When you begin a new hobby or sport, one of the hardest aspects of getting started is finding the budget to do so. Americans love their games and hobbies. In fact, according to Investopedia, 1.4% of Americans’ total income is spent on hobbies, toys, pets, and playground equipment.
Hobbies can be costly while on a tight budget, but there are several ways that you can afford your favorites without breaking the bank. Consider these tips:
A lot of people who are just getting started with a hobby tend to attempt skipping the “amateur” stage and jump straight to “semi-professional,” but skipping the initial steps for your hobby can cost you much more in the beginning. For example, spending a fortune on camera equipment before you really know how to use it can lead to expensive purchases that aren’t right for your photographic hobby interests and needs. Instead, sign up for a single introductory class to start, which is much cheaper and can often give you access to high-end tools which you can become familiar with before choosing to buy your own.
While a sales person might know a lot about a product associated with your hobby, it’s also their job to sell you something. It’s important that you learn to shop for yourself and find the best deals for your needs. For example, if you are pursuing a hobby in sport motorcycles or dirt bikes, you can easily price-check online and find options on the most affordable bike parts. Don’t settle for cheaply made options, and always compare prices between vendors to find the best deal.
Rent or Borrow
Not every hobbyist can afford to buy all the materials necessary to get started right at the beginning. Luckily, much of the equipment needed for high end hobbies can be rented or borrowed. Not everyone who scuba dives has their own scuba tank or boat. For those looking to eventually own everything necessary for their high-end interest, renting allows you to try out equipment and find what’s right for you before investing a large sum of money. If you only plan to casually pursue your pricey hobby, renting your equipment can save a lot of money in the long run. If you have friends or family who share your passion, consider borrowing some of what you need to get started until you are ready to invest. But be careful—nothing can hurt a relationship like a damaged or lost piece of beloved gear.
Beware of Item-driven Hobbies
Some hobbies seem to exist simply to force enthusiasts to purchase more and more stuff, rather than to promote an enjoyable experience. Collecting hobbies can often become huge cash-sinks that are never truly complete. Take for example, the popular collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering. While the game offers hours of entertainment and socialization with others, obtaining the full collection of cards can be very difficult and costly. MTG Price Guide reveals that some cards can reach values of tens of thousands of dollars!
Many collectible-based hobbies are driven by the need for more stuff, and when you are on a budget you simply can’t afford to buy everything necessary to complete your collection. So remember to educate yourself and do research before diving in to get the most value for your money for your ultimate enjoyment!