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Set a Budget for “Hobby” Expenses

By Chris Bibey

Hobby BudgetWhat is your hobby? What do you do to stay sane in a world that is full of stress? If you don’t have a hobby you need to find one. If you already have one, which a large portion of the population do, you know that keeping up with it can be quite expensive. A hobby can be anything from flying remote control airplanes to collecting baseball cards and anything in between. How much money you spend on your hobby every month is very important. Even though this is something you need in your life, it is not more important than “necessary expenses” such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and food.

Setting a budget for hobby expenses is not as difficult as you may think. Here are some things to remember:

  1. It is easy to go overboard on something you love, like your hobby, because it is exciting to you. In other words, if you do not have a budget, you may overspend and eventually find yourself in debt.
  2. When you have a budget, every purchase will mean that much more to you. For example, a baseball card collector being able to buy every card may sound like a dream come true, but if you can always buy what you want, without saving, some of the luster is sure to wear off over time. Saving for what you truly want can make it all the more exciting in the end.
  3. If need be, you can always cut back your hobby budget. I know it’s tough to do this but it should be one of the first things to cut down if times get tough. It is nice to know that you can spend a certain amount of money in good times, but that you can have this money back if needed for more important expenses.
  4. Save what you don’t spend. For example, maybe you have a budget of $300 per month, which is a nice sum for your hobby. If you only spend $200 this month, carry over the extra $100 and add it to your original $300. This gives you $400 in your hobby budget category, and helps you save for larger purchases. Just because you have a certain amount of money budgeted doesn’t mean you have to spend it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to make changes. If you find that your budget is entirely too big, and you are overspending, cut back for the time being, even if you don’t have to. See if you can still have a good time with your hobby by spending less.

How much money do you spend on your favorite hobby every month? Do you have a budget? We want to hear about all of your great hobbies and how you deal with funding them.

(photo credit: jblpn)

Chris Bibey
Chris Bibey is a freelance writer who over the years has honed his personal finance experience by writing more than 100 feature articles on the subject. In his spare time, Chris enjoys sports - West Virginia football in particular!

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  • Happi Shopr

    This is a good tip for keeping things under control.

  • Kendra

    I currently don’t have a hobby but I need to find one. I have a lot of stress to relieve.

  • gina

    I agree with most of your points, with the exception of putting saved money from one month into the next. I think that if you do not spend what was budgeted in one month, then that should go into your SAVINGS. Next month, you should resume your regular alotted budgeted amount.

    • http://lifetuner.org Keith Morris

      I like this approach too, but I’m sure people have different opinions, and there’s more than one way to skin a, uh, nevermind.

      I don’t have any rollover budgeted items.

      Money that I need for things that aren’t required on a monthly basis goes into a dedicated subsavings account.

      Kevin from No Debt Plan recently created an awesome video showing how to set up a budget spreadsheet worth checking out: http://bit.ly/9W6tBL

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    I liked this article immediately because of the picture, a baseball card album. My first real hobby in the 80’s…and I still have every card today. Not much of an investment it turned out to be, but sure was enjoyable. These days my sole hobby is casually researching genealogy. Can be very expensive, but since I can do most of the work online, it’s quite affordable.

  • http://blog.budgetpulse.com Craig

    I try to just keep a monthly base of what I want to spend on money because I have no problem spending money on books, a video game on the occasion or other if it’s under control. Hobbies are important and things I enjoy and so do others so keep them at bay and enjoy.

  • Karmella

    I would tend to like the idea of rolling over the money you don’t spend in the category – some hobby expenses can be bigger than you’d want to spend in one month.

  • Chris

    I used to avidly collect comics, and the expense became too much – simply too many, and rising costs. I’ve pared back using some of the techniques mentioned in the post, and now really only buy trades or issues I really really want. I also go for long periods of buying nothing, but then buy a large purchase later on.

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