Remember going to a craft and hobby show, or looking through a magazine, and seeing in your mind’s eye all those great projects you could make? Or watching the sports channel and dreaming about aces, holes-in-one, or the salmon you could catch?

When most of us imagine retirement, our minds wander to what we’ll get to do at that time that we don’t have time for now. It’s a chance to do things you’ve put off all those years while working and caring for family. After all, that’s what makes the decades of saving worthwhile.

Related: What’s all this retirement planning for, anyway?

Planning for leisure time in the future can be challenging. If you’re a few years away from retirement it may be hard to know precisely what you’ll want to do with yourself. Your loosened time frame will open up a lot of freedom.

What Hobbies Are On Your Retirement Bucket List?

What hobbies have you always wanted to try?

Many retirees think this is a time to rekindle an interest in an old hobby or start a new one. A good hobby is entertaining, fulfilling and will enhance your life – but they can also be very expensive.

Before you know it, you’ve bought all that expensive equipment and enough gadgets and accessories to fill a small room.

Related: 10 useless kitchen gadgets

It’s easy for us who share the impulsive gene to make snap decisions, and before we know it we’ve brought home the huge stack of scrapbooking supplies that never make it out of the bag. This is what happened to a friend of mine who bought hundreds of dollars worth of paper, stencils, scissors and trimmings, etc. She stuffed everything into a closet, and as far as I know, it’s still there.

Hobbies need time to master and a lot of practice before you become an expert, or even just skillful. What if your initial attempts are disappointing and you find out you’re just not into it?

So, instead of waiting until retirement to jump in with both feet, sign up for a class to check out a new hobby while you’re still working.  A few sessions will tell you how committed you are to the craft. Then if you decide it’s a go, look for equipment and supplies on eBay or similar sites. You’ll be amazed at what you can find for sale by others who got a bit too ambitious and bought the whole caboodle. It might be a good idea to make that financial commitment while you are still earning a salary.

When you consider that enough yarn to knit a sweater can cost $75 or more, a digital camera with removable lenses can cost over $1000 and scuba diving equipment up to $2000 (and how long will local lakes be enough before you want to travel to some exotic location?), looking before you take the leap will keep hundreds, if not thousands in your wallet.

Final thoughts

Hobbies can be relaxing, contribute to your lifestyle, and be a great way to get together with like-minded friends. By all means, enjoy them. Have fun. If your budget can handle it and the hobby brings you pleasure, it can be money well spent. Some people even turn their hobbies into a lucrative side business.

But many times the dream is a lot better than the reality.

Don’t waste your money on something that may seem like a good idea without further investigation. Other people might thoroughly enjoy an activity, but maybe it’s just not for you.

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