How to Budget for an Expensive Hobby

I’ve written a post in the past about inexpensive hobbies, but I happen to have a really expensive hobby. It’s also very time and labor-intensive, so I don’t get to do it often, but I haven’t given it up. In fact, I’m thinking of taking up a new project now that I have a house.

Expensive Hobbies
Several of my friends have very expensive hobbies. I have a friend who is an excellent quilter, but quilting is very, very expensive. Scrapbooking is another pricey one. Knitting, too. Basically, crafting in general has gotten expensive unless you only use the cheapest supplies.

Playing a sport can become expensive if you join a team, have to buy equipment, or have to pay team dues or rent game spaces.

Horseback riding, bike riding, etc. can also easily get expensive, especially if you do it competitively. Really, any hobby that you try to transition into a career or competition can quickly become expensive.

Collecting anything can be a very pricey hobby indeed.

I have two hobbies. One is novel writing, and yes, it can be expensive. However, because I pursue it professionally, I can deduct some business expenses for taxes. My second hobby, which I can’t deduct, is stained glass crafting.

I haven’t actually made a stained glass piece in at least ten years. I tried to make one in my old apartment, but glass-crafting is very messy. First I had to tape garbage bags all over my dining room to avoid getting glass slivers on the floor while I cut it. Then I had to tape garbage bags all over my kitchen and crouch over a stool to grind the edges of the cut glass. After that, I vowed not to make another piece until I had a house where I could do the work outside or in a garage.

Calculating the Cost of Expensive Hobbies
Well, now I have a house and a small window in need of decoration. I plan to make a small window hanging from stained glass. I already own most of the supplies, but I may need to replace some of them, and that could be expensive. For example:

New diamond grinder head: $26.95
Copper foil: $5.95 a roll
Cutter tip: $14.66
Particle board work surface: $20
Pattern paper: $8.95 for 100 sheets
Glass: $8-20 per sheet

Of course, I’m not truly considering the cost because I enjoy making stained glass windows and I want to make a window. I’ll try to keep costs down by using some of the glass I already have. I have several large sheets, as well as a big box of glass bits that are perfect for small cuts.

If a hobby is truly expensive, you’ll either have to decide how to afford it, or find a new hobby.

Budgeting for an Expensive Hobby
|When cash was tight, I didn’t make stained glass pieces. I simply couldn’t afford it. If you have debt, you can’t afford a hobby. If you don’t have debt, arrange your budget to accommodate your hobby without creating debt. Look at your expenses to find other areas you can cut.

Some simple examples:

  • Use coupons at the grocery store. Put your savings toward your hobby.
  • Cancel or reduce your cable. If a hobby is keeping you busy, do you need cable?
  • Brown bag your lunch.
  • Sell CDs, DVDs, or supplies from old hobbies you’re no longer active in.
  • Cancel monthly subscriptions.
  • Pool resources. If you know other people with the same hobby, schedule meetings where you can share your supplies and avoid having to buy all the tools that others might have.

Once you make the necessary cuts, budget the hobby into your monthly expenses so you’ll have the funds ready when you need to buy supplies or sign up for a class. You should also follow crafting blogs or newsletters to be alerted when supplies or equipment go on sale.

We all need hobbies. They’re creative outlets that help us reduce our stress and provide simple enjoyment. In fact, if you spend most of your time sitting on the couch watching TV, you probably need to get a hobby! Just make sure it’s one you can afford.

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