With New Year’s resolutions still fresh on your mind, you may be ready to try some new activities or pick up a new hobby. While becoming more fit, learning to play a musical instrument or getting into knitting can be great goals, new hobbies often come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there is a solution to make resolutions stick on the cheap. Follow the advice below to follow through on your resolution this year without breaking the bank.
1. Start Slow
The last thing you want to do is get bored of a new hobby before you have the chance to enjoy it. Try picking it up lightly a few times a week and let it slowly become a regular activity in your schedule. This isn’t supposed to be an assignment; it is supposed to be an engaging and enjoyable way to spend your time. Ease into it. Pick a simple project, just get the supplies (if any) you need for that and see how it goes.
2. Do Your Research
There is no shortage of hobbyist magazines and websites. Try reading up at a library, bookstore or online so you can get an overview of what the hobby is actually like. Pay attention to how to get started. Even advertisements can help give you an idea of what gear you will need and what prices you can expect to pay.
3. Look for Deals
It is no secret that New Year’s is a common time to try new things — and companies know it. There will be all sorts of alluring deals available to ensure you don’t let your resolution fall to the wayside. Capitalize on it and be on the lookout for some affordable trial classes or periods for your new hobby. Just be sure you don’t get sucked into a long-term commitment once the deal is over, unless you want to!
4. Ask an Expert
Consider enlisting the help of a friend or family member who is already into the hobby you chose. If you don’t know anyone personally, read expert advice in forums online or break out those hobbyist magazines and books again. Someone with experience can help give advice on the tools you need and how to get them on the cheap.
5. Rent, Borrow or Start Cheap
The cheapest way to check out a new hobby is borrowing the necessary equipment from a friend. Chances are, you know someone with a guitar, treadmill, camera lens or whatever else you are looking for. If not, try a tool lending library or renting option. You should not be afraid to start cheap — if you do keep up with the hobby, you can always upgrade later.
We all know resolutions do not always stick, so don’t fall into the trap of overspending this January (or anytime) on a hobby you aren’t sure will last. It’s not a good idea to go into debt to try a new hobby or activity, since debt can outlast your commitment to the hobby itself and wreak havoc on your credit. (You can see how your debt is impacting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)
Hobbies should be a way to de-stress; look for ways to relax that won’t result in stress-inducing bills later.
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