Picking up a new hobby is a fantastic exercise for your mental health, but people sure make it sound easier (and cheaper) to do than it is. Learning to bake means throwing away many “practice runs,” and the price of guitar lessons, let alone the guitar itself, puts that hobby on pause for many. Here are some tips on how to start a new hobby without huge starting costs so you and your wallet can work together creatively.

Think Digital

Fully digital hobbies sway between some of the most expensive options (we see you, mobile gaming) and some of the cheapest. Some hobbies are free if you have a phone or a computer. Whether it’s poetry or stand-up skits, writing can stay purely digital. Running a blog is another affordable hobby that costs only the price of your domain, which is typically less than $20 a month. Finally, most modern smartphone cameras compete with handheld cameras, so you can also take up photography at no cost!

Keep an Eye Out for Beginner Options

Sometimes, if you’re trying to pick up a new hobby from scratch, the number of different tools and supplies that books and blogs suggest you need adds up. However, keep in mind that most hobbyists amass these supplies per project over many years (or even decades). While it might make the job easier, having every possible tool for the hobby isn’t necessary to start out.

Instead, look for beginner options, like kits or fully contained projects. These beginner sets are a great way to dip your toes in and decide if this is a craft you want to invest more time in. For example, quilting kits supply almost everything you need to try out the historied hobby and guidance on how to create a cute finished product. Perler beads also come with finished patterns or shaped pegboards to start you off, so start there instead of the 25K bead bucket you might not use again.

Look for Local Options

A great way to dip your toes into a new hobby without putting too much money in is to start on a local level. There are crafters and hobbyists all around you; they run stores, teach classes, and introduce new people to the things they love. Not only is engaging the local hobby scene a great way to learn and discover new interests, but your peers can often point you in the direction of better deals. Sometimes, spending time around these hobbyists gets you free supplies as they often have some to spare!

Anyone looking to start a new hobby without huge starting costs should know that once you find that hobby you’re more passionate about, it finds ways to eat at your paycheck. Still, having a way to escape work and engage with a new community through something you love is almost always worth the price.

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