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10 Inexpensive Hobbies You Can Start This Year

10 Inexpensive Hobbies You Can Start This Year

Everyone should have a hobby, but sometimes the costs really outweigh the benefits of discovering one that’s best for you. Not anymore!

This post will show you that there are tons of great, inexpensive hobbies and activities you can pick up if you are looking for a change in your life. From hiking to scrapbooking, you can learn a totally new skill or enjoy the outdoors for less than than a few hundred dollars a year. Read on to find out more about them.

$100 or Less

1. Hiking – All you need is the great outdoors. Well, you need that and some quality clothes of course! When you go hiking, it’s important to get hiking boots that are fitted correctly so that you can avoid blisters and unnecessary foot pain. If you are hiking and camping on the same trip, that will get more expensive since you will likely have to purchase a tent and other supplies. However, if you just want to hike, you can spend less than $100.00 for a nice pair of hiking boots. Oh, and don’t forget to look on the ground for an excellent free hiking stick!

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2. Blogging – Blogging is an awesome hobby to have that might also transform into part-time income some day. All you need is a few dollars to buy your domain name and hosting. For less than $100, you can start off with a smaller site and only spend more for hosting as your site grows. Also, it’s completely free to market your blog on social media and make new friends at the same time.

3. Reading – Reading is such an easy (and often free!) hobby. Whether you love the newspaper or your e-reader, this is quite possibly the best hobby for improving your brain. Reading can actually be 100% free if you’re devoted to your local library.

$200 or Less

4. Tennis – Tennis is one of those sports that can either be very inexpensive or very costly depending on how much time you want to devote to it. If you just want to hit a ball with a friend, all you need to purchase is a racket and tennis balls. However, if you really, truly want to make this a hobby for the long term, investing in some instruction is a wise idea.

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5. Scrapbooking – Anyone who loves scrapbooking can tell you that it can get costly. However, with a little self control, you can make absolutely gorgeous scrapbooks for your friends and family for under $200 a year. Remember to search for supplies on places like eBay and resell the ones you aren’t using to get back some of your investment.

6. Guitar – If you’ve always wanted to learn a musical instrument, the guitar is a great place to start. You can often purchase a used guitar to practice on until you gain enough confidence to invest in a more expensive piece. Ask your friends for lessons or search YouTube for great, free tutorials.

$300 or Less

7. Cooking – Some of the best people in my life love to cook. They enjoy exploring new recipes on free online sites and trying out new cuisine. The endless lists of ingredients can definitely get expensive for cooking experts, but the satisfaction of their family members is well worth it!

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8. Ballroom Dancing – Ever since Dancing With The Stars came out almost a decade ago, ballroom dancing has surged in popularity again. All you need to do is sign up for a class and grab a partner. Most large studios even host dance nights where you can practice your skills, making for a very fun night out.

9. Sewing – Sewing is a great hobby to have. The biggest expense will be the machine. Some experts can spend thousands of dollars on a machine, but if you are just getting started, order a modestly priced one and ask your grandmother to give you some lessons! While you may be tempted to buy all the supplies you will need at once, just build your collection slowly as you add on new skills. This approach will help keep sewing affordable and fun.

10. Video Games – Video games can actually build a lot of skills, although it’s not advised that you spend all your days playing them! For just a few hundred dollars a year, you can purchase a game console and start enjoying time with your friends as you try to beat them to the next level!

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As you can see, there are so many great, inexpensive hobbies that you can take up to fill your spare time or learn something new. Remember, hobbies don’t have to be expensive to be fun! With just a little bit of monetary investment, you can learn a life-changing skill and make new friends along the way.

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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