A Hobby Can Be Good or Bad Depending On Your Mental Health

It seems we are a nation obsessed with hobbies. There are also individuals whose mental state is so far removed from reality that hobbies are their addiction! Singing is mine. I like to sing. It cost $96.00 per year plus tax, $150 for a decent microphone and can take up a total of 45 to 90 minutes a day. However there are people who make this hobby their obsession and may spend thousands on equipment and/or spend hours singing, or watching others sing. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pintrest, MySpace are sites that may not cost a lot in terms of money but can rob the family of valued interpersonal relationships, personal learning time, or your relationship to God in quality time. In other words whatever you do, do in moderation! Here are 45 /Bible verses about moderation: 

Greg Smalley of Focus On The Family says that hobbies are part of how we express our individuality. In the daily grind of life, they’re also a way we can unwind, have some fun, and do the things we most enjoy. Without this outlet, life would be a lot more stressful. You could say that having hobbies is good for your health and mental well being, but is that always true? Are you aware that you can become obsessed and addicted to hobbies? Are you aware that there are some downright fool-hardy hobbies! Hobbies also can be downright expensive and a huge strain when balancing your budget: a source of family and financial stress.
Here’s a list of some of the most expensive hobbies in the world: 
Addictive exercising ( http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/09/27/how-much-working-out-is-too-much/ ), big game hunting, moto-cross, sailing, flying, mountain climbing, scuba diving, cigarette boat racing, hot air ballooning, collecting art and other expensive antiques or memorabilia, drag racing, flying, horseback riding, playing polo, ballroom dancing, tornado chasing, and sky diving.
Some of these hobbies can cost thousands or even millions of dollars a year! It’s important to keep in mind, however, that hobbies should be relative to your lifestyle and income level and agreed time away from family. Someone who is making several million a year can afford to spend more on their hobbies. What would be an expensive hobby for us might only be consuming 1% of another person’s income.
So, how much should YOU be spending on your hobbies?
The amount will differ for each person. There’s no set percentage of your budget, because each person’s budget is unique. When you organize your budget, you should, of course, prioritize your mortgage, car loans, utilities, necessities, and savings. The average hobby is around 1-2% of your yearly income.
If you still have discretionary spending money after your bills are paid, agreed family needs are met,  and you’ve set aside the recommended 10% for God, and 10% of your income for savings, by all means spend some of it on a hobby.
Married should allow themselves an agreed particular dollar amount per month to spend as they wish, whether that be for luxuries, entertainment, desired purchases, or hobbies. This is a good method, since it allows you to spend without guilt — while staying within your budget. It is not healthy to have a lot of hobbies that drain the family economy or take away from matters more important to meet family needs.
Even though hobbies are necessary and healthy, there may be times a particular hobby is taking up too much of your discretionary income or endangering your ability to save money. When deciding whether you need to cut back on or cut out a hobby, here are a few questions to ask yourself.

How much does it cost?

The first step to evaluating a hobby is to determine exactly how much it’s costing you. Look for hidden expenses such as replacement of gear, membership fees, and fuel. Many times we don’t think we spend as much as we actually do.

Is it hurting your finances or family?

Once you know how much you’re spending, determine the percentage of your income as relative to other categories of your budget. Are you spending more on your hobby than you’re saving? Since God is the source of our income and has provided us with the means to earn what we make how much of what we have invested in hobbies gives back to Him? 

How much does it mean to you? Are there other benefits that outweigh the costs?

Even if a hobby is taking up more space in your budget than would normally be healthy, it may simply be important only to you. After all, a hobby is closely tied to who we are as individuals, and if we take that away, we may be robbing ourselves of living to the fullest, but too many hobbies are a drain on who we are and what we should contribute to those within the family and community.
Some benefits such as physical health, fitness, mental health, helping people, or giving back to the community make hobbies worth more than they’re costing us, even if we can’t calculate that into dollars and cents. However hobbies that do not give back to the community or help us to grow closer to our family are just downright foolish.

Is there a way to make it less expensive without sacrificing your enjoyment?

Even though a particular hobby may be well worth the expense, there are usually ways to save money without sacrificing its quality or our enjoyment of it. The amount you’re spending is seldom directly tied to your enjoyment of an activity, so if there’s a way to save money, do so.

Or, is there a way you can turn your hobby into a money-maker?

Hobbies don’t have to be strictly budget-draining or take away from quality family time. If it’s something potentially profitable, look for ways to make it pay for itself. You may even be able to start a small business and eventually quit your day job. What better way to enjoy your hobbies than when you can make a living off them?
See you next blog,


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