Having fun for less!
by Pam Hutzler
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Hobbies are often associated with those that lead a quiet, low-stress life. Consider the image of a quiet Saturday afternoon spent in the sport of birding and enjoying nature. But, on the contrary, people with busy, stressful lives may need hobbies more than the average person. Unfortunately, when the stress is due to tightened finances, hobbies are often the first things cut from the budget. Even when money is tight, there are inexpensive hobbies that you can enjoy without denting the budget. Here are just a few.
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Become a Bookworm
There are few things as enjoyable as being whisked away on a literary adventure with a favorite book. As an added bonus, you can become a bookworm on a budget. There's no need to pay retail at your local book emporium. Of course, your first and best option is to check out books from your local library. Also, you can find cheap or even free books by visiting yard sales, flea markets, used bookstores, and book swaps. Another alternative is to begin an exchange program with friends and family.
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Grow Your Own Food
Gardening can be a worthwhile hobby. And it's fun too! It gets you outside and active, and when your garden starts to produce, you'll save on your food budget as well. Plus, you get to control what is put on your produce. Cutting some nasty chemicals and pesticides from your diet is always a positive.
Maybe you're in a rental or otherwise lack space for a generous garden plot. That's okay. Consider gardening on a small scale. Containers make gardening a hobby that anyone can enjoy. Nurture a few small plants and you just may be surprised at the return.
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Frugal Sewing and Crafting
Maybe sewing and crafting have always been favorite hobbies of yours, but the high cost of material, patterns, and supplies has made you consider giving them up. Instead, turn your hobby into a profitable situation by selling some of your handiwork. If this does not appeal to you, then consider using your skills to make gift items for friends and family. You can continue to enjoy your hobby and cut your holiday and special occasion spending at the same time.
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Cook Up a Storm
There are those who simply love to cook and bake. However, when cooking for a family, it can often become a chore, no longer a labor of love and a pleasure. It's important to remember why you love to cook. Set aside time each week to cook from the heart and for the love of it and not just out of necessity. Once again, turn your meal prep into something you look forward to doing. Try new dishes. Maybe consider some ethnic cuisine for a fresh spark. Make your own mixes and experiment with new ingredients. Then sit down and savor the results.
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Take Up Photography
Photography used to be an expensive pastime. But, this is no longer the case due to digital cameras. It can be a very affordable way to spend a few relaxing hours. Many of us have a digital camera taking up space and collecting dust. Well, dust off your camera and begin your quest for the perfect shot. Fill up your camera with loads of pictures. Print the ones you love and delete the others.
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Hunt for Treasure
Are you up for a treasure hunt? Maybe you have an adventurous spirit that's just waiting to be released. Then give Letterboxing or Geocaching a try. Visit Letterboxing.org for a list of letterboxes hidden in your area. Choose a box to hunt and follow the clues to its hiding spot. Or visit Geocaching.com for an anytime, anywhere adventure.
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Enjoy Your Hobby
Unfortunately sometimes a hobby is directly connected to your finances. If you find you must temporarily give up a beloved hobby that requires more investment than your budget allows, simply find a less expensive hobby to fill the void. Additional ideas include playing games and puzzles online, taking nature walks, bird watching, and fishing. There are far too many ideas to list here. The idea is to open your mind to the many possibilities. Your health and your stress-level will thank you.
Take the Next Step:
- Visit the TDS library for more on inexpensive hobbies.
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