At its very core, hunting is one of the original ways people practiced self-sustainability. Some of those factors still ring true today when you hunt with a purpose. It can save you a lot of money on meat that you would otherwise have to buy at a store. Most people process and freeze their provisions, allowing them to last for months.
You can also utilize the fur and other parts of any animals you kill if you truly want to make the most of the experience and be as resourceful as possible.
But, as with almost any other hobby, hunting can get expensive if you let it.
According to the National Deer Association (NDA), in 2011 the average hunter spent about $2,500 per year on licenses, gear, ammunition, special equipment, and more.
If you have a passion for hunting, you don’t have to break the bank. You can enjoy the hobby now and save money for the future with a few helpful budgeting tips.
Evaluate Your Budget and Set Goals
Financially managing your passion for hunting starts long before you head out on your first excursion of the year. Whether you’re just getting started and want to make sure your new hobby doesn’t put you in the hole, or you’ve run into budgeting issues in the past thanks to your love of the sport, it’s never a bad idea to reassess your budget.
If you’re not sure how to establish a new budget, consider switching systems. Your budget should depend on your current finances as well as your needs. Different budgeting methods include:
- Zero-based budget (subtracting income from expenses to reach zero each month)
- 50/30/20 (breaking down percentages where you spend your money)
- Pay-yourself-first (setting aside money each time you’re paid)
If you’re not sure which method is right for you, consider talking to a professional financial advisor. They can help you to manage your finances and make recommendations that will increase your income by making lifestyle changes. That might include changing some of your hunting habits, too.
You can also talk to an accountant if you’re looking to set financial goals and want clear documentation of your finances at all times. The bottom line? You don’t have to tackle your finances on your own.
Quick Money-Saving Tips
Once you have a healthy budget in place, you can start to save money before, during, and even after your hunt. Beforehand, you can prepare for your hunt by purchasing food items in bulk and decluttering. Only buy what you absolutely need to take with you. You’ll reduce your waste production and save money, all at once.
During and after your hunt, you can save money by:
- Walking or carpooling to your destination
- Building your own stand
- Processing the animal yourself
- Selling the meat you won’t use
While saving money is easier than you might think, there are some areas where you shouldn’t skimp. If you’re serious about a hobby like hunting, there are times when making solid investments are necessary.
That includes buying quality firearms and bullets. Cheap equipment often doesn’t work as expected and could even be dangerous. You might end up having to buy something else, anyway.
A quality gun safe is also important. Cheaper models can be sawed through, allowing just about anyone to steal your prized possessions.
The good news? You can usually find high-quality firearms and ammunition at a discount if you know where to look. Just because an item is used doesn’t mean it’s faulty. Search online marketplaces or classified ads for people selling firearms who really know what they’re talking about. You can get a better deal while having confidence you’re investing in a strong product.
If you have a passion for hunting, striking a healthy financial balance will allow you to spend more time focusing on the hobby without worrying about your wallet. Keep these tips in mind to save (and perhaps even make) money while hunting, and enjoy the open season.