When I was a teenager, my boyfriend told me I needed a hobby. It sounds mean, but he meant it in a nice way. Unfortunately, my hobby turned out to be expensive and messy. Now that I live in an apartment, I don’t do it anymore. Instead, I’ve taken up a few inexpensive hobbies. Here ten cheap hobbies you can try.
I’ve said it before: reading is frugal. You could spend a lot of money on hardcovers, but you simply don’t have to. Become one with the local library instead. Of course, if you find an author you really love, buy all their books in softcover so that the publisher will continue to give them contracts, or tell your friends to buy their books.
Once you start reading a lot, you’ll probably wonder if you could do it better. That thought is the first sign that you should try writing. You can write articles, poems, short stories, or even give a novel a try. All you need is a pen and paper, or a computer. To improve your craft, borrow writing books from the library, join local critique groups at the library or through Craigslist, or find free online critique groups. It becomes more expensive if you want to get published, but then it’s not just a hobby anymore.
You probably already have the basic tools you need to take up cooking as a hobby: pots, pans, knives, and kitchen tools. Now check out the cookbook selection at your local library or start reading food blogs. Cooking really isn’t difficult, it just takes practice. Unless you’re preparing dishes that require obscure ingredients, it’s not expensive either. Best of all, you get to eat the food you produce, so you’re hobby is built into your grocery budget.
Baking is related to cooking, but the two really are different passions. I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, but I really love baking and making chocolate truffles. You have to be careful with baking – if you like baking desserts (like me), it can add to your waistline. I limit my baking to food for parties and guests in order to keep my weight in check.
I’m also a big fan of hiking. Once you’ve got a guidebook and a pair of hiking boots, it’s pretty much free. I also have a hydration backpack, which I recommend for serious hiking. You can find them at Target during the summer, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on gear.
If you’ve got a local park, then you’ve probably got access to local team sports like soccer, baseball, and basketball. Check the community calendar, then stop by the next game to ask about joining the team.
If you believe in an important cause or support a local organization, volunteering is a great hobby. It may even come with free perks! For example, if you volunteer at a museum, you’ll be invited to volunteer appreciation events. Or you can volunteer simply for the joy of helping others, which is its own reward.
Crocheting is one of those hobbies that can be cheap or expensive. It really depends on the type of yarn you buy, how many classes you take, and how many books you buy. If you stick to cheap yarns and get your patterns at the library, then it’s a fairly inexpensive hobby. As a bonus, you can give the things you make as gifts, which reduces your gift budget.
Simply going outside and taking pictures, or becoming the official photographer for friends and family, is a fun hobby that doesn’t have to cost a lot. Once you own the camera and memory cards, there’s no film to buy. You only have to print the pictures you want to keep. Of course, it can add up if you buy an SLR camera with all the attachments, but you can keep it cheap if you want to.
Arts and Crafts
If you’re a crafter or have an artistic spirit, you could take up whittling, watercolor painting, or a host of other crafty projects. Once again, there’s an initial investment for supplies, but then you can enjoy the hobby for decades. Projects also make great gifts for the people you love.
If you set your mind to it, you can find loads of inexpensive hobbies. What are some that you enjoy? Tell me in the comments.