At the end of a long day or when you find yourself with a bit of time off (even if it's just half an hour you've stolen before you sleep), it's nice to unwind with a fun hobby. It can be daunting to pick up something new, though, especially if you have no idea what you're doing and it comes with a long list of supplies to get started. You don't even know if you'll enjoy it, after all, and dropping major money isn't always an option.
Fortunately, some of the best options out there are also inexpensive hobbies! We'll take a look at seven of them here, but there are certainly a lot of others to choose from that range from inexpensive to totally free.
If you think of sweat and laboring in the hot sun when you envision gardening, think again. Of course, it can include those things, especially if you plan on making a big garden and growing plenty of different things, but you can fit it into any space, budget, or effort level.
Not only is it a cheap hobby, but it also yields long-term gains. You can grow your own food, gift yourself with a constant supply of fresh flowers, give pollinators something to buzz about, or just make the landscaping around your home look nicer. If you're a total beginner or battling a case of a black thumb, start small with some windowsill herbs. Here's what you'll need.
- Seeds (try basil, parsley, or cilantro)
- Potting mix
- Small to medium-sized containers
Tuck your seeds about a quarter-inch into the soil and keep them warm and moist on your windowsill. You can cover them with clear plastic wrap for a few days to maintain conditions, and you'll see your first sprouts in one to two weeks, depending on the type of seed. Within a few weeks, you'll have your first tender, fresh herbs, and you've officially completed your first gardening project - all for a few dollars!
Once you get into the swing of gardening, you can propagate your plants, rescue plants from clearance sections in gardening centers, and trade cuttings with other gardeners to keep your collection going at little cost to you and your new hobby.
Like anything, board games can become an expensive hobby if you buy everything brand new and constantly add to your collection. Generally speaking, though, it's one of those timeless, cheap hobbies that pleases the whole family. Board games encompass everything from the classics like Monopoly and Candy Land to more complex options like Catan. You can even find excellent options for horror fans (like the Lovecraftian adventures in Eldritch Horror), fantasy lovers (try Mage Knight), and more.
If you branch out into tabletop-style games, like Dungeons and Dragons, you'll find tons of free resources online to grow and expand the stories you work with. Board and tabletop games are a great hobby and inclusive of anyone - from the youngest players to the oldest. You'll find plenty of second-hand or used options at thrift stores, discount bookstores, or browsing online. Your local library may even offer them to check out, so options are abundant out there for anyone looking to play board games and have fun!
Human beings have been drawing since the stone age. Suffice it to say, if we could manage to do it while we were living in caves, it counts as an inexpensive hobby! You barely need any supplies to get started. You may already have a pencil or pen and some paper laying around, making it easy to save money before you even start. But what's the next step? If you've never tried to seriously draw before, it's hard to know where to begin.
Luckily, you can find a lot of free resources online. There are thousands of YouTube videos with drawing tutorials, for instance, that guide you through both simple and complex drawings. Follow along as long as you need. Once you've picked up the fundamentals, you can draw anything in your imagination. Drawing is one of those endlessly interesting hobbies that can become anything you want it to be.
Hobbies in general come with a lot of mental health benefits, so why not combine your new hobby with the outdoors and get some fresh air, too? Bird watching is a great way to do both completely free! Unless you're reading this from Antarctica, in which case you may be limited to penguin-watching, you likely have an abundance of different birds in your own backyard. You won't have to go far to find them.
Bird watching helps reduce stress and nature elevates mood, so why not give it a try? If nothing else, it's a fun way to get to know the world around you and learn more about the critters you share space with every day. It's a particularly smart hobby for those interested in science, animals, and the environment.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language comes with lifelong benefits. It improves communication (including communication in your native language), may expose you to new, exciting cultures, and could even become something you can list on applications and resumes. The ability to speak to someone else in their native language is unparalleled. More than perhaps any of the other fun hobbies on this list, it provides you with a way to forge new connections with other people. There's more good news, too. Programs and apps like Duolingo make it easier (and cheaper) than ever. Get out there and learn sign language, Spanish, French, Arabic, or whatever your heart desires!
Visit Local Museums
Visiting museums and historical sites is an excellent frugal hobby, especially if you live in an area with plenty of free or inexpensive options. You can combine saving money with learning about history, nature, culture, or whatever the museum encompasses! Enjoy this pastime alone or in the company of others. You may even find a few groups to join full of like-minded people who share the interest. The world is full of free or low-cost museums, so you'll find something wherever you go!
Exercise hobbies are good for your mind and body. Exercise costs nothing and can be done anywhere. Just step outside and go for a run, do some stretches in your living room, or test your strength with objects around the home. Even if you opt for a gym membership, you can snag one at gyms like Planet Fitness for around $10 a month and have access to an abundance of equipment. If you fall in love with the fitness world, it may be worthwhile to hire a personal trainer to help figure out how to meet your goals. Those are lessons that last a lifetime and come with you even if you go back to lower-cost exercise options!
The hobby ideas in this article are just the beginning. There are so many options out there, and you can find cheap, fun hobbies everywhere you look. Whether you grab your phone and play free games online, pick flowers from your yard and weave them into decorations, or learn to make bread, there's something out there for everyone.
Use Comrade to fund your new interest. Just by installing the browser extension and interacting with recommendations from partnered brands, you can earn enough to buy a set of brushes and paint or grab a new pair of binoculars to watch the neighborhood cardinals. It's free, easy, and completely safe!