July 21, 2008

Saving money on hobbies

Some of our hobbies can be pretty expensive. Golf comes instantly to mind. About 26 million Americans spend $24 billion a year on equipment and golf course fees. The average golfer spends over $900 per year on their hobby. Snow skiing can also be expensive. There are 10 million skiers in the US who spend over $4 billion a year. Thats an average of $400 per year for skiing. A movie buff who buys just 1 movie on DVD a month could easily spend over $500 a year.

With us spending $400, $500 or $900 on single hobbies the expenses can add up. If your money is tight or you're trying to cut expenses to save more then cutting down on hobby expenses can have a real impact.

There are two main tactics I'd use to cut hobby expenses. 1) cut back or reduce costs on your expensive hobbies. 2) add or increase your enjoyment of less expensive hobbies.

There are always more frugal ways to do things. You can cut your hobby costs by finding ways to reduce the expenses for your hobbies. Ways to reduce costs on expensive hobbies:

  1. Do it less often: Instead of going for a round of golf every week go twice a month.
  2. Find suitable alternatives: Try cross country skiing instead of downhill to save on lift tickets, go to the driving range instead of playing 18 holes or use Netflix instead of buying DVDs.
  3. Cut equipment costs: Buy used equipment. Don't upgrade equipment as often.

Its fun to have a variety of hobbies. The more time we spend on cheap or free hobbies then the less time we're going to spend on our more expensive hobbies.

Here are some cheap hobbies:
  1. Reading: You can get books for free at the library.
  2. Playing cards: Most of us already have a deck of cards but if we dont' then you can probably buy one for a dollar. Or you can play online at Yahoo.
  3. Biking: Once you own a bike the rest is free. You can purchase a used bike to cut down on equipment costs.
  4. Hiking: Walking is free.
  5. Online video games: There are a lot of free games at Yahoo.
  6. Gaming: A board game like Monopoly costs around $14 and can provide endless hours of fun. Or see my previous post for cheap games under $10.

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