Finding A Frugal Hobby
In this week’s post, I’m going to be discussing the importance of finding frugal hobbies.
I have always been someone who appreciates the value of the dollar. Therefore expensive clubs, crazy costing getaways, and everyday experiences which cost an exorbitant amount of money, do not appeal to me. When it comes down to my inherent frugal nature, where if I need to look at spending cash, I’m always looking at what am I getting in return.
As Financial Freedom seekers, it is very important that we maintain spending that is a line with our long-term goal of becoming financially free.
What this means to me is that we are living within our means and typically have a large amount of cash that we can put aside in a money market account or invest in some great stocks at great prices because our savings rate is so high. After all, this life style adheres to the Rules of Money.
One area that is really helps me become and achieve this high level of savings rate is having hobbies that are relatively inexpensive or, best case scenario – no cost at all.
Rather than choosing events or activities that I have to spend a lot of money to enjoy, I choose things where the cost is low or in many cases non-existent but my enjoyment is very very high.
By adhering to a high savings rate, our journey towards becoming financially free is put on auto-pilot.
To demonstrate this principle in action, take this chart that I developed which calculates how old you will be when you can retire based on your income level and savings rate.
My Frugal Hobbies
Watching High School Basketball
Enjoyment Level: 10
I love high school hoops. Not only do I help coach a basketball team, but I find time to get out and watch as many games as I can. Being a coach, I qualify for the ‘coaches high school pass’, which currently costs me $35 at the beginning of each season.
Typically that is my only cost incurred in watching games during the season. If I am able to attend 10 games (not counting the ones I coach), then the cost for each game is $3.50. Pretty great deal if you ask me!
Cost: Typically $0, but can vary based on activity.
Enjoyment Level: 7-9
I like being active and enjoy engaging in activities where I have to use my body. Typically this is on the basketball court, but it can also be running, biking, playing yard games outside, etc.
This might be higher if I had a gym membership, but I decided not to renew my pass at Lifetime Fitness. I chose this because in the summer time, I often find time to bike daily or run around the trails which are close to my house. In the winter, I have a few gyms where I can run in a 5v5 basketball game for free or little cost.
Caveat: Biking and yard games have a higher up front cost but once outlayed, I can keep doing the activity for little-no maintenance. I typically look for the type of activities that allow me to continue engaging for a smaller or no ongoing cost. This is one reason why certain sports which have higher ongoing costs, such as skiing, snowboarding, volleyball (membership-based), have not appealed to me.
Reading A Book
Cost: $0 (mainly books from library)
In the winter in MN, the last thing you want to do is go outside during a frigid night. It is much better to curl up under a blanket and open a good book. One of my routines is to head to the library every Saturday to check out a few good books.
By doing so, I am helping to support my local library while picking up a great read at the same time.
There are also times in which I will buy a book, in which case I am willing to pay an author money for their time it took to write the book that I am enjoying.
OK, so I am typically not into newer video games, which helps me on the cost factor. Most of the games I play are based on the principle of pay once, play forever. Currently I will launch up games like Starcraft 1, Heroes 2, AOE II, or Civ II.
I don’t find time to play routinely, although sometimes on a lazy Saturday, the mood might strike me to launch up a game and play for a few hours. It is good, clean fun and very enjoyable.
Taking A Walk/Hiking
Cost: $0 outside or $30/yr at my local rec center
Enjoyment: 7 (weather pending…)
I really enjoy a good walk. Part of my spiritual journey is taking time out of my busy day to get outside and enjoy God’s beautiful creation all around me. This is especially true in the summertime when everything is green, the birds are chirping, and the sun is shining.
It can be challenging to find the time to take these walks, however, I often see that is justification for overworking. When I allow myself the time to engage in a walk, I typically feel rested, rejuvenated, and restored. It is well worth the time spent.
I know a lot of people will not share my enthusiasm on this one, but I find that when I find time to write during my days, it is generally very relaxing for me. It allows me to put my thoughts on paper and helps calm my mind.
