Hobbies Gone Haywire

Guest Contributor Lisa Skordahl makes her home in Coon Rapids, Minnesota with her husband and two wonderful daughters. She works as an accountant and enjoys teaching and counseling in personal finance. She is driven by a desire to help others succeed when it comes to money, no matter their income.

Winter in Minnesota is a great time to start a new hobby or get back into an old one. Whether you choose some warm indoor pursuit such as scrapbooking, jewelry making, or knitting, or outdoor adventures such as snowmobiling or ice fishing, there are plenty of hobbies to help beat the winter doldrums.

With many recreational activities, there may be a cost involved. What’s important when considering your budget is a realistic estimate for the hobbies your family may have. Try not to minimize or hide what is spent, but instead, thoughtfully consider what the full cost of pursuing the hobby will be. It is detrimental to budgeting when we underestimate expenditures or make assumptions that we will find the money somewhere else at the right time. For instance, if you enjoy scrapbooking, consider the cost of materials, photo printing, retreats, and any other expenses you may encounter throughout the year.

The purpose of any hobby is pleasure or relaxation. Knowing that you have set aside funds for your hobby will give you the security of knowing the needs of the family will not suffer. For me, this element is crucial. Sometimes moms feel guilty spending money on themselves, and we target our hobbies as the first item that can be cut out when other financial expenditures arise in our lives. It is a healthy part of living when we can learn to relax and enjoy life. The Bible even talks about observing a day of rest. God knows what our body needs!

Sometimes, cutting back on expenditures might be required, but many hobbies can be enjoyed with minimal spending. It’s important not to overdo it and create an imbalance in a relationship. Since opposites attract, many times one spouse may be a spender, while  the other is a saver (Maybe this is true in your relationship? I know it is in mine!). The spender may have a hobby that requires a substantial sum from the budget, which can leave the frugal spouse feeling resentful when there isn’t money left for them to enjoy a special hobby of their own.

If this is true in your marriage, seek to find a balance by making equal funds available to each spouse. You may find it easiest to set aside funds for each of you, even if one of you hasn’t decided how they will use the funds. In our budget, we decided on an affordable monthly amount for each of us to spend however we want. This has made a big difference in the decisions we have made for the hobbies that each of us enjoy, and balance has been restored in our relationship. Maybe it’s time to dust off those old hobbies in the New Year and rethink the budget.

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