Hobbies are a great way to spend your time. They allow you to learn something new, often develop a skill, and generally become a more interesting person. The summer is an excellent time to pick up a new hobby, especially for students, as we don’t have classes to worry about. Whether you’re interested in gardening, rock climbing, photography, or learning a new instrument, there are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward with your new found passion.
When deciding what you’d like to do, the first step is to do a little research. From a financial point of view, you’re going to want to look at minimum spending. This includes any initial costs. For example, if you were taking a pottery class, you would look at the cost of the class only. You don’t want to bombard yourself with what the costs could be like down the road, because realistically, you haven’t even tried it yet.
After you conclude your research,decide whether or not this hobby is a financially viable option.Consider your budget and be realistic with what you will be spending.
Minimize upfront costs. It’s a classic move to get really excited about your new hobby. No matter your choice of activity, you will be bombarded with things you can buy. When you’re first starting something new, you often don’t know the difference between something you need, something that makes your hobby easier, and just a frivolous purchase. If possible, talk to a friend who also does your new hobby and find out what you truly need to start doing it.
Don’t be extravagant. There will come a time in your life when you have stacks of cash to throw down on your hobbies, but for most students this isn’t that time for you. Remember that you just need to have the basics to do your hobby.
Be thrifty in your purchases. Check online to see if you can pick up the necessary components for less. Often, people who tried something out and didn’t like it will sell the components on Kijiji to get it out of their house. A gently used item can go a long way, especially when you’re just trying out your hobby for the first time.
If your hobby is an activity, check local listings to see if there are any free workshops or promotions going on. Especially over the summer, there are always things going on for free or at a low cost. Take advantage of these opportunities. You can often find them in the newspapers, the Guelph Community Guide, and on social media.
If your hobby has a related store, don’t be afraid to go in and ask questions. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and see if they have an inside scoop on your hobby. Just keep in mind that asking people who own the store what you should buy probably isn’t the best idea, as they’re usually more concerned about selling you things than making you informed.
Get your friends involved. Things are always more fun when you can share them. Often, you can share the costs as well. If you have to travel at all to practice a hobby, having friends do it as well allows you to carpool. If it’s an individual activity, you can share resources. If it’s something like gardening, you can share seeds. Even if you don’t have friends who already do your new hobby, consider talking to people who are interested in the same things. They might have cool tips, tricks or knowledge that you never would have found on your own (or it would have taken a lot of trial and error to figure out).
Over time, you’ll want to minimize ongoing costs. If you decide that you love this hobby and it requires constant purchases, consider buying your items in bulk and storing them, or even ask your friends if they want to split an order. If your hobby is progressing, remember that you don’t need everything as soon as you decide you like it. Continue to avoid those unnecessary purchases.
Ultimately, just make sure that you enjoy what you’re doing. There’s no use spending money on something that you don’t love and sometimes saving money for a rainy day just isn’t as important as living your life. Perfecting being perpetually poor is all about balance; you just have to find yours.
Gabrielle Dickert/The Ontarion
Original article published June 5, 2014