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Money Monday: Take Up a New Hobby on a Budget

Feeling inspired to take up a new hobby, but dreading what it might cost you financially? Don’t let money keep you from thoroughly enjoying and excelling in your newfound pastime. Here are some tips for taking up a hobby on a budget.

Take Up a Hobby on a Budget | Image source: / Photographer: Eugenio Marongiu

Do Your Research

Before you dive, do your research. Utilize the Internet, and check out books and magazines from your local library (or snag some marked down copies at your nearest used bookstore) to read up on what the hobby requires – in terms of time, tools, and money – and take note of any tips provided on making it more affordable.

Rent, Borrow, + Find Free Trials

You might be able to rend or borrow what you need to take on your hobby for the first few weeks or months. If you decide, “Nope, this isn’t for me,” then it’ll be a lot less damage done to your wallet than if you had gone out and purchased every necessary piece from the get-go. Often times, you can rent tools, sports equipment, and even camera gear, or borrow what you’ll need for a test run from a friend or family member. Also look into free trials (on everything from gym memberships to software downloads) as an alternative. Test out your hobby and see if you fall in love rather than just assuming it will be your new favorite thing to do, and save money in the process.

Take Cheap Classes + Lessons

Some studios offer the first few classes or lessons for free or at a discounted rate to new members. Again, this is beneficial just in case you decide the hobby isn’t for you. And with some hobbies, just those first few courses are all you need to get the hang of it – so you can return home and improve upon it yourself, without spending loads of money each week on being instructed. Also, scour the Internet for websites that offer free video tutorials, articles, and discussion boards dedicated your particular interest.

Seek Wisdom from the Experts

Know of someone, or of a place, that specializes and has a deep knowledge of your dream hobby? Visit with experts and discuss the pastime you wish to pursue. If you know absolutely nothing about it, then don’t pretend you do – tell them you’re starting on a blank slate and they’re likely to be even more excited and willing to tell you everything they know and give you honest advice about not only how to excel at what they do, but how to enjoy doing it without breaking the bank. They’ll usually know of the best (and often "best kept secret") places to get affordable equipment or instruction, too.

Start Cheap

Don’t worry about having the fanciest tools during your first weeks, months, or even years. Most hobbies allow for cheaper equipment to get the job done. Work with what you can afford in the beginning, and as your hobby progresses, you’ll come to realize what’s worth spending the extra dough on and what’s not. You likely won’t always sacrifice quality for going with a more affordable option.

For even more advice on taking up a hobby on a budget, check out this Lifehacker article.

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