Thursday, August 31, 2006

Low-Cost Hobbies

By Brandi M. Seals

Is your husband or wife constantly telling you that you need to do something with your time? Or are you otherwise just looking for a way to fill some of your free time with something that will make you happy? You are in need of a new hobby.

There are plenty of hobbies out there. Collect baseball cards, scrapbook all your memories, or record everything with a camera. When looking for a new hobby it can often be hard to decide if you are really going to like something. Often times, new hobbies have considerable start up cost. Next time you are looking to try something new but do not want to be out an arm and a leg, try one of the following hobbies. They are great fun and considerably low-costing.

1.) Running
Running is a great way to burn some calories, get into shape, and get some fresh air. As long as you are not suffering from some age old injury to your ankle or knees, running should work for anyone. The only supplies new runners will need are some work out clothes and a good pair of shoes. Once you have that simply lace up a pair of running sneakers and pick a path.

Safety is always very important, so if you will be running alone, make sure it is in an open area where lots of people can see you. It is also a good idea to very your routine, especially if you like to run in the early morning or late evenings. Someone could pick up on your habits and use that to their advantage.

2.) Cooking
You have got to eat anyway, so why not hone your cooking skills. Next time you are making dinner for your family try out a new recipe. As long as you don't go too hard on your first try, you will probably have all the equipment in your kitchen already. And, if cost is a concern, just pick recipes with low-costing ingredients.

If you are already a master at Italian cuisine, perhaps it is time to tackle a new genre. Or, if you are a cooking pro, try baking. Producing yummy, gooey brownies may be harder than you thought - especially if you are not using a boxed mix.

3.) Photography
Photography was once quite a pricey hobby to have, but now just about anyone can afford to become an amateur photographer. Do not run out and buy a $900 digital SLR or even a $300 film SLR. See if you like photography first by using the point and shoot camera you already have. Start looking for shots that are not your typical shot of the kids. Look at flowers, landscapes and more. Once you develop an eye for the perfect photography you may wish to upgrade your equipment.

If you like an automated camera, buy a digital. You can get excellent pictures from even a moderately priced digital camera. When purchasing, make sure the camera has enough memory to satisfy you and a zoom of at least 10. If you shop at the right time, this type of camera does not have to cost more than $250.

If you are looking to control everything yourself, perhaps look into getting a film SLR camera. They generally run several hundred dollars under their digital counterparts, but will require you to spend money for the film development. But, the upfront savings may be just what you need.

4.) Knitting
There are few other hobbies that have as low of a start up costs as knitting. An initial investment in some knitting needles and a skein of yarn is all you need. That is what, maybe $20? Such a small investment can lead to you making all sorts of things.

If you want to take up knitting but do not know how to knit, it is time to cozy up to your mom, grandma or friend that knows how. It is fairly easy to pick up and after awhile you will be amazed at how fast you can turn out wash clothes, scarves, and even socks.

Don't know anyone who knows how to knit? There are instructions available on several websites, just use a search engine to search "how to knit". You may also be able to find a knitting class at your local craft store. One course should be all you need for the more basic knitting projects.

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