Number 9 – Give Up Hobbies
I love to play golf.Â If I had the time, and the money, I would play every day.Â But, while getting out of debt, I quit playing golf.Â For a year, my clubs sat in a closet, gathering dust.Â Sure, my game suffered, but I had to stop playing, and stop spending money, and focus on debt reduction.
Take a look at your life.Â Do you have some expense – some unnecessary expense – that is eating away at your financial progress?Â If so, get rid of it.
After getting out of debt, I started playing again.Â I play two or three times a month, and it feels great to be back on the course.Â You can always go back to your hobby – just wait until AFTER you get out of debt and have a increased your emergency savings.Â I also figured out 10 ways to save money while on the golf course!
In almost every case, when I take a look at some one’s budget, I can find at least one category that should be reduced – entertainment.Â People love their books, DVDs, movies, bowling, golf outings, collecting, hunting, etc.Â And, almost as universal, when I suggest decreasing that particular budget category, people will resist.Â Why?
It’s natural to feel entitled, especially after a long week of working hard, to reward ourselves.Â I had to learn to say NO – to myself, and to my buddies when they asked me to play.Â By the way, never underestimate the role that peer / social pressure plays in determining how we spend our money.Â It’s amazing how quickly some people can be convinced, by their friends, to make certain purchases or do certain things.Â Make up your mind, make the sacrifice now, and in the near future, you can really enjoy your hobby, when you can actually afford it.
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18 thoughts on “Top 10 Ways To Save Money – Number 9 – Give Up Hobbies”
We used to watch movies a lot. In order to save money, we downgraded to renting DVDs thru Netflix and/or Blockbuster at first. Then we discovered Redbox. It’s only 99 cents if I pay for it but I usually do a quick search online for codes to make it free (as long as I return it the next day before 9 pm). I love it so much that I don’t even miss the big screen theaters.
To me, it seems like your logic is a little off. In number 10, you said to cut back going out to eat once per week stating, “Remember, we want to sacrifice when appropriate, but we also want to enjoy our lives.” But then you wouldn’t let yourself go golfing till you were totally debt free? Perhaps the golf courses around me are extremely cheap compared to yours, but I would consider it to be more beneficial and frugal to encourage an occasional favorite activity (especially one that is physical and social) rather than a standing appointment with overpriced food.
I do agree with you that hobbies can ruin a debt reduction track. My husband and I hand to come to grips with the fact that even though we live near world class diving and own our own gear and boat, we still can’t afford to do it every weekend.
@Lindsay – I think there’s a big difference between taking my wife out to eat once a month, as a sort of splurge, and playing golf. When we go out to eat, there’s an opportunity to talk about our futures, reconnect, and spend some time together. When I play golf, I’m just spending money that could be better used elsewhere.
I get what you’re saying about making sure getting rid of debt needs to be a higher priority than wants.
However, I think saying that you can’t enjoy ANY hobbies until you are debt free is a bit harsh and will make life absolutely miserable.
The key is to find cheap/free alternatives for your hobbies. If you’re really into books, DVDs and CDs – check out your library or services like SwapTree or Paperback Swap.
Or find completely new cheap/free hobbies.
Or find ways to make money off your hobbies. Can you sell a product from your hobby? Can you teach others your hobby through a community ed class?
Moderation is a better strategy than elimination when it comes to enjoying hobbies while battling debt.
Play the ultimate frugal golf.
Disc golf. Most courses are free to play, and equipment is very cheap. Just go pickup a disc golf disc (discs range from $8-$20 new). I suggest starting with a midrange disc. Most courses have clubs and/or local pros which are usually a great source for advice. Most people are really friendly and want to see the sport grow.
I used to play golf and loved it, but stopped after a vehicle accident years ago. I started playing disc golf a year and a half ago and have since given my golf clubs away. No need to waste money on green fees ever again.
Find a course near you at http://www.pdga.org under their course directory (NOTE: PDGA’s website is currently under a major update and might be down)
@Christina… This might sound a bit harsh, but I think that moderation is HIGHLY overrated. I’d rather see someone intense for a year or two… ready to destroy debt… than someone who is just kinda-sorta moving along… Of course, I’m insane.. hehe..
