The benefits of having a hobby are well-documented. Hobbies are recreational, help us relieve stress, offer a sense of purpose and even help us find out “what we’re made of” through new challenges or experiences.
Embarking on a new hobby can be an exciting endeavor, but it’s important to remember that any hobby will have associated costs, whether they be as minimal as the cost of a deck of playing cards or as expensive as the parts that you need to complete your 1967 Camaro restoration project. Regardless of how expensive your hobby may be, we’ve outlined some financial tips that can help you budget accordingly. Being budget conscious will allow you to focus more on enjoying your passion and less about stressing over how to fund it.
Give your hobby a “trial period” before making a serious investment in it
Garages and storage units across the U.S. are full of items that people purchased under the spell of new hobby bliss. A trial period can help you determine if you’re in it for the long haul or if the novelty of your new activity has a short-term shelf life.
Try to focus on using low-cost items for your new hobby to test the waters. For example, if you’re a new golf player, consider purchasing used clubs or last year’s model before jumping for the latest and greatest set.
If you find that you still get enjoyment out of your hobby after the trial period, it may be worth investing in some higher-end gear.
Set a monthly budget … and stick to it
Think about the expenses associated with your hobby. There can be material costs, travel costs, membership fees and more that you’ll need to factor into your budget so you can do what you love without going into debt.
Many hobbies have recurring costs, such as art supplies, fishing line, guitar strings, golf balls, etc. As you start to practice your hobby regularly, you can determine the frequency at which to replenish your materials and get a sense of how much money is needed to set aside to fund recurring purchases.
Depending on the hobby, there may also be specialized pieces of equipment or higher-value items that you’ll only need to purchase once, but will likely need to save up for over time (boat or car parts, specialized machinery, etc.). If you find that you need to save for a high-priced item, plan accordingly. Determine how much you’ll need to set aside over a longer period of time, like six months, for example, and save the amount of money you need. This way, you will be able to make your purchase in full without going into debt.
Automate your savings
Sometimes setting a budget alone isn’t enough. Consider opening a new bank account with the sole purpose of helping you manage your hobby-related spending. Once you’ve established that account, start to funnel money into it using a recurring automated deposit of a set dollar amount per month. This will protect your primary account, while giving you visibility into your spending habits for your hobby.
Know when to use credit to make hobby-related purchases
Molly Bundy, branch manager at South State Bank’s Mt. Pleasant Johnnie Dodds branch in the Charleston, S.C. area, has been an avid fisher for more than a decade and has traveled around the world to enjoy her hobby.She has a good rule of thumb for hobby-related credit purchases.
“It is ok to finance true necessities with credit, like a car for transportation. But, when it comes to wants, like a fishing vacation to Alaska, you should try to plan ahead and save up for it whenever possible,” says Bundy.
When Bundy wanted to purchase a trolling motor for her boat, she decided to save the money first to avoid having to pay credit-card interest on her purchase. This sort of approach can save you hundreds, if not thousands, depending on the value of the item you’re acquiring.
Think of how much more you could enjoy your hobby if you spent potential interest money on other significant hobby-related items!
Turn your hobby into a “side-business”
If you’re skilled enough at your craft, you may be able to turn your hobby into a money-generating side business that effectively pays for itself. Kyle Driggs, branch manager at South State’s Pelham Road branch in Greenville, S.C., is a lifelong action figure collector who’s used his love for Transformers, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe (MOTU), and knowledge of the action figure market as a means to fund his hobby.
“Action figure collecting can be a very expensive hobby that can get out of hand if you’re not careful,” says Driggs. “Toy companies are constantly releasing new figures, so if you want to keep up with maintaining a ‘complete’ collection, you have to get creative to responsibly afford the latest and greatest the market has to offer.”
Driggs has learned that purchasing entire collections from other sellers and then reselling each figure individually can be an extremely profitable proposition, provided you know the worth of each figure and what you need to pay in order to turn a profit.
“If I want to buy something, I sell something to fund the purchase. Flipping collections has allowed me to fund new figure purchases for my own collection without having to solely rely on my personal income.”
Driggs has had success selling individual figures in-person and online. Places like Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Amazon have established markets for action figure collectors to find the rare figure that they need to complete their collection.
Get budgeting tips from your banker
South State Bank has more than 150 branches that span the Southeast. Each branch is staffed with our friendly and knowledgable team members who are happy to share their budgeting tips with you. Stop in to visit them and talk about how you can better budget for your hobby-related costs.