A great hobby can enhance your life, but many end up emptying your wallet as well.
What’s the best of both worlds? Cheap hobbies that actually make your life better. You might be thinking that this sounds too good to be true or at least too hard to find, but I assure you it’s not!
Here are 12 cheap hobbies that are actually enjoyable while also being affordable.
12 Cheap Hobbies
1. DIY Projects
Do-it-yourself projects are not only (usually) much cheaper than paying a professional, but they enable you to acquire new skills! Start with small projects, like painting a room, rather than trying to build your own custom furniture, and use your new-found expertise for bigger and bolder projects as you get comfortable. A great resource for DIYers is Pinterest – you can find step by step instructions for just about any project you can imagine. This may start as a cheap hobby and turn into a side hustle or even a full-time business if you hone in on your skills. Just remember to have fun!
2. Learn a New Language
Everyone has that country they’re dying to visit one day. Why not make it even more invigorating and have a hobby that prepares you for that amazing trip full of opportunities? Learning a new language has been shown to boost your brainpower and enhance your memory. Plus, it allows you to connect more deeply with the natives, leading to many exciting adventures traveling abroad.
The best part of learning a new language is that it’s a beneficial, inexpensive hobby that you can spend some time each day. Check out your local library for books and resources or use a free app, like Duolingo. Once you have the basics down, try to find someone who speaks the language to practice with regularly. Find out other geeky hobbies in this article.
3. Read (Or Listen To) Books
Whoever says they don’t have time to read books never listened to an audiobook on their commute to work or do the dishes. Whether you are interested in learning more about personal finance, career development, time management, or want to unwind, there are countless books just waiting to be read.
Reading or listening to books can be expensive, though, but this hobby can be cheap or even free if you do some research. Check with your local library and see if they have an app to rent ebooks and audiobooks. Personally, renting books on my local library app has saved me about $400 each year! Reading books can be an enjoyable and beneficial hobby as long as you find what you’re reading interesting and good use of your time.
4. Try Gardening
Want to try out a cheap hobby and improve the look of your yard? Look no further than gardening. Although this hobby can be costly, there are many ways to spend very little money on it. First, consider using your kitchen scraps to start a compost so you’ll have nutritious soil for your plants. Second, start with seeds. Buying plants can really add up, and they are usually not as resilient as plants grown from seeds in your own yard. Search for the best plants suited to live in your climate to increase the chances of survival. Many gardeners consider this hobby so rewarding they look forward to spending time in their garden all week long.
5. Learn How To Cook or Bake
This hobby is not for everyone, but it can certainly be fun to spend some free time. If you are not the best chef or baker, start with some basic recipes and move up from there. Those more experienced in the kitchen can try new, challenging recipes or learn how to master something you usually don’t cook and prefer to order at restaurants. Don’t want to do it alone? Cooking and baking are cheap hobbies that can be fun and even shared with your partner or children. Bonus for cooking healthy foods!
6. Organize Your Finances
Although you may scoff at spending your free time on your finances, you will be amazed at what you can achieve if you spend just 20 minutes a week. Create a budget if you don’t already have one and organize your debts to create a repayment plan. Spend some time setting your financial goals for both the short and long-term, and do weekly check-ins to measure your progress and adjust.
If you have a partner, don’t forget to develop effective money habits to enable you to be a power couple when it comes to your finances. You may even find that the results of the time you spend on your finances really make this an enjoyable activity. Before you know it, you’ll be offering to help others with their budgets!
7. Volunteer Your Time
Even better than a cheap hobby is a free yet fulfilling one. Volunteering your time to help your community or a cause you care about is just about the best way to spend your extra time. There are endless organizations that need volunteers. You have to find the one that sparks your interest. This is a great way to give back and feel good about your contribution to society. But don’t take my word for it. Please go out and try it yourself.
8. Practice Gratitude
Did you know that practicing gratitude can not only improve your quality of life but also transform your finances? Many studies prove that practicing gratitude regularly can help people reduce impulse buying, avoid lifestyle inflation, save more money in the long-term, and support good health. Not all hobbies need to be physical activities.
Try incorporating gratefulness in your morning or nightly routine by journaling or simply thinking of a few things, people, or moments you are grateful for that day. This hobby is completely free and truly can change your life in meaningful ways. You can even start now…so what are you grateful for?
Few hobbies offer as many benefits as exercise, but gym memberships are expensive! Fortunately, that isn’t the only way to get a solid workout in. You can run, walk or bike around your neighborhood. Or you can buy some used exercise equipment and work out at home. Many towns offer gym memberships in their recreational center that is affordable as well. Get creative and start making your free time work for your body. Exercising regularly will not only keep your body healthy, but you might find yourself wanting to eat healthier too!
10. Go Hiking
There’s nothing quite like a breath of fresh air. If you enjoy nature and like to explore the great outdoors, try going on a hike the next time you’re looking for something to do. The AllTrails app is an easy way to find trails near you or plan a few to explore on a trip. You can filter based on your experience level, popularity, distance, elevation, and trail characteristics, such as waterfalls, kid-friendly, and dog friendly.
People leave reviews for trails and sometimes upload pictures, so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Be sure to bring the necessary supplies, like water, sunscreen, and bear spray. Most trails are free, so besides purchasing supplies, this is one of the best, cheap hobbies out there.
11. Practice Meditation
I’m sure you’ve heard someone going on and on about how meditation changed their life. The funny part is that they were not kidding, and many people report the same thing! Just spending 5-10 minutes a day quietly sitting observing your thoughts can actually change your life (if you do it consistently). There are many apps, like Headspace and Insight Timer, that provide free guided meditations. Once you develop some effective techniques, you can just set a timer and enjoy the peace and quiet of this rewarding hobby.
12. Get Artsy
Not everyone is gifted with natural artistic abilities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try! Pick up a paintbrush or some clay and see what you can do. At the very least, you’ll laugh at yourself and have fun trying something new. Or you may find that you really are talented and can turn your arts and crafts hobby into a new side hustle! Spending time to explore art can be a fun hobby that enables you to learn more about yourself without spending a lot of cash to do so.
Now that you know many low-cost hobbies pick a few to try out in your spare time. You might find your new favorite thing to do without needing to break the bank.
Bonus: Hobbies That Make Money
If you’re interested in making some money with your free time, check out this list of hobbies that make money. Find something you’re passionate about so you can get paid and enjoy what you’re doing. Consider what you’re already good at or decide to learn new skills and monetize them!
Many people use the extra income they make from their side hustles to help them achieve their financial goals, like saving for a down payment for a house, paying off their debt, or saving money for an emergency fund. Having a goal in mind when you’re bringing in the extra cash can help motivate you and push you to keep on hustling.
Rebecca is the co-founder of The Loaded Pig, a personal finance website with the goal of helping people achieve their financial goals. Her passion for financial freedom has landed her on US News & World Report, CreditCards.com, Cheapism, and many other sites. Rebecca earned her MBA from the University of Florida and her BA from the University of Miami and is excited to begin teaching in the business department at a local college this upcoming semester.