Or even better than giving up a hobby, pick up a new hobby that actually generates some income. I took up refereeing youth soccer a couple of years ago. Pick a sport that suits you that maybe your kid(s) play, if you have any. It helps you learn the sport, gives you a chance to spend time with them (my son who is 14 also referees soccer in addition to playing and we often work together), gives you a reason to stay in shape, and it generates a little bit of money…as much as $20-$25 for 1.5 hours work. the down sides? Sometimes nasty weather and nastier parents.
The thing is most people aren’t willing to give up their hobby. They moan and groan about how they need to enjoy life and have at least 1 splurge, etc. But the thing is that, that entitlement to splurges contributed to the problem to begin with and if you aren’t willing to give it up, then you must not want to fix your financial problems all that badly. Great post.
Really though, what’s the point of living if you can’t do things you enjoy? There are better ways to cut down on expenses than getting rid of your passions. For me, I love to read, so instead of buying that new book I want, I go to the library a lot more often. On top of that, maybe start buying generic foods, and shopping at discount clothing stores. If getting kicked out of your home becomes a possibility, then cut out the golf.
I think a moderately priced hobby is important to keep one’s mind engaged. Playing cards, doing crossword puzzles, knitting, reading, even golf, etc., are all positive contributions to keeping a brain healthy and stimulated.
Your point is well-taken, but I think off-the-mark: I do think moderation (maybe golf every other week instead of every week) is better than giving up one’s interests.
I agree you shouldn’t give up ALL of your hobbies, or you’ll go insane. I had to give up my love of fixing up cars for awhile, but when I’m out of debt and puttnig 15% towards retirement, I’m going to save up money to buy a 67 Mustang Fastback to fix up with my dad. Until then I’ll stick with home-made old scrapbooking ^_^
Hobbies are very important. If you no hobbies and then you retire, what do you do with your time? Instead of giving up hobbies, perhaps it would be better to find cheaper hobbies. Not all hobbies are expensive.
I whole-heartedly agree with the other posters about not giving up hobbies — just finding cheaper or free ways to do them (like volunteering or teaching.
I love to read, so I frequent the library and opt for blogs and online publications instead of newspapers and magazines. (I love RSS!)
There are tons of places in the community to indulge a hobby. For instance, the yarn store where I shop has a program where they knit blankets for children in need — the store and customers donate yarn and people can take this yarn for free and return the finished blanket. The quilt store around the corner has a monthly get-together for quilters to come make blankets for charity. All the materials (and even the sewing machines) are provided.
Although, it’s funny that travel hasn’t been mentioned yet (is that coming in this series?) If you’re serious about getting out of debt, STAY HOME.
It seems like the consensus is that giving up hobbies completely is not the most attractive decision people are willing to make – and I agree. Although it might seem like it is the easiest thing to do, since we don’t have much power over things like bills, but is it really “easy,” considering that hobbies are part of enjoying life or having something to get through the week. Even though moderation can be tough to stay on top of at first, if you set a reasonable and followable budget it shouldn’t be so hard to keep while still enjoying hobbies. Or, make trade-offs when budgeting hobbies – choose one hobby to stick with for a short period of time and lay off the others. It might be harder and bad for you psychologically to try to go cold turkey anyway.
I agree with you NCN. It’s not like you completely gave up golf forever, just until you were out of debt. I think its awesome and shows dedication to paying off debt. Most people will not do that because they think they deserve to do what they want. Great job quitting golf for a year!
There are many hobbies that you can do cheaply, like going to the library for books and movies. Buying puzzles at yard sales and putting them together. Running is a great hobby and is mostly free if you run outside. The key is to find something else to do (cheaply) while getting out of debt. I consider golf a pretty expensive hobby.
Or start a hobby that is no- or low-cost to get into but could pay big dividends. Coin collecting can work that way.
Back in the ‘spend, spend’ days, I bought a LOT of supplies for needlework and knitting. Since I got on the budget, I have only bought a few things (buttons, floss) to finish off completed projects and mostly ‘shopped the stash’. I can still enjoy my hobbies, just without breaking the budget any more.
I’ve also sold supplies/patterns that I impulse bought in order to buy projects that I will actually complete. In any kind of crafting hobby, it’s easy to go overboard. A ‘craft diet’ will actually make you look at your old supplies in a fresh new way as you figure out new uses for them. Just look at the wonderful quilts and needlework that came out of the Great Depression!
I’ll have to give up my Faberge egg habit.
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