Expensive Hobbies and Habits and Their Cost-Saving Alternatives

cost saving alternatives to expensive coffee Scrapbooking. Spa Days. Golf. Sewing. Travel. Gourmet Coffee. Smoking. Clothing. Dining Out.

Hobbies are meant to be a time to relax, release some stress and have fun. Hobbies are enjoyable because they are always something you enjoy.

Habits are formed for similar reasons. They can help you relax, help you release stress and occasionally bring fun to your life as well.

All of the activities mentioned above are either habits or hobbies. And all can be budget busters when allowed to be. Some people may feel that they have to give up the things they love in order to save money.

In the case of the habits, many of us would try to break those but if that isn’t an interest for you, it is good to know there are cost-saving alternatives.


Good Alternative

Better Alternative

Playing Golf

Share clubs with a friend. Keep an eye out for deals on membership dues.

Buy used clubs. Play at public courses and barter for cheaper green fees.


Buy supplies at yard sales, on eBay, Craigslist or The Dollar Store.

Use digital scrapbooking.

Acrylic Nails

Find a local beauty school and utilize their services. Remember, if they ever make a mistake, a teacher will be there to fix it so your risk is very low.

Go for natural nails, it is better for you.

Salon Visits

Again, a beauty school is the way to go for cost-saving alternatives to your traditional salon or spa visits.

Have your eyebrows done once professionally and then pluck them yourself to maintain. Dye your hair from a box. If you stick with one color, it’s very simple and very low risk.

Crafting hobbies like jewelry making, beading, sewing and the like.

Set a strict budget and stick to it. Shop arts and crafts stores and only buy when there are sales and coupons offered.

Find deals at yard sales, eBay, Craigslist or Freecycle/

Following your favorite band across the country.

Stick to concerts you can drive to on one tank of gas and avoid always buying the best tickets available.

Stick to only the show closest to you and make sure you save up for the show by budgeting for it.

ย *If you have read my own blog, you will know which one of those hobbies got me into a lot of trouble financially and why it is important for me to mention it.

Many habits are not healthy for us but breaking yourself from it may be something that you can not do at this time. Start with the good alternative and then work your way to the better one. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, sometimes it is fine to wean yourself slowly.


Good Alternative

Better Alternative

Gourmet Coffee

Try less expensive coffee at places like McDonald’s or Tim Hortons.

Make it at home and carry a to-go cup.

Dining Out

Only dine when you have a coupon, stick to water or split an entree. Try Restaurant.com for less expensive gift cards.

Order 1 entree and bring it home then pair it with a homemade salad and split the entree up into two meals.

Drinking Wine

Two-Buck Chuck (Otherwise known as Charles Shaw and sold at Trader Joe’s. Tastes good and costs just a few dollars.)

Cutting back or quitting alcohol completely.




ย (Dining out could also be considered a hobby as it is something that people do regularly for the entertainment value.)

In the case of the hobbies, it is very important to remember that they are important to your sanity. Paying off your debt and sticking to a strict budget can be very stressful, use these alternatives to take the some of the damage out of potential budget busters.

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23 Responses to “Expensive Hobbies and Habits and Their Cost-Saving Alternatives”

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  1. Michelle says:

    Dining out is our KILLER!

    • Jessica says:

      The habit of dining out takes a lot of effort to break. When I did Brad’s No Restaurants in November challenge, I saw a HUGE difference. We haven’t eaten up by maybe 3 times since then.

  2. So weird! I was just getting ready to write a post on this same subject for my own blog! Great minds thing alike!

  3. Des says:

    Even better than two-buck Chuck (which now costs $3), try some of the newer boxed wines. I can’t speak for Franzia (though I haven’t heard good things) but Target’s boxed wines are actually pretty good. Not award-winning, but very drinkable. There is also a brand called “Black Box” that *did* win awards, and is quite good. Better than Chuck, IMHO. Plus, boxed wines stay good for a month after opening. We buy a few nicer bottles of wine when they go on sale to take to friends houses, but we always drink boxed at home.

    • Jessica says:

      Those are great suggestions! Thank you. I’m writing them down to try. I have a friend who drinks Winking Owl, sold at Aldi’s but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m pretty sure in Ohio, Two Buck Chuck is four bucks. lol

  4. Young says:

    The beauty tips are absolutely a money saver. Having your nails or hair done professionally and then maintaining at home will help keep dollars in your pocket. Stay young and thrifty ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Daisy says:

    I used to have acrylic nails, but I decided I didn’t want them anymore. They were uncomfortable and looked tacky after a couple of weeks if I didn’t get back to the nail salon, lol. It’s funny, cause I wrote about hobbies today too!

  6. Jessica says:

    And then they break and you look ridiculous with a missing finger nail but then there’s an added expense of going in for the repairs on top of the balances, etc.They are a total waste of money.

  7. Jana says:

    As the wife of a golfer, I’m going to interject here that sharing clubs with a friend is a bad idea. If you’re serious about golf, or even semi-serious, you’re going to have clubs that are tailored to you–grips, weight of clubs, height of clubs…there are a ton of variables that go into having a good set of golf clubs. You and your friend are going to have different needs and preferences. Additionally, what if you and your friend want to go on the same day? Who gets the clubs?

    If you’re a casual golfer, you can rent clubs. Much cheaper.

    I think I’m going to write a post on this…

  8. Einstein says:

    Man, golf’s a tough one. The clubs are a few hundred, and green fees range from practically nothing to a night’s stay in some of the best hotels. I, for one, really like the sport. Unfortunately for me, it is quite pricey. I always try to catch the latest local course Groupons as they come out. My area’s golf spots love to discount 1-5 rounds at 50% or more, which is quite the bargain, if I do say so myself.

  9. 1 Alternative to Golf is Frisbee golf. All you need is a few $10 discs to get started and the courses are free.

  10. Ella says:

    I do all my spa myself at home, it saves me a lot of money, especially if you had seen how expensive spas are here in Norway. I also prefer hosting dinners instead of going out to eat with friends, it’s cheaper and people enjoy it more!

  11. I think the trick is to choose — you can’t golf, scrapbook, make jewelry, get your nails done, all at once. But you shouldn’t deprive yourself of something you love at the cost of everything else. So, golf, or get that coffee. Just don’t do them all.

  12. Ashley says:

    I am really struggling with my dining out expenses and the idea about splitting the meal in two is great! One of the main reasons I eat out is that I’m too tired at the end of the day to cook. I’m going to try this out this week and see how it goes.

    • Jessica says:

      Ashley, I would suggest doing a couple of different things to avoid dining out. Spend time on Sunday (or whatever your day off may be) and cook something for the week. Whether it is a lasagna or a huge pot of stew, spend a few hours making food to have ready for when you get home from work. What I do is roast a whole chicken and/or saute some boneless skinless chicken breasts in my wok. Then I make up a huge salad (minus cukes cause they ruin the salad w/their water content) and cut/clean other veggies for side dishes. These also work great for lunches.

      • Ashley says:

        I started today and cooked some salmon that has been in my freezer forever. I cooked enough fillets to last for the week, along with veggies and rice. It’s refreshing to know that I don’t have to worry about cooking at all this week.

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