Financial Advice

Where Do Hobbies Fit Into Personal Finance?

No matter how frugal you are, everyone needs a treat once in a while. For some people that means a splurge at the mall, for others it means a trip to the cinema, and for still others it means a trip to the Bahamas. In other cases one might be inclined to put the majority of their leftover disposable income towards a certain hobby. Regardless of whether that hobby is scrapbooking, hiking, or whatever else you fancy, often times those passions can get pricey.

Hobbies are important parts of our lives as they not only brings us joy but also serve as another aspect to our personalities. Whether you take pride in knowing about different types of wine, enjoy discovering new bands and seeing them in concert, or love learning new skills and parlor tricks, what you’re into says something about you and makes you unique. That’s why, when cutting those loves out of your life isn’t an option, there are a few other ways to make them work into your budget.

Monetize your hobby

One of the best ways to subsidize your hobby expenses is to earn a little money from it. There are several ways to do this, ranging from blogging about your experiences to selling items you’ve either collected or made. Just be warned that often times these side hustles can become hobbies themselves and, if you’re not careful, could eat up more cash than they bring in.

Seeing as you’re reading a blog right now, you’re most likely familiar with the format. Thanks to cheap web hosting and easy to use platforms such as WordPress, just about anyone can start a blog of their own to share their opinions, stories, and whatever else they please. However, unless your page gets super popular, this won’t really make you any money. That’s where affiliate links come in.

When it comes to making money from affiliate links, your creativity and knowledge of your audience will be key. While many sites might run generic Amazon or Google ads, you’ll be more successful if you can honestly recommend a service or site and link to them. Your readers will know the difference between helpful advice and a cash grab so be sure to write from your heart and link thoughtfully.

Another option is to sell items in order to help fund your hobby. This doesn’t mean you need to launch a full-on business — you could just use existing platforms to pocket a little extra cash. Perhaps you could pick up an extra concert t-shirt to sell on eBay (but don’t buy dozens just to sell — those people are the worst) or maybe you could put your newfound knitting skills to work by opening an Etsy store. There is always the chance that you’re side hustle catches on and becomes a real source of income for you, but don’t be disheartened if that doesn’t happen. Instead be thankful for whatever little money you do make from it as it was cash you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Look for opportunities to combine hobbies with a friend or spouse

As I’ve surely mentioned in my previous articles, I’m a huge fan of Disney (I even wrote a book about some of Disney trips around the world). Because of this it seems that most of my vacations involve the company in some way, including my recent trips to Hong Kong and Shanghai to cross those two parks off of my list. Similarly my wife has taken a shine to the runDisney events the company hosts at some of their resorts.

Since our time off is precious and Disney isn’t exactly the cheapest destination, we have to pack a lot into our trips. That’s why our visits to Disneyland happen to coincide with the annual runDisney event themed to Marvel (a company whose place in both of our hearts continues to grow). By combining our passion in this way we’re able to avoid breaking the bank but still get to enjoy a memorable and fun vacation together that has something for both of us. 

This same theory can be applied to plenty of other hobbies and interests as well. Maybe you love baseball and your spouse loves history; sounds like a trip to Boston is in your future. One of you is a foodie and the other an artist? Bonjour, Paris! Like long flights and crazy vending machines? Welcome to Tokyo. 

Of course this method doesn’t always have to involve travel either. It could just mean that you look for opportunities for both of you to do something you enjoy and so that you’re not spending extra money to do things separately. Get creative!

Make it a treat

One sad truth of life is that the things you’re interested in now might not be what interests you down the road. Sometimes this has to do with maturity and aging, but sometimes it just comes from burn out. If you do one thing too much you’re more likely to get sick of that.

For that reason it’s a good idea to make your hobby a treat. Have your eye on a big purchase for your collection or a tool that would help you out? Save it for when you get a holiday bonus or perhaps ask your spouse for it as a birthday present. This will not only save you money but also make it that much more exciting when you finally obtain what you’ve had your eye on. 

In conclusion

Everyone has a hobby. While some may be more expensive than others, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t worth doing if they’re something you’re passionate about. By thinking outside the box and trying to monetize your experiences, being economical about practicing your hobbies with friends or with a spouse, and ensuring that you’re keeping your interest special with its infrequency, you’ll have a much easier time fitting your hobby into your finances.

This article by Kyle Burbank first appeared on Dyer News and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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