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Once you have a handle on your saving and spending strategies, it may be time to take some of your hard-earned money and put it toward fun after work activities. The benefits of learning how to play guitar or improving your culinary skills can take your mind off of any job-related stress, expand your social circle, and also lead to a greater sense of self-fulfillment.

If you're longing to try something new, here's how to budget accordingly.

Set Short-Term Savings Goals

Take a look at your current monthly bills and decide how much you can save. You may be putting money into a retirement account, or a longer-term savings vehicle like a Certificate of Deposit to save for a down payment on a house. But you can also set short-term savings goals for something more fun like a vacation or a hobby that interests you. If you've always wanted to try something new — from karate to kayaking — try setting aside a portion of each paycheck and designating some of it to something fun.

Budgeting for After Work Activities

If the after work activity you choose is costly, you may need to find ways to decrease spending in other areas. Culinary classes will improve your cooking skills, so maybe you don't need to go out to eat as frequently. Trade in a gym membership for a spinning or dance class to try a new physical activity. Or swap out movie nights for digital photography lessons.

Paying Out-of-Pocket vs. Paying from Savings

If you need to shift more of your savings toward larger purchases like a down payment on a home or a new car, you can also designate part of your discretionary spending allowance to pay for some activities. If you're planning a wedding or a home purchase and have less to spend on after work activities, try searching for cheaper alternatives where you don't need to commit to the cost of an entire class. Local community colleges or libraries may offer short-term adult education courses that are relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind that group lessons may also be cheaper than private instruction. If you really want to try an activity, chances are that you can find an alternative that fits your budget.

If you're feeling stuck in a rut and want to try something new, partaking in after work activities once or twice each week can be the spark you need to break out. With proper budgeting and saving, and a willingness to be flexible about when and how you learn, you can work a new hobby or sport into your busy schedule.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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