Personal Finance 

Six Hobbies That Can Make You Money

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Golf BallsLast year, I started picked up one of the most infuriating sports ever – golf. Some call it a sport. Some call it a hobby. Regardless of what you consider it, it’s one of those things that you do to pass the time but it’s one that costs a lot of money. The equipment is expensive. The rounds are expensive. Everything about it is pretty expensive – especially hair loss treatments when you pull it out after every bad shot!

Unlike golf, there are a few hobbies that you can take up that can put more money in your pocket, while providing entertainment and/or stress relief. Here are a few that have the potential to save you some cash:


Tomato GardenGardening can be a very relaxing and tranquil activity as long as you enjoy it. We started growing vegetables and herbs on our back deck because it was going to save us money. I didn’t anticipate enjoying the outdoor nature of it. I enjoyed going out on the back deck at night to water the plants and pull out any errant weeds. I enjoy pruning the plants that needed to be cut and “harvesting” as necessary.

It’s a perfect example of a hobby that has the potential to make you money in the sense that you can save on your grocery bill if your good at it. There will always be stories of the $10 tomato from a tomato plant that yielded just one red fruit, but if you keep it simple you can definitely save some cash. You also get great produce to boot!

Brewing Beer

Homebrewing BeerI started home brewing back in college when two of my friends, Abe Kabakoff and Dimitri Dimoulas, introduced me to the idea of making my own beer. While both graduated to more complicated and involved techniques (Abe now works at Sierra Nevada), I stick with the basics of an ingredient kit that costs me around $20-25 a pop. The process itself is fairly simple (the greatest cost is time) and it yields around 5 gallons of beer, which is about 50 bottles.

If you’re happy drinking domestic beers produced by the majors (Budweiser, Miller, Coors), then those will be cheaper. If you’re a fan of microbrews or imports, then brewing your own will be cheaper and the process will make you a lot more educated about beer in general. Plus… it’s fun!

Car Maintenance

Fixing Your CarTinkering with your car is another hobby where the money savings are pretty obvious. If you tinker a lot with your car, you are probably getting it to run at its peak efficiency because you perform the maintenance regularly (more importantly, on schedule) and you probably have a good idea of what it’s doing. While the tinkering can go “too far,” such that it costs you money, but like anything else it’s got a little more “money positive” than something like golf.

I personally enjoy changing my car’s oil. It’s not necessarily much cheaper than going somewhere but when you factor in the driving, waiting, and the lower grade product the big stores use, I think you come out ahead doing it yourself – especially if you have a car with an easily accessible oil filter.

Arts & Crafts

Arts & CraftsI don’t know much about arts & crafts but I do know that Etsy has become the go to marketplace for homemade products often classified in the “crafting” category. If it’s something you’d make after a trip to Jo-ann Fabrics or Michael’s, chances are you can build a small business off it by working through Etsy. My sister does custom made jewelry on the side and sells it through Etsy and craft shows. She’s hardly alone too – there are plenty of niches with lots of sellers so anyone can do well here.

Raising Fish

Fishy fishy fishyI have a few friends who have pretty impressive aquariums with lots of colorful and crazy looking fish. I don’t know much about raising fish but I do know that the larger the fish are, the more valuable they become. While I understand aquarium upkeep can be a pricey affair, there isn’t anything that prevents you from “raising” small fish (I guess it’s really just growing fish, right?) into larger fish and selling them to other enthusiasts. I doubt the finances make enough sense for this to truly be a “have a profitable hobby” but it’s something you could find yourself earning a few dollars on.

Personal Shopper

When my wife was younger, she worked at her local Michael’s. Every week or so, this same woman would come in and buy some stuff from the store. Eventually my wife developed a rapport with the woman and the woman actually asked her if she’d be willing to be her personal shopper. I personally thought that the woman just wanted to be able to wander around Macy’s with someone to talk to but my wife thought it was a little creepy. I suppose that if I had the same experienced, I’d probably react the same way. The pay would’ve been pretty good too, though I don’t remember how much, but it’s something almost any avid shopper could do… as long as they were cool to hang out with. 🙂

(Photos: purolipan, The Forum News, margaridasardo, carmyarmyofme, ciberia, mvallius, iswc)

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “Six Hobbies That Can Make You Money”

  1. zapeta says:

    I’ve always heard that golf was mostly a way to use words that aren’t acceptable in polite circles, lol.

