“I need a hobby.”
We all do. Even if you’re not looking for new hobbies with your New Year’s resolution, just starting something new can relieve stress and boost your self-esteem (not to mention help prevent boredom).
But sometimes it’s hard to find one that suits you and your life—you don’t want to spend too much money, but you also don’t want to be bored out of your skull.
Here we’ve compiled this list of 18 fun, cheap hobbies you can start now.
1. Start Painting
When stressed, it’s often hard to know what to do. You could go for a run or take a walk in the park, but sometimes that’s not enough—especially if you’re feeling frustrated and angry from dealing with the day-to-day irritations of your life. Painting can be an excellent outlet for those emotions.
It is also fun to express yourself through intricate detail or bold swipes of color. You can paint anything from landscapes to abstract art and even learn how to paint portraits!
To start painting, you only need some paints, canvas, and brushes. You can buy these at an affordable price at any art supply store or online.
If you’re a beginner, don’t worry—you can create beautiful creations by following one of the many free online tutorials on YouTube or Instagram. These resources can also help answer questions about how to use acrylics or watercolors and how different paints look when dried down in layers.
Even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush, it’s worth giving this one a try.
2. Get In Touch With The Natural World
Whether going for a leisurely walk in your neighborhood or conquering a steep mountain trail in the wilderness, hiking is a fun activity that doesn’t cost much.
Hiking is also good for your health: psychological research suggests that getting out in nature can reduce stress and improve mood. You can enjoy gorgeous scenery, get fresh air, meet like-minded people, and spend time with friends or alone in nature.
If you live near mountains or hills, you’re in luck; but even in an urban area, there are plenty of hiking opportunities within driving distance from home. Think about the nearby national or state park—they often have great trails that are easy enough for beginners.
If you’re new to hiking, choose an easier trail (one that doesn’t have a lot of elevation gain or rocky sections) at first. Once you become more comfortable with hiking and know what gear works best for you, you’ll be ready to plan longer trips.
You can also use your local park’s website or search sites like AllTrails. Joining a hiking club or organization where they have organized group outings is also an option. They often have maps of trails and can give you some valuable advice.
From day hikes to backpacking trips lasting several days, make sure you have the right gear in your backpack. For example, you will need some sturdy shoes, a water bottle, and a snack. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses on sunny days, and insect repellent. You can get all the equipment in one place on Amazon at an affordable price.
3. Improve Your Handwriting
Handwriting is a beautiful art form that you can get better at. The more you write, the better your handwriting will be. You can also create beautiful letters and illustrations by playing with different types of pens and ink colors.
It doesn’t take much to improve your handwriting; you only need a pen and paper. Plus, with all the different resources on the internet today, improving your handwriting doesn’t have to be tedious.
Did you know you can also make money with your unique handwriting? Yes. Handwriting services are in demand these days. From creating custom invitations for weddings to teaching kids how to write cursive letters, you can profit from this old-fashioned hobby.
4. Write Your Way To Financial Freedom
You might have heard it before; hobbies are good for the soul. But they can also be good for your bank account.
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making money from your writing, but the thought of hustling for freelance gigs or pitching a book (or series) to a publishing house makes you break out in hives, this is the hobby for you.
There are plenty of ways to turn your favorite pastime into a money-making venture—from ghosting writing and copywriting to blogging and freelance writing.
For example, you can contribute posts as an editorial assistant at your local newspaper or write for companies and get paid for your work. If you want to be your own boss, you can start your blog and earn from advertisements, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content. On top of that, many people are making money writing ebooks these days.
Whatever path you choose, the key is finding what works best for your skill set and interests.
5. Learn A New Language
Learning a new language can be a fun and inexpensive hobby to pursue.
There are many reasons you may want to take up this hobby. Maybe you want to be able to speak basic Spanish before traveling to South America or Mexico—places with rich culture and incredible food! Or possibly studying French will be more up your alley if you enjoy fine wine and cheese? Or perhaps Japanese or Chinese will suit you better?
