Affordable Hobby Guide
If you have time to kill, but not a lot of money left in your “fun budget”, it can be challenging to think of things to do (besides watching Netflix) to keep you occupied and entertained.
Luckily living on a budget because you want to pay off debt, save for a down payment on a house, or retire early, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or explore new hobbies. But you do have to get creative and find new hobbies that fit in with your frugal lifestyle.
Still struggling to come up with ideas for inexpensive hobbies to try this year? Here are 45 fun inexpensive hobbies to get you started.
1. Fill Out Online Surveys
There are dozens of these sites popping up that claim to pay you money for taking surveys online. Some of them are garbage; however some of them are legitimate and will actually pay you in the form of VISA gift cards, Amazon gift cards, iTunes gift cards, Starbucks gift cards.
Here are the top two survey outlets I recommend:
- Survey Junkie – Survey Junkie is one of my favorite survey sites and they are 100% legitimate. In fact, the one thing I really love about Survey Junkie is their transparency. They state, “you’re not going to get rich from taking surveys”. However, you can get started for free, take their surveys at anytime, from anywhere, on any device, and earn cash for your next tank of gas, a night out at a restaurant with friends, or for side-hustling your way to saving money and paying down debt. After taking a survey, you will earn points to redeem for either cash into your PayPal account or e-gift cards.
- Swagbucks – You’ll earn points, AKA Swagbucks, for doing several different things. You can earn them for watching promotional videos, participating in polls, taking surveys, playing games, buying products, and searching the internet through their search engine. If you spend a few minutes a day doing these activities, you can earn enough points to be redeemed for Amazon Gift Cards, cash via PayPal, or prepaid cards from Visa.
2. Start a Blog
Blogging is a great frugal hobby to try. You don’t have to spend very much money to get started with your own website. You can buy your own domain and get started with your inexpensive hosting plans for less than $50-60/year.
Years ago, creating a blog required knowledge in coding a website, writing HTML, and a lot of “techy” things the average person didn’t really understand.
However, today starting a blog is as simple as setting up your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. With a few clicks, you can start your very own blog and website that is 100% yours!
I actually created the Money Peach Blog from my laptop at my kitchen table in 2015. I was a full-time firefighter with no special training in starting a blog, website, or anything technical. If I can figure it out, I promise you can too.
Bonus: Your blog can often turn into a fun side hustle and you can start generating income passively, even while you sleep!
3. Listen to a New Podcast
There are podcasts about every topic under the sun. Surely you can find one that interests you.
You can start listening to the Money Peach Podcast in your car, at the gym, or on the go right here.
4. Watch Cat Videos
There are some pretty funny cat videos on YouTube that can keep you entertained for hours. (Or maybe that’s just me?)
Let the record show that Peach does NOT watch cat videos on YouTube.
5. Play Free Games Online
You may be surprised to learn that there are health benefits to be had from playing video games. There are so many websites where you can play games online and there are tons of different kinds of games to choose from too. My go-to game site for puzzle games and more is MSN Games.
6. Buy and Re-sell Things Online
There are so many re-selling websites to choose from these days, which can help you get the best prices for your “treasures”. eBay, Craigslist, Facebook buy/sell/trade groups, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, and more are just a few that I’ve used to sell stuff in the past.
Depending on how you go about it, gardening can be a pretty inexpensive hobby to try. If you get good enough at it, you might even be able to lower your grocery bill by growing more of your own food.
Camping is another hobby than be just as expensive, or frugal, as you make it. I truly enjoy camping and waking up to a brisk morning. It’s almost like a vacation, only cheaper. 🙂
I consider just about any walking around off the beaten path to be a “hike”. In that sense, hiking is a pretty cheap hobby to take up. A bonus is that hiking is a good way to stay in shape, which might be one of your New Year’s resolutions.
10. Become a Master BBQer
There are actually whole weekends devoted to BBQ competitions in my neck of the woods. If you are good with a grill, this might be a fun hobby to consider.
Geocaching is basically a high-tech treasure hunt. Find out how to get started here.
12. Rock Collecting
Pick up all those shiny things. If you call it a “collection” no one will judge you for bringing home random rocks anymore. 😉
13. Bird Watching
Just don’t become a crazy bird lady (or guy)!
The equipment can be expensive if you don’t already own it, but you may also be able to borrow from a friend or family member to try out this hobby if you’re a beginner. Most hunters enjoy sharing their hobby with newbies to keep the sport alive.
Same goes here! Most avid fishermen are more than willing to take along new people who don’t have their own equipment. Just don’t wear out your welcome if you fall in love with this hobby.
This is pretty much the ultimate frugal hobby. Almost every community has a library you can use for free as long as you follow the rules and return your books on time. You can also start a book club, or swap books with friends to find more reading material.
Writing can be a fun hobby and it doesn’t have to turn into more than that. You can write in a diary, write short stories for fun, or write even write to make money like I mentioned earlier.
A pencil and paper is all you need to get started with this frugal hobby. Even if you expand your artist supplies later on, this hobby shouldn’t be too costly.
