A big part of my life in the past ten months has been embracing frugality in lots of different areas. As I became more focused on saving my money for long-term goals, I’ve looked for ways to save money in just about every area of my life. One of these has been my hobbies. I thought I would share with you how I’ve frugalized my hobbies, so I can hopefully inspired you to save money on your own hobbies.
Far and away, one of my biggest hobbies is reading. It’s also one of the easiest hobbies to make frugal or free. How? Embracing my local library. EPL is frugal and fabulous! Memberships are free and by borrowing their e-books (and even occasionally paper books), I am saving so much cash. I read at least one book a week from the library, so if we assume a book costs about $10, I’m saving at least $520/year by reading library books instead of buying them. It’s a small savings every week but it adds up to a pretty significant amount of money. I also use the fabulous library to save on cookbook costs. Instead of buying a cookbook I’m interested in, I simply borrow it from the library and photocopy the recipes I want to keep. I only do this a few times a year, but I estimate that it saves me at least $60/year. So, total saved by embracing the library = $580/year.
Another hobbies of mine that I currently enjoy for no cost is watching television. How, you ask? Well, I don’t own a television. I watch all of my tv online and have never had cable. So, right there, by cutting cable I’m saving at least $30/month or $360/year. I either stream tv online or watch shows on Netflix. Now Netflix by itself is pretty cheap, around $10/month, but if you share Netflix with people you know it gets even cheaper. My brother-in-law is kind enough to let me use his account at no cost (thanks Mario!!), so that’s saving me $10/month or $120/year. By watching all my tv online and not paying a cent for it, I am saving a total of $480/year.
One of the other hobbies I enjoy (usually while I am watching free tv) is cross-stitching. Now cross-stitching is a relatively cheap hobby on it’s own, as the core supplies (thread, fabric, and needles) are pretty inexpensive. However, I save even more money on it by waiting for the supplies to be on sale, using store coupons to buy the supplies, and getting my extra-frugal mom to buy me cross stitch supplies at garage sales (going to garage sales is a huge hobby of hers and also very thrifty). I would conservatively estimate that being frugal with my supply costs saves me at least $5/month or $60/year. I also save money by either creating my own patterns or finding free patterns online or in library books, rather than buying patterns. This takes a bit more time but it saves me easily $120/year, if not more. The other way that I save significantly on cross-stitch costs is by doing my own framing. Framing is easily the most costly part of the whole process. By doing my own framing, vs. paying for professional, I save at least $20/piece or about $160/year. Total savings realized by frugalizing my cross-stitching = $340/year.
The final hobby I will talk about frugalizing today is my work outs. I haven’t realized such significant savings on this hobby as on others, since I had pretty strict criteria when choosing a gym (near my house, good transit access, variety of equipment, etc.). I still did shop around for the cheapest membership prices though and ended up signing up at my local YMCA. The membership I have is just under $65/month because they partner with my work. Other comparable gyms in the area would have cost at least $75/month, so I’m saving $10/month or $120/year with my choice of gym. The other thing I love about the YMCA is that they give their members free fitness consultationss, where you meet with a trainer to make a workout plan. I’ve used this service twice in the last year. Given that hiring a personal trainer costs around $75/hour, this service has saved $150 in the last year alone. Total savings realized at the gym = $270/year.
In total, my focus on making my hobbies more frugal has netted me a savings of $1670/year. Best of all, these have been painless changes. I still enjoy my life and pursuing my hobbies. I still enjoy them just as much as I did when I spent money on them. I think this is a wonderful example of how you can focus on being creatively frugal and still have a really great life.
What about you? What hobbies have you made more frugal? What hobbies could you still cut costs on?