How to Start a New Hobby Without Breaking the Bank

Yes, you can start a brand-new hobby without draining your savings account; you just have to think creatively. These tips will let you try out your new favorite thing without running out of cash while you’re at it.
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So you’re thinking of trying a new hobby. You’re looking for a challenge; you want to meet new people; or you’re just looking to shake things up. Whatever your motivation, you’re pretty excited to get started and to have some fun.

Except for one thing—this new hobby of yours is turning out to be a bit more expensive than you anticipated. You’re holding off making the necessary investments because, for one, it’s a lot of dough to drop in one go, and second, you’re not even 100% sure you’re going to completely fall in love with this new hobby.

Try before you buy

If renting is an option for your hobby of choice, consider taking a rental for a test run before committing to a full-blown purchase. Of course, buying your own hobby-related gear will probably be less expensive in the long run, but renting is the perfect solution for determining whether you actually enjoy the hobby enough to stick it out.

Word from the wise: Be sure the supplies you’re renting are high quality and fit you correctly (if applicable). For instance, few people would enjoy mountain biking for the first time on a too-small, rickety bike. Test out gear that is similar to what you’ll be able to afford, should you choose to commit.

Ask about intro deals

Everybody was a beginner at some point, so they know it can be costly to dive into a new hobby. That’s why it’s worth seeing if there are any introductory deals available to newcomers like you.

A craft store may offer a free beginner class where you get to use its supplies. Your belly-dancing-obsessed friend might have a complimentary “bring a friend” pass to pass along. The local yoga studio may offer a seriously discounted two-week trial pass to let you get a feel of the classes. You won’t know unless you ask!

Mix splurging with saving

For most hobbies, there are items where you should definitely pay more for quality, and others where you can cut corners and get a less expensive option. Do your research about the equipment needed to take part in your hobby. Ask friends involved with the hobby or seek out information online as to which items require a necessary splurge, and where you can cut back without missing out on anything.

Buy used

The thing with most hobbies is that there’s always room to upgrade and improve supplies and equipment. Look for a community of people who are more experienced in your hobby, and put feelers out to see if anyone is selling their used, but still in good shape, gear.

This is a great way to get a deal—and when it comes time for you to upgrade your own equipment, you may be able to sell your old gear to another beginner and make a bit of cash yourself.

Borrow

Borrowing is like renting—except it’s even cheaper! If you know anyone who is well acquainted with your hobby of choice, see if they’re willing to loan you their gear for a quick test drive.

This works better for some hobbies than others—borrowing somebody else’s ski boots is probably a bad idea since the fit is so individual, but taking someone’s camping gear out for a spin is a good call.

Stay clear of gimmicks

Here’s what marketers don’t want you to know: Partaking in your hobby of choice often requires less stuff than you’re being led to believe. There are a lot of extras out there that range from nice-to-have-but-not-necessary to utterly useless gimmicks.

Wherever they fall within that span, you can definitely do without them in the early days. Do your research and focus on core pieces of equipment, and not on the fluff.

Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple nor our partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and BBVA Compass, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.