Without question, my number one hobby is reading. I learned to read at age four, and I've loved it ever since. One of my goals for 2009 was to read 40 books. I'm well on my way to achieving this goal; as of this week, I've read eight books, and I'm hoping to finish the book I'm currently reading, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, sometime early next week so I can start a new book for my vacation.
I don't spend much money on books. Most of what I read is borrowed from the library, or purchased used (usually from the $1 rack) at my favourite local used book store, or at yard sales. I've thought of joining PaperBack Swap, but I'm not so sure. I really don't have that many books in my apartment, since I mostly borrow from the library, so I'm not sure how worthwhile this would be for me. I guess I could stock up on a few $1 books that I think people would want so that I can swap, but for now I think I'll continue on with my library loans and cheap used books (and reading the dozen or so books I own but haven't read yet).
Around Christmas I began a new hobby: knitting. Another one of my goals for this year was to complete at least three knitting projects, and so far I've finished one project and begun my second: a pair of baby booties for my cousin's baby, due at the end of March. I went to a small knitting shop earlier this week to pick up the supplies I'd need for this project, and was shocked to hear the total: $36 for a set of double-pointed needles and two skeins of yarn! I felt OK about it, because I was purchasing from a small business that's probably struggling to pay their rent in a really high-end part of town, and because I knew I would probably never go back there again, and will make all knitting purchases at large craft stores or online, where things are much more affordable.
I hadn't previously purchased any knitting supplies (C had bought the needles and yarn I used for the scarf as a Christmas present for me), so the prices really shocked me. The last thing I want is an expensive hobby that's going to siphon money away from my savings and debt reduction goals, but at the same time I really enjoy knitting and have no plans to give it up. As I said, I can definitely get knitting supplies for cheaper by shopping at large craft stores or ordering online. I'm also going to keep my eye out on craigslist (and maybe eBay), and look around at yard sales throughout the summer. Using these tactics, I think I'll definitely be able to keep my spending low.