Since the cost of expressing myself is $0, I find this a fantastic outlet in my life. I do have some overhead costs associated with my online websites, but those are well worth the cost of enjoyment I get out of writing.
Listening To Podcast
Listening to podcasts has become one of my favorite things to do. I often time will make sure I listened to my favorite episodes while engaging in ‘dead time’, which I define as tasks where I cannot do more than one thing.
Some examples of ‘dead time’: driving, running errands, waiting for an event to begin, etc. This low/no-cost enjoyment comes from a place of continual improvement. The more I can learn, the better I feel.
Working On My Websites
I really enjoy improving and tinkering on my websites. I can often get lost for hours on ends making the user experience better or the information flow easier. This inclination towards online website design has existed since high school, but only recently have I begun to tap into this skill set again.
Not only is this design work a passion of mine, but I am also beginning to offer this as a service through my consulting firm. So this low/no cost activity is actually one that can help earn me steady income on a daily basis. I am excited to see where this journey takes me.
Hobbies that are simply too expensive for me
Since we have gone through some hobbies that are low/no cost but a high level of enjoyment, we’ll dive into hobbies that are simply too expensive for me.
Cost: $50+/round (often higher)
I like the idea of golfing, but not the actual act of golfing. On certain levels, it makes sense to be good at golf. Not only is it good from a business and relationship building perspective, but it is a good sport to keep one active through the older years. After all, I won’t be able to play my favorite sport- basketball – forever.
However, the cost of golf is just too high in my mind. I like being out on the course, hanging with friends, and enjoying a beautiful day, but I feel as though I can do this in other situations besides on the course. We could enjoy some yard games, a nice walk next to the river, or playing some board games.
Cost: $35 license, $100 gear, $5,000+ boat, $30 bait
Fishing is more enjoyable to me, but again, the cost is just too prohibitive for the enjoyment level I gain from doing so. I have a few uncles and cousins that love to fish and spending great amounts of money on doing so. They love it, so I say more power to them.
For me though, I typically buy a fishing license and pay for a gift card for an uncle that takes me out fishing, but that is where the cost outlay stops.
Cost: $8/beer, entry fees (TBD)
I have a few friends that like to go ‘out on the town’. I join them every once in a while, but I have to admit that being in a loud club, with the music blaring, and staying up until the dawn, is just not my thing.
During the summer, I went out with a friend to an acquaintance birthday party. I didn’t know these people very well, but decided to enjoy a night out. Our night started at 9pm with dinner in downtown Minneapolis and then heading to out a local nightclub.
While I had more fun that I expected, the cost of the night was exorbitant. Drinks + dinner ended up being around $50. Then in the club, one of the friends paid for VIP bottle service, which I was told cost around $500. I didn’t end up spending a dime on any of it, but it brought back the realization to my mind: I couldn’t justify doing this each and every weekend. The cost just isn’t worth the reward.
Season Tickets To Sporting Events
Heading out to a sporting event is enjoyable for me, however I see that the cost of doing so is again prohibitive. Being a basketball player, I like going to Gopher or Timberwolves games to support my local teams. I have also been to Wild and Vikings games as well.
However, when one adds up the ticket price, parking price, and food + drinks, heading out to an event can easily total in hundreds of dollars. Though I find these events enjoyable, there are better and more cost-effective ways to spend my time.
Now, if you happen to enjoy some events or activities that are expensive, that isn’t to say that you should immediately stop. At MoneybyRamey.com, we do not advocate a life of misery but rather one of solid savings habits and wise spending habits.
Taking Everything into Account
If you found something that you enjoy doing and spending the money to do the thing how to improve your life, then by all means, enjoy and spend away.
So long as you are income exceeds your expenses and you maintain a high savings rate, then having these more expensive hobbies is a luxury that you can afford.
As for me, I will continue to enjoy finding new, inexpensive hobbies that I really enjoy and that keep me engaged on a day-by-day basis. By doing so, I am receiving enjoyment pleasure, and happiness, all while helping stack my money market and investment funds.
It is a true win-win scenario.