19. Learn a New Language
Is there a language you’ve been dying to learn? There are lots of resources online and books at your library that you can use to learn a new language.
20. Learn to Play an Instrument
Learning to play a musical instrument doesn’t mean you have to take expensive lessons. Many instruments can be self-taught, especially now that you can learn almost everything you need to know on YouTube.
21. Learn to Sew
Learning basic sewing skills is a good idea. Knowing how to sew has actually saved me money. For example, my sewing skills have helped me save my clothes from being thrown in the rag bin a few times when they only needed minor repairs.
22. Learn a New Game
Playing games is one of my family’s favorite hobbies, especially is the weather is crappy outside. We don’t discriminate, we like to play board games and card games. They can also be a good way to meet new people if you go to community game nights. You might be able to find some at your local library, churches, or on meetup.com.
23. Read the News
Doesn’t sound very exciting, but you might be surprised what you can learn when you start reading the news regularly. Don’t just keep up on local news either, the world is bigger than that. Make sure you find out what’s going on elsewhere in the world too.
24. Explore Your Genealogy
Ask your family members for help with this project, or start looking online. When I put together my family genealogy, I was surprised at how much information I could find online.
Most people have a bike sitting in their garage or storage shed. If you have an old unused bike, it won’t cost you much to give it a tune-up so you can start riding it again. Biking around your neighborhood is free.
Running is probably the cheapest form of exercise out there. All you need to get started is a decent pair of shoes.
27. Get in Shape with Body Weight Exercises
Some you know that Peach is a Crossfit enthusiast. I’m a former Crossfiter myself, but I cut it from my budget to pay off my debt faster. One good habit I picked up from there that I still continue in my home workouts is doing bodyweight exercises. Like running, all you need for bodyweight exercises are good shoes and maybe a few standard household items. You can do things like air squats, pushups, situps, lunges, etc. without spending money.
I’m not talking about paying money and going to a dance studio – those things can be very expensive. Instead I’m talking about turning on your favorite music and using it to make up your own workout routine.
If you live near a public beach, lake, etc. you can probably swim there for free. Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise and it’s fun!
30. Join a Club Sports Team
Most communities have a Recreation Department that hosts sports leagues for kids and adults. They’re usually fairly inexpensive to join and offer lots of different sports to choose from.
31. Try Yoga
There are lots of free yoga video on YouTube. All you need to get started is a mat.
32. Practice Meditation
Exercise for your brain. 🙂
For some cooking is truly a hobby. Even if you don’t love to cook, it’s definitely a good skill to have because cooking and eating at home is way cheaper than going out to eat. If you need some ideas for cooking, try out eMeals. They send you a meal plan, shopping list, a recipe for each day of the week for about $5/month.
34. Canning and Food Preservation
This old-fashioned skill can actually help you save money, especially if you are preserving food from your garden bounty to eat later on.
35. Furniture Restoration
I know several people who’ve taken up furniture restoration as a frugal hobby and they’ve also managed to furnish their homes with one-of-a-kind pieces they re-did themselves.
36. Home Brewing
There are lots of online resources that can teach you how to get started brewing your own beer, wine, or cider at home. It might a little equipment to get started, but if you regularly enjoy these beverages instead of buying them at the liquor store you’ll definitely save money in the long run.
37. Animal Husbandry
Growing up we raised many different kinds of animals on my parents’ farm. I still love animals and taking care of them today and it’s definitely a good skill to have.
Even if you don’t learn how to make fancy things, basic carpentry skills can be good to have as they can save you money when you know how to fix things around the house.
Learning about investing and then actually doing it are two things that could almost be separate hobbies in and of themselves. Investing is a smart hobby to take up once you have disposable income to put toward your investments.
Related: 6 Ways to Invest $100
40. Thrift Shopping and Garage Sale-ing
When I lived in a bigger community I loved going to thrift stores and garage sales on the weekend. This is a fun activity, especially if you go with a friend. You can also save money as long as you avoid buying things you don’t really need.
Again, couponing can be fun but you might end up spending more than you planned on if you aren’t careful with your purchases.
That’s kind of financial since time is money, right? Give some of your time to your favorite charities, or join a group or board in your town to give back to civic organizations.
43. Start a Business
I’ve kind of touched on this before, but almost anything on this list can actually be turned into some kind of a money-making business. Starting a business is fun and it’s a good way to make some extra money.
44. Become a landlord
You can start renting out a portion of your house on a site like Airbnb. If you find out you like being a landlord, you could always expand into owning rental properties.
Budgeting Cash Flow Planning (that sounds better)
What list of hobbies on a personal finance blog would be complete without listing budgeting. It may not sound fun at first, but I actually love working on my projected budgets for future months now that I’ve gotten good at budgeting. And, if you are not a fan of budgeting, then let’s just call it Cash Flow Planning! Here are two different budget forms to get you started.
If you prefer the old-school method of printing a budget out and filling it all in on paper, choose the Paper and Pencil Budget. If you are like me and like having your budget accessible online and from your smart phone, click on the Spreadsheet Budget.
Next time you can’t think of something to do besides spending the day on the couch watching Netflix, check out this list instead.