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cdttmm
7-10-11, 8:53am
A few people have referenced taking up new hobbies lately. I believe we had a thread on the old boards about frugal hobbies, so thought it would be fun to start that up again.

What are your current frugal hobbies? What are some future frugal hobbies you might like to take up? Why?

cdttmm
7-10-11, 9:07am
I realized yesterday that I have a lot of hobbies. My most frugal is reading, although I could make it even more frugal by getting books from the library. Instead, I buy almost all of my books secondhand for a fraction of their cover price. I also get a number of books through paperbackswap.com. Most of my new books are given to me as gifts because my entire family loves to read. I do like to re-read all or part of most of my books and since they are largely non-fiction, most are reference tools in my mind. The unfrugal part of my reading hobby is that I love to own my books and, therefore, I have to store them somewhere. I could probably live in a much smaller house if I didn't feel the need to own 3000+ books. Good thing I really love our house and would probably want to live here even if I didn't need some place to house a small personal library!

Another one of my frugal hobbies is trail running. We live less than a mile from a state reservation, so I can run from our house to the trails and spend hours running on the trails before running back home. Although good quality running shoes can be expensive (~$100 per pair), I figure the amount of enjoyment I get out of a single pair is pretty high. Unlike a few of my runner friends, I don't feel a need to buy a lot of matching running outfits or the latest fashions in technical wear. Instead, I buy at the thrift store at $2-$3 for a shirt or a pair of shorts. I also wash my running gear in cold water and hang it to dry, which extends its life considerably. I have shirts and shorts that I've been wearing for 8 years that are still going strong. I do have to replace my hydration system finally, which will cost about ~$40, but that should last me another 8-10 years, so it works out to be pretty inexpensive in the long run (no pun intended!).

Kestra
7-10-11, 10:03am
Reading - very frugal when you use the free public library. Also I've been working on a cross-stitch project for almost ten years now, so pretty frugal on a cost per hour basis. If I worked faster it'd be less frugal!
Walking is good. Especially like going to new areas to look at the houses.
My biggest hobby of puttering is also very low cost.

Tradd
7-10-11, 10:17am
Reading, walking, cooking, writing (includes snail mail letters), photography (very basic digital), church choir.

herisf
7-10-11, 10:25am
Reading, almost all from the library for either ebooks (I can access 4 library systems) or tree books. Playing with the dogs, which is always good for a laugh. Don't know if I can count this as enjoyable, but there's always weeds to pull!

Sad Eyed Lady
7-10-11, 11:43am
Reading - all books from the library; journaling and other writing, including, as Tradd said, snail mail; walking; knitting (not entirely frugal but not pricey); and I make collage greeting cards. The cards are very frugal as I usually just use things I have cut from old magazines that have been given to me. Sometimes I go to the Dollar Tree and splurge on some embellishments for the cards, but I even find them sometimes at yard sales or thrift stores.

Rosemary
7-10-11, 1:20pm
I think that, on a per-hour basis, nearly all hobbies that aren't entertainment-based are frugal. Even knitting with locally grown, spun, and dyed yarn is pretty frugal on an hourly basis (especially if you knit as slowly as I do!) compared to going to see a movie that costs $9 for 2 hours. By entertainment-based I mean movies at a theater, concerts, stage performances, and professional sports events. Not that there isn't a place for those in peoples' lives - they just cost a lot more than most other hobbies. And if those activities are desired, community-based events are a far more frugal option. Many hobbies also produce an end product that rewards the maker as well as possible gift recipients.

rosarugosa
7-10-11, 8:48pm
Rosemary, You make some good points. A lot of folks pay for things like landscaping and fine dining at restaurants, but if your hobbies include gardening or cooking, you can provide these services for yourself and get pleasure from the process as well as the result.
I think many hobbies can be either frugal or expensive, depending on how you approach them. We've spent a lot of money on our gardening over the years, but some of the costs (e.g. tools, hardscape, gazebo) are non-recurring. In the past couple of years, I've been trying to solve landscapping dilemmas with more creativity and less money. Besides, one eventually runs out of space for new plants!

mm1970
7-10-11, 10:03pm
I can think of a lot of frugal hobbies: walking, running, reading, sewing, knitting (if you do it right).

But my hobbies right now are decidedly UN-frugal: triathlon training (paying $250 for the training group) and quilting...which is technically frugal NOW, but wasn't 7 years ago when I spent easily a thousand bucks on fabric.

ApatheticNoMore
7-10-11, 11:49pm
I think that, on a per-hour basis, nearly all hobbies that aren't entertainment-based are frugal.

No ..... suppose your hobby is a musical instrument, if you take lessons NOT FRUGAL. If you take lessons in anything it can easily become not frugal. Some hobbies also seem to require a lot of equipment, like boating or skiing or something, not the slightest bit frugal. Those types of hobbies make movies seem like chump change.

cdttmm
7-11-11, 8:47am
I've definitely had my fair share of un-frugal hobbies. Mostly because when I really like an activity, I invest in all the equipment rather than renting. I tend to stick with an activity for years, so the equipment is probably fairly frugal in the long run, but the amount of travel induced by my chosen hobbies is a problem.

In the past I was an avid mountain biker. I was upgrading bikes every 2 years. Fortunately, I had a connection in the industry, so I was buying expensive equipment at a significant discount. But I was spending loads of money flying to novel places to ride for a week. I live in New England, yet I've ridden some of the best trails in the U.S. Southwest. Ummm...it is not frugal to fly cross-country with your bike, rent a minivan, stay in a hotel, eat out every day, and mountain bike. Of course, I also spent countless hours exploring local trails (New England has some great riding!) that are right in my own backyard.