    I’ve never considered brewing beer a money making idea, but you could at least save the cost of buying beer that way.

  2. Wilma says:

    Made a big batch of honey mead one time. It was supposed to sit for one year before consumption. It didn’t make it past 9 months after bottling. Tasted horrible till about the 8th month when it took on a Zima like taste. Wish I could’ve kept my hands off those bottles for the full year. Have made wines and beer as well. Fun but LOTS of work involved.

    It finally stopped raining long enough for me to plant my tomatoes, peppers and herbs on Saturday. A nasty thunder storm is a brewing as I write.

    I got an Etsy account. Now I need to get started on the selling part.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Fitness classes! Not only do you get a free gym membership but you get paid to teach too. So it earns and saves money simultaneously.

    Don’t you need licences to sell alcohol? I don’t think the ATF would recommend selling beer to make money unless you’re in compliance with the law.

    • Jim says:

      Yeah you do need a license. Uou can’t sell the beer you make but you do save money because now you’ll buy less beer. 🙂

  4. Evan says:

    How could you forget blogging?!

    • Strebkr says:

      I don’t think blogging as a hobby is a serious money maker. Jim runs Bargaineering like a business. Its not a come and go as you please type of hobby.

  5. Shirley says:

    I became interested in tropical fish when I realized how calming watching them could be. A friend was selling his big (2.5′ x 6′, 140 gallon) aquarium at a very decent price because he was moving.

    In time I ended up with 14 smaller aquariums and breeding and raising tropical fish and snails for our local aquarium store for about three years. It was a lot of fun, a lot of enjoyable work, and didn’t seem that expensive since the price of the fish, etc, was credit at the store. For the same reason, it didn’t make any cash. 🙂

    The only cash flow came when we sold the two largest aquariums and gave the rest away to friends to make room for raising two grandsons. That was more fun in the long run.

  6. Dave says:

    My big hobby that saves me money (and in theory could earn me money if I lose my current job) is home improvement projects. It might be more than a hobby, but I’m redoing my bathroom myself right now and I’m saving thousands of dollars because I’m not having to hire contractors. I’m learning valuable skills that if I were to lose my nice cushy office job, I could go out and get a job with a contractor…

    I also brew my own beer, and its totally bogus that you have to have a license to sell it. 🙂 Oh, I make my own beef jerky too, talk about cost savings!

  7. Abdullah says:

    how can you leave photography off the list? I took a cheap DSLR I got off Craigslist and a second I bought in a pawnshop (brand new for less than one half the list price), made some home-made accessories, and got started for less than $1,000. Talked some friends into posing for portraits to learn my craft, and shot a wedding less than three months later, making $1,500 in six hours (even after paying an assistant $300). Since then, I do one or two events (proms, weddings, family reunions, etc.) a month, and earn about $2000 a month. It won’t make me rich, but it pays the mortgage and utilities, leaving me my salary from my main job to spend as I please!

    • Yolanda says:

      I am very interested in photography. I currently am earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, and I would like to own my own photography store. Could you please inform me on how you’ve got started and if you may have any information on any photography classes for free or even for a price? I would appreciate it and good luck to you. It sounds like to much fun to do.

  8. J$ says:


  9. Fitactivex says:

    Hey, I started coaching girl’s soccer at the junior high school near me. It’s on the weekends mostly and adds an extra $89 bucks per game.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What about Bartending. You can work for a few bars or restaurants as a fill on for when people call in from work or you can do private parties. Your deal with the party host could be that its free as long as you can guarantee a certain amount of money in tips, otherwise the host gives you the difference.

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