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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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Catherine Alford

Catherine is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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