But my hobbies right now are decidedly UN-frugal: triathlon training (paying $250 for the training group)

I transitioned to triathlon when my surgeon - upon repair of my body - recommended I take up a tamer hobby after one particularly bad mountain biking crash. I received a road bike as a gift, but laid out plenty of cash for other tri gear and spent thousands of dollars on race entry fees not to mention the travel to my favorite triathlon, which happens to be in the PNW.

In and amongst mountain biking and triathlon, I've also enjoyed skydiving, rock climbing, and SCUBA diving, none of which are frugal hobbies.

In the past, I wouldn't even consider my gardening a frugal hobby...you know you are spending a lot of money when the owner of the local nursery asks you if you are starting a landscaping business. :|(

So, I think hobbies can be as frugal or as un-frugal as you make them. But I seem to have a penchant for the un-frugal variety. So I'm working hard to cultivate more frugal approaches to what I do in my leisure time. Especially because I would like to continue in my semi-retirement.

oneroomlife
7-11-11, 11:25am
I sew. But i do not buy any supplies in a fabric stores, rather church sales and thrift stores. I deconstruct old items for the fabric and do a lot of creative remodelling of garments. But most frugal of all is my hobby of repairing old well-made sewing machines for resale. A few small tools and an online source for small parts, one desk/repair station in my room. I re-sell these older solid metal machines to people who appreciate good machinery. i do not stockpile machines and parts like I used to, preferring to do them one at a time. My other hobbies take no special infrastructure or space. I'd like to have a model train layout, but it's an extravagant use of space, time and money, so I go trainspotting instead. :)

Float On
7-11-11, 11:35am
I sew. But i do not buy any supplies in a fabric stores, rather church sales and thrift stores. I deconstruct old items for the fabric and do a lot of creative remodelling of garments. :)

I forgot about my sewing hobby. Yesterday I rec'd many compliments on my skirt. It was fun to say 'oh this was a $2.00 tablecloth and only took about 1/2 hour to make'. I had several ladies ask me to take them thrift shop hunting for fabrics.

I thought I posted earlier about my kayak hobby but just remembered that that was when our electricity went out for an hour. So I'll try to remember what I wrote.

My kayak was a great find on craigslist. I splurged for a good quality paddle and lifevest and it was still under $300. My pass to Core of Engineers boat ramps is $35 a year but that also covers swimming beaches and it can be used in any state at any CoE run lakes. Before I found my good deal on craigslist I was renting a kayak for $20 for several hours (local discount). I'm on the lookout for 2 more kayaks because my kids enjoy it as well.

Knitting isn't very expensive. Found all the needles I'll ever need at a thrift shop and I do buy good quality yarns but only for specific projects. I will not hoard yarn like I do fabrics.

Gardening has become a bit expensive for me because I build raised beds and anytime I have a fail (like this years squash) then I feel it's too expensive.

Polliwog
7-11-11, 2:12pm
Reading - all books from the library; journaling and other writing, including, as Tradd said, snail mail; walking; knitting (not entirely frugal but not pricey); and I make collage greeting cards. The cards are very frugal as I usually just use things I have cut from old magazines that have been given to me. Sometimes I go to the Dollar Tree and splurge on some embellishments for the cards, but I even find them sometimes at yard sales or thrift stores.

Hi S_P, I would love to see an example of one of your cards and/or some simple instructions, e.g, what is the medium you use to collage, etc. I love the creativity involved in this hobby.

treehugger
7-11-11, 2:46pm
Reading is my life-long, most-frugal hobby (I don't buy books; I only use the library), but my favorite hobby these days is cooking.

Now, I realize that not everyone sees cooking as a fun pastime, since it can be a chore and one needs to eat every day anyway, and also cooking can definitely be an unfrugal pursuit if one buys lots of expensive tools and ingredients, but in these tightly budgeted times (speaking for myself), cooking is my main source of pleasurable activity and entertainment.

I shop using my price book and the sale flyers and then I plan my meals around what I can buy inexpensively. I read through my existing cookbooks and peruse the web for new recipes that don't require me to buy anything costly. I enjoy the whole process, the planning, researching, shopping, preparation, serving, and eating.

And hey, we do have to eat every day and we don't eat out, ever (unless someone treats us; it's my birthday next month and my parents will take us out, yay!), so cooking is a necessity. I'm ever-thankful that I also enjoy it.

Friday I went to the local Mexican market and bought achiote seeds, masa harina, and 2 kinds of chiles very cheaply. Last night for dinner I slow-cooked a pork shoulder (a very inexpensive cut of meat) in achiote paste, and then served it with pinto beans (cooked in the crockpot in bulk from a 25-pound bag), cabbage salad, and (my first ever!) homemade corn tortillas. Yum! And I had fun, too. :)

The tortillas were much easier to make than I had thought they would be, even though I don't have a tortilla press. I will, however, not buy whole achiote seeds again since grinding them by hand was a giant pain in the (tendonitis-prone) hands (I don't have a spice/coffee grinder). But the market sells them pre-ground, too, and almost as cheap.

Kara

early morning
7-11-11, 8:19pm
I guess my main hobby, like many, is reading library books. We also enjoy watching TV series from the library (just finished the first season of Foyle's War, waiting on the second!) fiddling around in the yard as the mood strikes me, sewing things for the house, and hunting for grungy old things for my home (cheaply, of course :)).

SiouzQ.
7-11-11, 9:55pm
My frugal hobby (and saves space too) is songwriting. All I need is a guitar and a notebook (except I had to pay for several years of lessons in order to get to the point of being able to write songs)! Highly portable as well!