the best in the country, so I can get my hands on just about any book I want within a few weeks. We also get tons of TV shows and movies – my husband and I watch a lot of TV together, all of it free or very cheap. (We buy our favorites on DVD, but only used or on sale.) My other hobbies are writing and dragonboat racing. Writing is extremely cheap to do, but I’ve spent a… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Ely

My city has libraries for each ‘burb, and then a “metro” library that is just digital. Sadly, due to budget cuts my ‘burb withdrew from the greater metro digital library, which stinks because I prefer to get library books in kindle.

Fortunately, they do have enough to keep me occupied and are soliciting suggestions for building their own selection now that they’ve gone rogue. Also, I use my credit card rewards to get Amazon gift cards and wait for e-books to go on sale.

Ely
Ely
6 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

I haven’t even tried our library’s e-book system – though I hear it’s fantastic – because I still prefer dead trees. 🙂 I do enjoy my kindle for travel though – and yay for 99-cent e-book sales! 🙂

Alan
Alan
6 years ago

A few years ago in an effort to save on both parking and fuel I decided to ride my old bike to work. After some painful experiences courtesy of an old saddle I realised I needed some of that expensive cycling gear with padded shorts etc. I nearly died at the cost. Not to be deterred I spent a lot of time messing about on the net. Long story short, I managed to find one of the factories overseas that made the expensive shorts and would sell me small lots of shorts (10 at a time ish). I started an… Read more »

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