Starting A New Hobby? Start Slowly!

Peter's picture

When was the last time you wanted to start a new hobby and bought a bunch of stuff that you ended up using once or twice? It happens to the best of us and if can be a big drain on our financial resources. How can we make hobbies less of a financial drain? Start slowly!

My Hobby Mistakes

I've always had a bit of an artistic side and as a result I've frequently found myself wanting to try out new artistic endeavours. When I first started earning a decent amount of money from my employment I often found myself at an art store eyeing some fancy new supplies. New oil paints, a painter's box, an easel, some good pastels; you name it I wanted it.

I would look at a painter's box, some oil paints and brushes and imagine myself following in Tom Thomson's footsteps, sitting on the edge of a lake capturing the moment perfectly. And I'd buy it. Of course, in reality I would achieve much less of a masterpiece than Tom did and I'd only get around to trying it the one time. Then I'd put the paints and brushes on the shelf and eventually in a box in the basement until I got the urge and the time to try again.

In hindsight, I would have been much better off buying six small tubes of paint, a couple of brushes, picking up some cheap Masonite boards to paint on and carrying everything in a plastic bag. It would have cost a lot less for me to learn that Tom Thompson was a very talented artist and it would take a lot of work for me to get to that level. It didn't matter what caliber of paint I bought.

We Can't Buy Everything

I think we all find ourselves in similar situations at one time or another. We trick ourselves into thinking we can buy our way to something that can really only be achieved through time and effort. This is especially true with hobbies that require dedication and skill in addition to supplies and materials. My painting anecdote is one example but there are tons of others. Here are a few more that might ring true with you:

  • You want to try golfing so you go out and get a set of clubs like Tiger uses.
  • You want to get into video editing so you go out and get yourself a top-of-the-line computer and some professional grade video editing software like what they used when making The Lord of the Rings movie.
  • You want to get into gardening so you break the bank at Lee Valley Tools.
  • You want to start jogging so you buy the best shoes on the market and a different running outfit for each day of the week.

Some hobbies can really cost you a small fortune out of the blocks if you try to get the best stuff. There's a better way though.

Ease Into It

A better, and cheaper, approach is to ease into your new hobby on the most basic level possible. Try it out for a while to see if you will enjoy it and stick with it before getting the best equipment money can buy. Try renting, buying used, or buy basic supplies or tools to start out. More often than not, you'll find that the limiting factor is you and not your equipment.

As I've discussed before, to get the most value for your money you need to actually use your stuff. If it's going to sit on a shelf unused, it's not worth the cost. So save yourself a bundle and take your hobby for a test drive first!


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Along the same lines, if you

Along the same lines, if you can find others who already enjoy the hobby you can likely get their starter or used equipment very cheaply if not free. I know from experience (both as a giver and receiver) that this works very well with gardening and gardeners.

Peter's picture

Good tip! I guess you could

Good tip! I guess you could even borrow the tools as you need them just to try things out to see whether you'll be sticking with your new hobby.

Gardeners are also great for sharing seeds and cuttings to a fellow gardener which is a great way to add variety to your garden while keeping things frugal.

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