Friday, March 27, 2009

Find A Hobby That Pays

Saving Money Tip #106 - Find A Hobby That Pays. With our country’s economic crisis, I have been hearing a lot about being frugal. Cutting down on eating expenses, clothing expenses, doing things yourself, etc. Being frugal does not mean that you cannot still do fun things. Besides free parks and museums, you can still take up a hobby and be frugal. Yes, hobbies can be expensive. Collecting old cars can cost a fortune. However, if you are passionate about it, then there is more than monetary worth to your hobby. But even better, it may even pay to have a hobby you enjoy.

If you love old cars and enjoy buying them and spending hours, days, or months tinkering with them and fixing them, then your hobby may turn into a small side business. Buying a car for $2,000 and enjoying your time working on it, while fixing it for $500 worth of parts and turning around and selling the car for $4,000 can be a hobby that pays.

Of course not everyone wants hobbies on that great of scale. Suppose you enjoy scrapbooking? Most of us know how expensive that hobby can be. But how about if you use what you create as gifts that you would have bought anyway? Then the hobby isn’t so expensive. Or, even better, what if you sell your creations on eBay or at a flea market? You can often make back what you have put into your hobby, all the while enjoying your time with it.

If you are passionate about an activity or subject, then you can do more than just “collect” the item by throwing high dollars into that pursuit. Many hobbies can be taken to the next step. Becoming knowledgeable about a subject so that you can seize opportunities to collect your item at low prices – and then fix them, create them, or just hold on to them – and then turn around and sell them for a profit. Or the hobby can just pay for itself by what you get out of it. There are many hobbies that this would be true. Gardening is a hobby that pays for itself in the bountiful produce that keeps down your food bill. Sewing as a hobby can keep down your tailoring costs, as well as possibly turn into a small money maker if you sew for others.

By selling some baseball cards that you buy in lots at a garage sale while adding those that you do need to your collection is an example of a hobby that may pay for itself. Buying old furniture and fixing it up may be a passion that makes some money for you. I could go on and on and list hundreds of examples of these types of hobbies.

Yes, hobbies can cost a lot of money. If you only buy your collection at retail stores and then turn around and hold on to every item you buy, the costs will add up. But pursuing an activity you like does not have to cost a lot of money. Find ways to collect your item for cheap and fix, paint, or create the item of your desire and sell it for money or find a hobby that provides benefits for you and your family above its cost. And you will be able to be frugal and enjoy your hobbies, too.

In Real Life (IRL) – I have an American Girl doll collection. It is probably worth about $1,000 if I sold it on eBay today. People come in my house and are always surprised to see all of these dolls on display. And I suppose some of them think that they could never afford so many expensive dolls. But guess what? I paid probably about $100 for all of those dolls, clothes, and furniture. When I see people on Craigslist selling a big lot of American Girl dolls, I try hard to be the first person to buy it. By buying in lots, I can usually get a good deal. When I have this lot, I pick out what I want to add to my collection and sell the rest on eBay, often paying for the lot itself just by what I sold, and mostly making a small profit, all the while keeping some of the items for my collection. By collecting American Girls this way, I am able to build up my collection without having to spend a lot of money. Now if I wanted a collection of dolls and just ordered everything I want from the American Girl store, I would have spent a mint to build up my collection. Then it would not be a frugal hobby.

Another hobby I enjoy is writing calligraphy. Neat handwriting is just an interest of mine. Many years ago I bought a calligraphy pen and started practicing writing. I never took a course in it, so I’m not even sure I write “true” calligraphy, but the final product looks nice. Calligraphy pens and ink aren’t terribly expensive, but like everything else, the costs add up. But by pursuing this hobby that I enjoy, I have saved money in many ways. I wrote out all of the envelopes for my wedding invitations rather than pay someone to do it. I have also done it for my sister's wedding and my brother’s wedding, as well as their children’s Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I have saved hundreds of dollars over time by doing this. I also did invitations for a few of my friends as gifts when they got married, again saving me – and them – money.

So think about what you enjoy doing and figure out if you can make that hobby pay for you – in more ways than emotional satisfaction – by providing your family with items or service you need or by selling off some of your collections or hard work for a profit. Hobbies do not have to cost a lot. Make them pay for you. For other frugal living tips, visit Life as Mom.


Toni said...

A friend and I have been getting together one day a week to make cards: birthday, thank you, sympathy, etc. I refuse to buy $5 greeting cards at the store - it seems like such a waste of money. If I wanted to spend the extra $5, I could just make a card and slip a $5 gift card in it! Much more practical. Nice post!

Suzanne Wells - The eBay Coach said...

You are right - you must watch your spending on your hobby. It can get out of control. I know people will sewing rooms full of projects and kits and there is no way they could complete that many projects in 3 life times. So I tell them to gather it up and sell it on eBay! Enjoyed your post.

Suzanne Wells
The eBay Coach

Jim Leigh said...

Great Post. A few years ago my professor was telling a story about one of his buddies. He said that his friend would make these rocking chairs and sell them for $50. My professor asked his friend "Yeah...but how much time are you putting into them?". "If he is putting in 20 hours, then he's making like $2.50 an hour!". I remember thinking he was correct because that's the way I think! However, this article goes to show you...if he had a hobby that did NOT pay $50, it would probably LOSE $50. I guess what my professor and I failed to see was the 'negative' money that could be lost in a different hobby!

Thanks for the article!

Steave Green said...

I think if the person don't have a hobby then he can't relax. But some people can do amazing things. Handmade things are very popular today so it can be a good way for getting money. You even don't need to take a loan for starting your own business because you don't need an office or huge start capital. All you need is your imagination. But what if you need to have it and need to find the investor and, as a usual, they aren't thrown down through your road. You can use easy loans to apply for getting cash or business loan to direct lenders operating 24/7 online up to your needs.