Many of us plan to spend our retirements engaging in all the hobbies we neglected during our working years. The trouble is, hobbies can be expensive, especially on a fixed income. You can ease this burden somewhat by “prepping” for your retirement hobbies in much the same way some people prepare for the zombie apocalypse. 

Stock up on some supplies during your working years while you still have a regular income. Prepping reduces the burden on your retirement income and allows you to wait for sales, shop estate sales and thrift stores, or pick up stuff cheap from those who are exiting the hobby. 

Before you go on a buying spree, observe the four cardinal rules of hobby prepping:

  1. No perishables or stuff that will become obsolete. If it will go bad or become obsolete before you can use it, don’t buy it. This eliminates things like paint, markers, digital cameras, glues, software, film/developing materials (if you’re into film photography), etc. Unless your retirement is coming within a few months, items like these will either be ruined or require significant investment to rehabilitate. 
  2. Be certain you are committed to this hobby. While no one can know the future with certainty, don’t buy anything for a hobby you’ve never tried before, or which you are not certain you’ll love. Anything you won’t use is wasted money. 
  3. Don’t become a hoarder. While it’s fine to stock up on some things, you don’t want to overload your living space with stuff for “later.” You have to live in your home now, so don’t get carried away. And if you buy so much that you have to rent a storage unit, you are no longer saving money.
  4. Don’t overspend, or spend money earmarked for other savings goals. Prepping is all well and good, but not if it comes at the expense of other savings goals or your current living expenses. 

With those rules in mind, here are some retirement hobby supplies that you can squirrel away for later.  

Books

I will always urge people to use their local library for their book needs. However, I realize there are people who like to own books and those people might benefit from building their retirement libraries while working. If you’re into ebooks, you may want to start filling up your hard drive when you run into sales or freebies on desired titles. 

Textile Hobbies

Most textiles will last in storage, so stock up as you find yarn, thread, or fabric on sale. You can also stock up on patterns, instructional books, scissors, needles, cross stitch/embroidery kits, and other supplies. 

Puzzles/Board Games

They never go bad and are widely available at thrift stores and/or regularly go on sale. Perfect for prepping! (Just avoid any board game that has an associated app as you cannot guarantee its long-term support.)

Certain Craft/Art Supplies

While pens, markers, and paints are out, you can pre-buy sketch books, canvases, brushes, coloring books, styrofoam, fake flowers, jars, jewelry making supplies, and other non-perishable do-dads to make your crafts of choice. 

Models/Lego/Trains

Into building stuff? Model kits, model trains (and the associated terrain and buildings to make a full landscape), Lego, dollhouse kits, and the like are fun and most of the supplies never go bad. Just make sure any kits either sell the paint/glue separately, or that you can easily buy them elsewhere if the items in the kit go bad. 

Sports Equipment

If you’re really into a sport and will want the latest and greatest stuff, wait to buy. However, if you’ll be content with older golf clubs, skis, tennis rackets, fishing rods, or camping gear, go ahead and pre-buy. Avoid anything that might be a safety risk if not new such as climbing gear, scuba equipment, etc. 

Travel

Planning to hit the road? Invest in a set of quality luggage. The good stuff will last forever and survive whatever the airlines can throw at it. You can also gather toiletry bags, empty bottles and containers for pills or shampoo, money belts, plug converters for international travel, travel games, packing aids, travel pillows, or whatever else will make your travels comfy. 

Big Ticket Items

If you plant to spend your retirement working on old cars or building furniture, it may make sense to gather a supply of tools, especially the big ones that cost big bucks. Table saws, lathes, engine lifts, toolboxes, specialty tools, etc. can break a fixed budget. Any other hobby that requires a big ticket item is also fair game. A pottery wheel, sewing machine, or a small greenhouse for gardening are just a couple of examples. 

Also plan ahead if your hobby will require you to add on to your home, build a special garage or outbuilding, or buy a camper or boat. Not only can these break a fixed budget, you may not be able to get financing for such a large purchase once you are no longer working. 

Musical Instruments

Most musical instruments are timeless, so unless you have to have the absolute newest thing, today’s guitar (or piano, flute, trumpet, etc.) will still play in five years. You can also stock up on sheet music or theory books. 

Movies/TV Shows

Sure, streaming offers just about everything you could ever want to watch, but there are people who like to own physical copies of movies and TV shows. Some value the bonus features, or want a higher quality picture than offered by streaming. Others want items that are so obscure that even streaming doesn’t offer them. If this is you, you might want to start your disc collection while you’re working. 

Cooking/Baking Supplies

No, you can’t buy food, but you can pre-buy items like cake pans, baking pans, kitchen tools, pots, skillets, cookbooks, etc. Certain appliances may be a wise investment, as long as you’re certain they’ll stand the test of time. (For example, stand mixers and blenders are usually safe bets.)

Have you done any prepping for your retirement hobbies? How did it go? Do you know of any other hobbies that lend themselves to retirement prepping? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Jennifer Derrick

Jennifer Derrick is a self described freelance writer, novelist and children’s book author.  When she’s not writing Jennifer enjoys running marathons, playing tennis, boardgames and reading pretty much everything she can get her hands on.  You can learn more about Jennifer at: https://jenniferderrick.com/.

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