Whether you’re replenishing your emergency account, saving up for something important, or trying to pay down debt, you may wonder whether there is room in your budget to pursue your hobbies. Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. In fact, building a room in your budget for things you enjoy will ensure that you are able to stick to it. What counts as the frugal pursuit of your hobby is relative to your income, your budget, and the nature of the hobby itself, but these tips can help you be both financially responsible and personally fulfilled.
Look for Extra Cash
You may not have considered some of the ways you could spend less money than you could then put toward pastimes you enjoy. For example, if you are paying off student loans, you might want to look into whether they can be refinanced with a private lender. A lower interest rate could lead to savings on your monthly payment.
Try Before You Buy
If you’re considering getting into a new activity or interest but don’t know much about it, borrow or rent any equipment you need to begin with. For example, if you’ve decided you want to start backpacking, ask around to see if you can borrow a tent from a friend. If you decide you like the idea of backpacking rather than the reality of hiking ten miles and sleeping on the ground, you haven’t wasted any money. If you do end up enjoying whatever you try out, this is a good way to test out equipment and see what you do and don’t like about it
Shop Around for Used Items
You can often find never-used or lightly-used equipment that costs half the price or less of new items. Ask around with family and friends as well. The neighbor who loaned you that tent might be looking to just get rid of it, free of charge. From software to outdoor clothing and more, many items are deeply discounted when a season ends or a newer version rolls out. Members of forums or social media groups devoted to a hobby can offer a wealth of information about where to get items cheaply as well as what items you can skimp on versus which ones need to be top-quality. Finally, be sure that your family and friends know what you’re into and that you would appreciate gifts that support your hobby. Online wish lists make this easy to do.
This won’t work for every type of hobby, but you may be able to make some cash from more hobbies than you think with just a little time and effort. You probably won’t get rich, but you could save some money on your pursuits. For example, consider blogging about your activity. You could earn money on affiliate links and advertising, and if you become popular, some companies may even provide you with products for review. If you love to travel, you might be able to sell some of your photos to stock photo sites or even to magazines.