Regardless of the reason you have or the language you choose, you can start learning without paying a dime. Here are some free ways to inspire you:
- Watch movies or listen to podcasts in that language.
- Chat with international friends online for speaking practice.
- Use the Duolingo app or other free resources like YouTube tutorials and language learning websites.
- Borrow books from the library to learn grammar rules, vocabulary, and culture.
- Find free classes in your local community.
6. Plant Your Own Garden
Whether you have a large backyard or live in an apartment, gardening is a great way to bring beauty into your life.
Gardening can give you a sense of accomplishment while saving your wallet if you have a big yard with lots of space. You can plant vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other exotic plants.
However, you don’t need a big yard or even a green thumb to start gardening.
If you’ve never gardened before and don’t have much space, start small—try growing herbs (like basil) in pots or on your windowsill. Even a small container will go a long way when cooking with fresh ingredients. Alternatively, you can also choose something easy to grow and requires little maintenance, such as one of these budget-friendly money trees for wealth attraction.
As a beginner, you can find free online resources to help you confidently plan your first planting project. There are step-by-step instructions for planting everything from herbs and vegetables to fruit trees and bushes. Talking with other gardeners in your neighborhood is also a great way to learn tips and tricks.
7. Find Free Money
If you want to make easy and fast money from your hobby, share your opinions by taking online surveys while staying home during these cold winter months. The extra cash can help build up your emergency fund faster, save money on gas, or even pay for that next coffee shop treat.
There are many survey sites, but we recommend Survey Junkie and Swagbucks. The surveys are quick and fun and will pay you for your precious time. They have been around for years and have paid millions of dollars to people like you!
Best part? Both of these sites are 100% free and legit.
Join Survey Junkie now and get a $2 bonus with my unique link (for a limited time only).
Apart from taking surveys, Swagbucks offers many other ways to earn cash or gift cards through their website, such as playing games, watching videos, or shopping online.
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8. Take Up A New sport
There’s a reason that exercise is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle; exercise helps you feel better about yourself, improves your mood and energy levels, and even boosts brain function. In short: regular exercise will make you healthier and happier in every way imaginable, so why not take up a sport?
If you’re new to exercise, you can start with low-intensity walking or cycling and build up over time. Or maybe jog around your block every morning, join an amateur team to play football, or play basketball with your friends in your local park.
Tennis also works well if you want to socialize while getting fit and having fun. And don’t forget to look for your local community centers that might offer free or inexpensive sports & fitness classes for adults.
All these options are fun, affordable, and accessible.
It’s never too late or too early (or too costly) to get active and stay healthy.
9. Practice Meditation
In an age of constant distractions—from email to social media to television—it’s easy to forget how important it is to take time out of the day and relax. Meditation provides the space to reflect on ourselves and what we want out of life.
Meditation is a rewarding hobby because it’s a great way to clear your head and give yourself some much-needed breathing room from life’s stresses.
It’s also a cheap hobby. All you need is some free time alone where no distractions will disrupt your peace of mind. You don’t need an expensive meditation cushion or special clothing.
There are many different types of meditation. Some people find it easiest to meditate while sitting in silence and focusing on their breathing for an extended period. Others enjoy guided meditation, which involves following along with a recording (on meditation apps). The goal is always the same: to find inner peace by calming the mind down so that you can think clearly and be present in whatever situation you’re in.
Meditation may come naturally for some people, but if it doesn’t feel easy, don’t worry: keep practicing!
10. Take Great Photos
Some people are too intimidated by fancy cameras and lenses to try taking pictures. But with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, anyone can become a professional-looking photographer if they know what they’re doing.
Take some time to look around; maybe you can find flowers blooming on the sidewalk, or you see the sunrise over the mountains. Perhaps something interesting is going on in the cloud formations today. There are countless opportunities for unique photography. When you want to capture beautiful moments, find a good spot, snap away, and post them online.
There is a reason that people say, “the best camera is the one you have with you.” You might not have an expensive DSLR or an iPhone 14 Pro on hand, but with enough practice, who knows? Your next photo could end up on People Magazine’s Instagram feed in no time. Let your imagination run wild!
