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Queen of free: Create guidelines to enjoy hobbies

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Life is filled with passions. Reading, cooking, sports, artistic pursuits — all are a very good thing. However, the hobbies and personal pursuits that multiply our joy can also divide our bank accounts.

It’s easy to get carried away and not realize how much we’ve spent or what we could have done with the money used to fund pastimes. This doesn’t mean you abandon what brings you joy and lead a dull and boring existence. On the contrary, with guiding principles, you can pursue leisure activities without breaking the bank.

Keep a proper balance

Your time is as worthwhile as your money. It’s a good idea to question how much time your hobbies occupy. If you’re spending more time on recreation than your employment or than you do with your family, it’s time to make a priority shift. It’s easy to get wrapped up in entertainment without realizing the total investment. Be sure you keep track of your minutes as well as your dollars.

Keep a bargain mindset

Always pursue a bargain when it comes to the supplies and equipment necessary for your passion. Whether you’re purchasing clubs or cameras, you don’t need to spend top dollar to have fun even when striving toward your personal best.

Whether you purchase new or used, Craigslist, your social media networks, secondhand stores and even yard sales can help you enjoy leisure time without a gut full of regret. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to play the PGA or win a World Press Photo award. You don’t have to use broken or tattered gear; however, you need to be realistic about how much you choose to spend.

Always pay cash or save to pay cash for your hobbies. Financing them on credit will bring more woe than joy in the long run.

Keep perspective

I love cycling. I’ve even ridden across the state of Indiana multiple times. Because of both my passion and penny-pinching ways, I often am asked how to save when it comes to purchasing a quality pair of wheels. The first words out of my mouth typically are, “Don’t forget, you live in Indiana. For at least three months of the year, your bike is likely to hang in the garage.”

You should definitely keep perspective when it comes to hobbies when you make an investment in a piece of equipment. The best question you can ask is: How often will I really use it?

Keep your eyes open

Keep your eyes open for moneymaking opportunities. Every once in a while, a hobby can become a moneymaking opportunity. If you enjoy writing, you might be able to blog and make a bit of money. A fondness for dogs could lead to a grooming or walking business.

Any time you can turn something you love to do into a stream of revenue, you’ve found one of life’s sweet spots. Even if you only make a small amount of income, that money could be used to further follow passion. Whether you put in a few hours working at a driving range or take photos for families, think creatively of ways to make some cash off your hobby.

Don’t worry; I still want you to have fun. I still want you to pursue those hobbies that bring you great joy. There’s much to be seen, done and learned in this life.

Live it to the fullest!

Simply pause before mindlessly purchasing to reflect upon the overall investment you will make, both with your time and money. Once you’ve wisely considered the total expense, only use cash to make your purchase and of course make me proud by scoring the best deal possible.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net.

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