Is your hobby too expensive? It might be killing your budget.
This is the seventh in a series of articles by CommunityAmerica Credit Union. The series will tackle personal debt by planting the seeds of savings and making smart downsizing choices. For some, this may be a way to get started on a positive foot. For others, it’s a chance to start over after years of overspending. Regardless of your reason, we’ll help you navigate how to downsize realistically.
Having a hobby that costs money is, simply put, a hard-earned privilege. However, depriving yourself of all pleasures is a recipe for failure. A hobby can provide a break or creative outlet in an otherwise hectic schedule. But if it’s breaking your budget on a regular basis, something has to give. Here are a few thought-starters for scaling back, but not eliminating, your favorite activities.
Other great reads for downsizing your life:
Explore the Affordable
Put some real effort toward researching affordable activities available to you. You might be surprised by the boredom-busters you unearth. If you love cooking and the outdoors, planting and maintaining a seasonal garden is very affordable. You’ll also save money on produce to boot!
If you need a fashion or interior design fix, explore sewing. This might dredge up terrible visions of old-fashioned florals and ill-fitting frocks. But never fear-hand-made items and trendy fabrics are all the rage on Etsy and other sites. Just start small while you learn the tricks of the trade. Curtains, tunics, pillows and more are super cheap to design and create.
If you commit to sticking with an activity long-term, an up-front investment can make sense. For example, once you purchase a bike, there’s no cost involved with hitting local trails.
See: The Frugal Mom’s Guide to Fun: My List of 50 Cheap Hobbies
Rein in Collecting
We may ruffle some feathers here, but collecting isn’t really a hobby. Even if under the guise of antiquing, collecting is shopping by another name. Make no mistake. There are some painting, shoe, vintage toy and sports memorabilia collections that are absolutely swoon-worthy.
This is especially true when they tell a story of their owner’s travels or experiences. Unfortunately, collecting can quickly turn into overspending when you’re always driven to snag the newest edition. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a blown budget or stacked credit card attributed to collecting.
If you can’t live without that next baseball card that posted on E-Bay, set a monthly hard stop on spending. This will allow you to hunt down your next find without taking a wrecking ball to your finances.
Look for Deals
We certainly aren’t in the business of crushing dreams, but rather helping people achieve their dreams comfortably. If you’re working on a debt payoff plan, you’ll have to sacrifice your hobby in the short term. Once you’re in a comfortable position, you may find that your passion picks you.
Golf, traveling, equestrianism, or any other notoriously expensive hobby can still be enjoyed with the help of solid deal-hunting. Consider joining a group that grants you exclusive access to your hobby, such as a local arts enthusiast club. This does NOT include a spendy country club membership for the sake of scoring golf passes.
If you love to get out of town, look into Airbnb or HomeAway for a non-traditional and potentially affordable getaway. Be sure to check your destination’s visitors association for local restaurant and entertainments deals while you’re in town.
Our mantra is, if it’s not in your budget, it’s usually not worth the credit card bill. Hobbies are no exception. Hopefully these tips will help you consider new hobbies or find reasonable ways to explore your passions.
Up next: Whether it’s an all-inclusive resort or trip to the zoo, how you perceive your experiences is connected to your level of personal enjoyment. We’ll explore how to plan experiences that will mean to the most to your family or loved ones, not the ones that will cost the most money.
The blog and its opinions are expressly that of its author and does not convey the opinions or strategies of the Credit Union and should not be considered financial advice.