If you’re starting, you can find plenty of free tutorials and videos on YouTube that show absolute beginners how to get started in photography without breaking the bank.
11. Resell Online
Reselling is your friend if you’re looking for a hobby that doesn’t cost much money but earns you a profit from the beginning while having fun.
You can sell just about anything online—from clothing and accessories to home goods, sports equipment, kids’ toys, and collectibles. Think about those items in your house that are either collecting dust or taking up space, like CDs from a decade ago, video games from when Nintendo was still on top, or even empty bottles of shampoo. You’ll be amazed at what people are willing to pay for these days.
Once you’ve decided what items will make good resale products, look up their prices online. Then all it takes is posting pictures of all the unwanted stuff on websites like Facebook Marketplace or Declutrr—and voila! You’re ready to start making money.
While reselling isn’t going to bring home the same kind of bacon as working at Walmart, it still provides enough financial security without requiring any special training or education necessary beforehand, either.
12. Take Control Of Your Personal Finance
You may be surprised to learn that having a handle on your personal finance is a hobby. But it is. It’s a way to keep yourself entertained and engaged while also teaching you about money management.
Luckily, you don’t need to be an experienced investor or budget planner to get started. You can start small and build up your skill set as you go along, which is why it makes for a fun, low-commitment hobby you can start right now.
The first step in this process is to make a budget. This can help you see if you have unpaid debt, extra cash for new hobbies, the need to save more, etc.
The next step is to create an emergency fund. Even if your paycheck covers most of your bills, unexpected expenses always pop up (e.g., car repairs and new tires). An emergency fund will give you breathing room if such an expense arises.
Once those two things are taken care of, you can start looking at ways to increase your income. Whether creating your own business or getting early morning jobs, find something that works for your lifestyle.
13. Teach Yourself To Cook
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of bringing a delicious meal to the table you’ve made yourself. It’s satisfying in a way that can’t be described and makes you look like a culinary god of some kind. Not only will it make you more confident in your kitchen abilities, but it’ll also save money on takeout dinners and restaurant bills!
You can find yourself some cheap food ingredients and try making something new each day until one sticks. Maybe today, it’s oatmeal with cheddar cheese and bacon; tomorrow, there could be pork chops marinated in honey mustard sauce; who knows what might happen after that? With a few simple ingredients and a well-stocked kitchen, you can make delicious meals for yourself and your friends.
However, this can be daunting if you’ve never cooked before or don’t know where to begin. When you learned how to walk, your parents were to guide you. But when it comes to learning how to cook, most of us are left on our own.
You might spend hundreds of dollars on cookbooks and food-related magazines, but it’s unnecessary. If you want to learn more about cooking, here are some tips.
There are thousands of videos on YouTube that teach everything from basic knife skills to advanced techniques like sous vide cooking or using a pressure cooker (which we love). Whether you’re looking for specific recipes or just want general cooking tips and advice, you can learn from seasoned chefs and professional cooks to home bakers who share their tips and tricks.
You can also check out some fun cookbooks at your local library with simple recipes or learn from a friend and experiment with new recipes and flavors.
14. Read What You Love Until You Love To Read
What’s better than curling up with a good book? It’s time to read books you love.
Books can help you learn new things by exposing you to different perspectives and cultures. They can take you on adventures and make your imagination wild with new ideas and possibilities.
You can always find time for reading, even if it’s just 20 minutes before bed or while waiting on your clinic appointment.
And with books, you have unlimited options! Whether looking for lighthearted fun or serious content, you can go old school and pick up a physical copy of whatever book that will get you hooked from page one from your local library for free or walk into second-hand bookshops. It is also a good idea to ask friends and family members about their favorite books or authors.
Alternatively, you can read ebooks on your tablet using Amazon Kindle Unlimited service. With Kindle Unlimited, you can access over 1 million titles at no cost while reading through a 30-day free trial before committing yourself financially.
15. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is one of the most rewarding ways to express yourself and get in touch with your emotions. It also helps relieve stress and anxiety.
There are no rules here—write down whatever’s on your mind when you’re feeling inspired (or even when you’re not).
You can use your journal to
- record your thoughts, dreams, feelings, and experiences;
- keep track of goals that come up in life;
- reflect on the things that have happened over time;
- write down what you are grateful for;
- or take some time out for yourself by writing down whatever pops into your head every morning before work.
A journal can also be used as an outlet for frustrations or fears that may seem overwhelming at first glance but aren’t necessarily so bad once put into words. Life could seem less stressful when you come back to reread what you’ve written down.
It doesn’t matter what you write about; it’s important that you keep writing.
The best part? You don’t need anything fancy. Just get a blank notebook and a pen and start writing!
16. C’mon Get Crafty
Whether you want to make something for yourself or give your friend or family an inexpensive gift from the heart during the season of giving, getting crafty is a fun pastime that can be done around the house with minimal cost.
There are plenty of simple crafts that you can make on the cheap, like a DIY flower pen or paper plate sunflower. If you’re feeling more ambitious, check out these ideas for crafting.
- Sewing (clothes, accessories)
- Knitting and crocheting (scarves, hats)
- Beading and jewelry making (earrings/necklaces)
- Woodworking (chairs/tables/bookshelves)
Creating something from scratch is deeply satisfying. You never know where your creative side will take you.
Once you become hooked on crafting, you can consider selling your creations. Esty and Handmade Amazon are great places to start if you want to sell your handmade goods online. You can also sell them in person at local craft fairs or flea markets.
17. Play An Instrument
Playing an instrument is a great way to pass the time, but it’s also something you can take seriously and use as a lifelong hobby.
You might think that playing any instrument requires lots of money to buy musical instruments and lessons. But this isn’t always the case! The internet has made it possible to learn how to play your favorite songs or instruments free of charge.
There is also no need to be intimidated by the steep price tags of musical instruments. Did you know there are inexpensive versions available at reasonable prices? For example, you can pick up a quality used guitar at a garage sale or buy a gently used violin you’ve had your eye on for years on eBay.
18. Learn To Dance
You’ve probably spent hours watching people dance from Salsa to Swing, wishing you could be one of them. Now is your chance! You can learn how to dance. Just think about how amazing it will feel when you have the confidence to bust out some moves on a crowded dance floor.
“When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.” — Paulo Coelho
If you’re unsure where to start, here are some tips on learning to dance.
You can pick up new moves and work on rhythm at a local dance studio, attend classes at your gym at affordable prices, or hit up Youtube for instructional videos at no cost.
Dance clubs are another way to get involved in dancing activities without having any prior experience. There are several different types of clubs available, including salsa, tango, and ballroom dancing clubs that meet at various locations around town throughout days and nights.
How To Find A Hobby That Suits You
Hobbies can be creative, cultural, or recreational. They can also be expensive and time-consuming. If you haven’t found a hobby yet, we’ve got some tips on how to find a new hobby that’s both exciting and financially feasible.
- Think about what kind of person you are and what interests you or sparks joy in your life. You can also look at what you already like doing and see if there’s another way you could enjoy it more by adding something else into the mix. For example, why not join a book club or sign up for a book exchange if you like reading books? If you enjoy cooking, maybe try some exotic cuisine like Pad Thai.
- Think outside the box. Do something different from your routine.
- Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work out right away—this is normal! It takes time for people to adjust to new hobbies and interests.
- Find a hobby that suits your budget—no matter what kind of activity appeals to you personally, there’s no point in spending too much money on something if it’ll never get off the ground because being broke sucks.
- Try one of the inexpensive hobbies in this article. Who knows, you might find your favorite hobby today.
And there you have it! Here are some of the coolest, funniest, and most budget-friendly hobbies.
I hope this list of fun and cheap hobbies has given you some ideas for your next hobby or pastime.
Pursuing your passion is still possible even if you are on a tight budget. Happy exploring!