Whether it’s an evening hiking through picturesque mountains or a day fishing on the lake – an outdoor hobby is a breath of fresh air in the middle of a work week.
Mundane routines take a toll on your mental and physical health, making you either unfit or stressed. That’s where outdoor hobbies come into play. Outdoor hobbies are like all-in-one packages; they are fun, make you productive while keeping away boredom, and keep you healthy at the same time.
However, pursuing an outdoor hobby can be expensive. The cost of equipment, gear, and other essentials can add up quickly. The good news is there are ways to save money while enjoying your outdoor hobbies to the fullest. Let’s explore them in this post.
1. Begin With A Budget
To have an outdoor hobby without breaking the bank, you need to know how much you can afford to spend.
Creating a budget is the first step towards saving money on outdoor hobbies. Decide how much you can realistically allocate for your hobby expenses and stick to it.
Ask questions like :
- What is the cost of the equipment/classes that I need?
- How much will it cost to maintain my hobby regularly?
- Are there periods where your hobby costs more or less due to seasonal variations?
- How much can you afford to spend on your hobby every month?
Through such questions, you’ll know how much your hobby will cost and can plan accordingly.
You could choose your hobbies based on your budget. You’re interested in horse riding, but what if monthly horse riding lessons cost you more than your $200 budget? In this case, you’d be smart to choose a different outdoor hobby, like hiking or bird watching, that fits your budget.
Remember that having a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the quality of your hobby experience. Instead, a budget is your guide on how to keep your passions alive without financial stress.
2. Research And Compare Prices
Do you research and compare prices before making any normal purchases?
If yes, then apply the same principle to your outdoor hobbies.
Take some time to browse through different stores and classes to compare prices. Don’t just settle for the first option you see.
Suppose you want to learn to surf. Then, get Google to find the best places to learn to Surf near you. List down the names of all the shops and classes that offer surfing lessons, along with their pricing packages. Even set up a spreadsheet comparing prices from different places as well as online sources. This research principle remains the same when it comes to buying equipment, gear, and other essentials for your hobby.
Here are a few more tips to consider:
- Look for deals during the off-season. You’ll be more likely to get deals on ski boots, helmets, and other sportswear just after the winter season and stores want to sell their stock.
- Consider package deals. Some shops, schools, and online retailers offer package deals for lessons and equipment rental or purchase. Find out if your hobby club or class has such collaborations where you can bundle services to create cost savings versus purchasing items separately.
- Look for online coupons and discount codes. If you’re interested in purchasing surfing gear from a specific online store, you could search for “Surfing Gear Store coupon code” or “Surfing equipment discount code.”
- Visit coupon websites and use apps. There are dedicated coupon websites that gather promotional codes from various retailers. Websites like RetailMeNot, Coupons.com, Groupon, or Honey often have a wide range of coupon codes for different products and stores.
From Amazon and REI to your local sports store – compare prices and choose the one that fits your budget. Don’t go on a touched-it-bought-it shopping spree. Be the intelligent buyer that you are, and save some cash while you’re at it.
3. Buy Or Borrow Second-Hand Equipment
Hand-me-downs are your new best friend, especially when it comes to saving money on outdoor hobbies.
Outdoor hobbies often require specific equipment and gear that can be quite expensive, especially if they are high-quality brands. And if you’re on a tight budget, then, instead of buying new items, go for second-hand equipment.
You can either them for a lower price or even borrow them from friends or family who have similar hobbies.
This means you have to amp up your networking and communication efforts. And since you’re looking for specific outdoor hobby items, you’ll need to focus your efforts in these ways:
- Look for and join Facebook Groups. Look for keywords like ‘Surf ATL’ for Atlanta surfing groups or ‘Backpacking gear sale’ to find backpacking items.
- Post ISO Requests. Create ‘In Search Of’ (ISO) posts within these groups to let members know what specific equipment you’re looking for.
- Explore local buy and sell groups. Look for local buy-and-sell groups specific to your area, allowing for convenient in-person meetups for gear exchanges.
- Attend group events. Participate in group meetups or events to network with fellow enthusiasts and find equipment opportunities.
These are just a few ideas to connect with others to buy outdoor gear second-hand. Don’t forget to post your needs online, ask friends, or check Craigslist.
Facebook groups are great for finding second-hand gear like the one here for backpacking. Image Source.
You might think that used equipment or gear might not be as good in quality, but that’s not the case. Before buying, be sure to inspect the item for any:
- Signs of wear and tear
- Missing pieces or parts.
- Test it out if possible to ensure that it still works correctly.
If everything checks out, then you can save a significant amount by buying second-hand equipment. With the above conditions checked, old can really be great for both your wallet and outdoor hobby.
Investing in brand-new is only sometimes necessary, especially when on a budget. Ultimately, it’s the joy of pursuing the hobby that matters, not the use of brand-new equipment.
4. Join A Hobby Club Or Group
Joining an outdoor hobby club or group can be beneficial in many ways. Not only do you get to meet and interact with like-minded people, but you can also save money on your hobby.
Many clubs and groups offer discounted rates for their members regarding equipment rentals or group classes. They organize activities in group settings, which can sometimes be cheaper than doing them individually.
Hiking clubs, for example, often take group trips to different hiking trails at a lower cost per person than if you were to go alone.
At times, you don’t even need to worry about getting equipment or gear, as the club might provide them for free or rent them out at discounted rates. Such group activities are safer and more enjoyable.
Being solo and happy is great, but sharing your hobby with a group of people at a lower cost makes it even better.
5. Try Free Outdoor Hobbies
Nature is the best playground, and it’s free!
Many outdoor hobbies, such as hiking, bird watching, or even stargazing, require no equipment or gear. All you need are your two feet and a sense of adventure.
You can also utilize free resources such as public parks, beaches, and forests to engage in outdoor hobbies. These locations often have designated sites or trails for activities like camping, fishing, and rock climbing – all free.
You don’t always need to learn something new or buy new equipment to enjoy your outdoor hobbies. Polishing your old hobbies or finding new ways to enjoy them can save you money.
6. Look Up DIYs Online
The internet is full of resources and tips on how to save money on various outdoor hobbies. From DIY gear tutorials to learning new skills, you can find it all online.
For example, just look up ‘diy surfboard painting’ on YouTube. You get so many great ideas for making your surfing gear look good.
Check out DIY in Sporting on places like YouTube. Image source.
Paying for classes or lessons can be expensive, but there are other options. With sites and videos like YouTube, you can learn a new hobby or skill for free.
Furthermore, many outdoor hobby enthusiasts have blogs or social media accounts where they share tips and tricks on how to save money while pursuing their hobbies. Remember to read the captions of social media posts, you’ll find many useful information there.
A fishing enthusiast and influencer helps people find kayaking items for free. Image Source.
At times, influencers give the store names or locations where you’d find discounted, top-class, ‘will-last-for-years’ kind of amazing gear.
The internet is a net of vast information, all you need to do is look for it. If used properly, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to saving money on outdoor hobbies.
Outdoor hobbies don’t have to be expensive to be fun and fulfilling.
With some planning, research, and creativity, you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activities without breaking the bank.
Don’t let financial limitations stop you from pursuing your passions. You can’t put a price on the mental, physical, and emotional benefits that outdoor hobbies bring.
Remember, an outdoor hobby isn’t just for those who can afford it; it’s for anyone with the passion and drive to experience the great outdoors.