It can be easy to feel guilty about spending money on your hobbies, especially when we are also trying to prioritize investing in your future. Although we don’t have many cost-saving tips if you’re into collecting classic cars or yachts, there are some simple ways to optimize the money you spend on things that bring you joy now while also being sure you don’t short-change your future.
Listen to this week’s episode of the rich & REGULAR podcast about Expensive Hobbies and read below to learn some tips on how to save money on the things that bring you joy.
You may think your photography interest or music festival passion can’t live alongside your responsible adult self that knows investing for the future needs to be one of your top priorities. But if you plan and make some thoughtful choices about your interests and where you plan to spend, you can find a balance between spending on your hobbies now and planning for your future.
Set aside money in your budget.
The easiest way to incorporate your hobby into your financial life is to set aside a small sum each month that you can spend guilt-free. Create a separate savings account or use an online bank to create an account just to replace your running shoes every few months or buy a new guitar pedal when the mood strikes. You get to indulge in your hobby but not break your budget.
Hunt around and find a savings account that offers the best interest rate. It’s getting harder to find banks that provide the high rates we saw in the early 2000s, but there are still a few around that can beat out the competition—especially online—which can help you maximize the money you set aside.
Use cashback rewards and programs.
Many credit cards now offer cashback rewards or points on the everyday money you spend, and there are apps and online programs that give you cash back on your everyday purchases. Planning to use that cash to supplement your budget helps stretch things further, especially if you set aside that earned money for your hobby.
Monetize your hobby.
Can you figure out a way to be paid for your hobby? If you enjoy doing something other people pay for, such as photography, rebuilding computers or even baking, you may be able to turn something you enjoy into a side hustle that pays you.
If you’re handy, consider refurbishing old(er) equipment and then resell it at a higher cost. Refurbished gear can be great for someone just starting and gives you extra income to help you upgrade to the latest tech model or to fund your video game habit.
Musicians can give lessons in your community or over Zoom and the like—especially to children or beginners.
Barter your services.
If your hobby is going to a gym or art studio, talk to the owners or managers about a discounted membership for helping them with general upkeep or other outside services such as cleaning or marketing. If you have the skills, you can help them build their website, repair equipment or even handle their social media accounts in exchange for a discounted or free membership.
Sell your old equipment.
If you ski, take photos or have another passion that involves lots of gear, you’ll probably soon have old or outdated equipment piling up. Listing your (or your kids) gently used skis, boots or snowboards, or the golf clubs that have been gathering dust, on an internet marketplace can be a great way to supplement your hobby while also making room for your new upgraded equipment.
If you’re really into music festivals, sporting events, or other live entertainment, see whether you can volunteer to help scan tickets or hand out water in exchange for free access to the event itself. You not only get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to pull together a big event but there’s also a pretty decent chance the other volunteers are just as excited about being there as you are. You get free access to the show, and you get to make connections with people who share your interest.
There is room in your life to both pursue your interests now and plan for your future. Make sure you aren’t going overboard with your hobbies to the detriment of your future self, but pursuing interests outside of work makes life interesting. It’s important to maintain that balance between who you are right now and planning ahead for your future.