Even if your hobby isn’t flying your private jet or riding and grooming your pet horses, the most innocuous of interests can still end up costing a pretty penny. Just ask that guy who’s amassed so many board games that he and his wife have to sleep in the living room, or the triathlon nut who’s got 50 different race outfits and 5 bicycles, and you’ll get the idea.
Still, giving up your hobbies altogether can feel like selling out. Here are five ways to continue pursuing your interests without end up in the poorhouse.
Focus on doing rather than acquiring
Unless your hobby is collecting a particular item, most hobbies centre upon a certain activity or mastering a certain skill. If you shift your focus to doing rather than acquiring, you can find yourself saving a ton of money. For instance, if you’re into photography, you can get away with purchasing one camera and becoming a kickass photographer using that single piece of equipment.
Or you can go crazy buying big lenses and other equipment, and then end up broke. Focus on building your skills rather than adding to your stockpile of equipment and you’ll be able to enjoy your hobby even on a budget.
Come up with a budget for your hobby spending
If spending on your hobby has spiralled out of control, it might be time to create a new category in your monthly budget just for hobby spending rather than allowing it to get subsumed under a general “entertainment” category. This will enable you to monitor how much you’re spending on a particular hobby and catch yourself if things are getting too insane.
Allocate a monthly sum you’re comfortable with and then be careful not to exceed it. If you realise that you spend half your monthly salary each month on your cosplay obsession, it might be time to give those lolita outfits a rest for a few months.
Look to getting free or second hand stuff from other hobbyists
Buying hobby equipment on the second hand market is quite different from buying a vacuum cleaner on eBay. Hobbyists often sell or trade items in communities dedicated to their interests, and these communities are often a great resource not only for information but also for free or second hand stuff.
For instance, language learning enthusiasts often exchange materials online, which saves them from having to buy books brand new.
Sell your used hobby items
If you’ve been pursuing a particular interest for some time, you’ve probably amassed quite a collection of items or equipment, a lot of which you have outgrown or no longer use. Selling your used hobby items on the second hand market is a smart way to recoup your losses.
For instance, Singapore photographers often buy and sell used items on the Clubsnap forums, while thousands of motorcyclists buy and sell their bikes, helmets and other equipment on the Singapore Bikes Forums.
Join a community
While some hobbies are more solitary than others, joining a community of like-minded people can often make indulging in your interest cheaper thanks to pooling of resources and facilities. For instance, if you’re a tennis fan, you can either pay a coach to practise regularly with you, or you can just join a tennis group on Meetup so that you can share the costs of the court and practise with other tennis players.
What’s more, joining a community tends to help you get out there and actually start participating in your hobby, which then takes your attention away from simply buying hobby-related stuff to fill the void.
What are your hobbies and how much do you spend on them? Tell us in the comments!