If your tastes or hobbies previously ran to the expensive, such as gourmet cooking classes, wine clubs, or shopping in general, you may be wondering what to do with yourself now that consumption is out. Or, if your personal budget no longer allows this consumption? You don’t have to sit at home twiddling your thumbs. Instead, you can find new hobbies and interests, or transform those interests into something more affordable.
Gourmet Cook = Cooking Club
If you enjoy gourmet cooking and regularly shelled out $80 for a couple cooking classes, you don’t have to give that up. You just have to give up the pricey teacher and classroom setting. Instead, look for a cooking club. Cooking clubs usually meet in someone’s home or a rented community space. You either bring your own ingredients or contribute a smaller fee. Everyone learns together, which makes it all the more fun. You may even get to help choose the dishes the group will be preparing.
Wine Enthusiast = Wine Club
This is another easy one to switch. Instead of visiting an expensive wine bar, join a local wine club. Some are held at wineries or wine stores, and can be pricey. Others are held in the homes of local members. Members take turn hosting and everyone brings a new bottle to share. You’ll discover new wines and make new friends for a fraction of the cost.
Hardcore Shopper = Swapping
If you liked to hit the malls with a group of friends, now you can hold a swap instead. I wrote about setting up swaps last month. You can also look for meetups.
Culture Snob = Movie or Book Club
Can’t afford all those museum memberhips? Like reading or movies? Join a book club or movie club. Most book stores hold monthly book clubs, but you’ll also find them at libraries or in people’s living rooms. Movie clubs will attend local screenings as a group, possibly with special rates.
Gym Rat = Get Outdoors
If you used to spend a lot of time at the gym, join the Sierra Club, an orienteering group, or a local hiking meetup to find new trails and meet new people for free. If you already have a mountain bike, a kayak, or any other outdoors equipment, find a local group that suits your interests. If you can’t find, start one on Meetup or Craigslist.
Heavy Charity Donor = Support a Cause
Have you always wanted to volunteer in a campaign? Help the needy? Work for an environmental cause? There are groups that do that, too. Use your newfound free-time to do something worthwhile without taking out the checkbook.
Passionate Consumer = Pursue a Passion
The consumerist society we live in makes it difficult to pursue your passions when you’re struggling to keep up with the Jones. Now that you don’t have to do that, you can pursue your true passions. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book, learn to play an instrument, or garden. This is your opportunity.
See my earlier post on inexpensive hobbies for more ideas. Have you had to change your ways and find new hobbies? What did you discover to fill your time?