You’re never too old to pick up a new hobby. From spending weekends hiking through nature identifying different birds to taking up arts and crafts, there are dozens of different hobbies and activities to choose from. For many of these hobbies, you don’t have to be rich and you don’t have to be an expert in the field—learning is part of the fun. If you’re looking for a new hobby, use this guide to help you find something you enjoy and can afford.
Determine where and when you want to do your hobby.
Hobbies range from indoor to outdoor and vary by season. Some people enjoy skiing as a hobby but can only do it during the cold winter months. Other people look for hobbies they can do each day, like fishing or running.
Evaluate your goals with taking up a hobby to see which ones are good for you. For example, a stress-reducing hobby that you can do inside might involve solving jigsaw puzzles. You can put together a few pieces each day and enjoy a puzzle regardless of the weather. This is a great option if you want to watch less TV and relax after a long day.
Set a monthly budget.
One issue that people have with hobbies is the cost. For example, you might want to take up flying but can’t afford classes, or enjoy travel but can only take one trip per year.
For your hobby, set a monthly budget to pursue the activities you love. You can use this money to invest in hobby-related experiences or to increase the amount of gear you have. Another great example is shooting as a hobby. Along with using your budget to secure the proper hunting licenses and ammunition, you can also treat yourself to fancy leather rifle cases or other gun accessories. If you don’t use the full amount in your hobby budget, you can rollover the funds to the next month.
Look for ways to connect with people.
Hobbies can be done as solo activities (like completing a jigsaw puzzle at your kitchen table) but many people take them up as a way to make friends. Look for nearby clubs and organizations with people who share your interests. You can also find groups of people online who share your hobbies.
Howard Fensterman has a great website if you are interested in different exotic rocks and minerals in your area. This is a jumping-off point for learning about different minerals and how to identify them. You can also join other geology groups on social media and share the minerals you find with people across the country.
Try out the hobby before you buy gear.
One of the reasons hobbies are expensive is because people want all of the best gear. To get into camping, you need a tent, sleeping bag, travel stove, hiking gear, and other materials. These items can get costly—especially if you are buying new, brand name products.
Start your hobby off with minimal gear and only buy things that are essential. For example, borrow camping equipment from someone to see what is actually useful or buy only a few items at a time. You can also look for garage sales and gently used items online to get the gear you need at a discounted price.
Testing out a hobby is also ideal before you spend money on something you don’t like. If you find that you don’t actually enjoy camping, you are stuck with all the gear you bought but will never use.
Hobbies are meant to be stress-free and fun for everyone involved. Look for activities you enjoy and can share with others to brighten up your life. With the right budget, you can afford the gear and materials you need.