In a world with so much emphasis on annual earnings and career progression, it’s easy to find that your work-life balance has become slightly disproportionate. Taking time out to practice something solely for fun or your own personal development is equally as important as getting that assignment in on time or delivering a perfect presentation.
For many of us, the fear associated with trying something new or the costs that may be incurred can make this a daunting task, and may even put us off altogether.
However, this list details fifty cheap hobbies that might change your outlook and improve your work-life balance. Some of the fun hobbies listed even offer the opportunity to earn extra money or gain new friendships.
Cheap Hobbies for Low-Cost Entertainment
Here are fifty examples of inexpensive hobbies for you to try:
1. Playing Free Games
Apps like Mistplay provide many games for you to play on your smartphone in your free time. Aside from being a fun way to spend your free time, you can also earn money or gift cards based on your activity.
Playing games is a great way to switch off your mind for a while. After a stressful day at work, you might enjoy some low-key entertainment.
Mistplay is an Android-only app, but there are several options for Android and iPhone users, including:
- Bubble Cash (for iOS and Samsung)
- Bingo Bling (iOS only)
- CashGiraffe (Android only)
- World Winner (for iOS and Android)
See our list of games that pay real money for more.
2. Taking Surveys
Taking online surveys is a great way to kill time while earning extra cash. Sites like Swagbucks and Rakuten Insight will pay you for relaying your opinions through their surveys. It’s completely flexible. You can take surveys whenever you have time, as much or as little as you want.
Writing is an excellent creative outlet and one of the best cheap hobbies, allowing you to nurture your imagination while exercising your brain. Writing can also be highly therapeutic and is brilliant for clearing the mind. So while it would be great to write your debut novel or a groundbreaking screenplay, writing is primarily a great exercise to simply enhance your own quality of life.
Blogging allows you to access all of the benefits that go along with writing while sharing your expertise in a specific topic. This can be extremely rewarding, and if you can build an engaged audience, it can become a social experience too. Not to mention, you can make money from your blog.
Read How to Start a Blog for step-by-step instructions.
Reading provides the escapism that many of us crave beyond the responsibilities of everyday life, while also allowing us to broaden our understanding of the world. You can pick up a book wherever you are and thrift shops are often full of hidden gems for very little cost, making this a great inexpensive hobby. And don’t forget to make use of your local library.
If you like reading ebooks, please see our comparison of Audible vs. Scribd.
Beyond purchasing some basic gear, which you may already own, running is completely free and can be done almost anywhere. Running is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that also reduces stress, alleviates symptoms of depression, and increases heart health. Overall, it’s a great way to use your time.
7. Hiking or Walking
If you’re looking for a super cheap hobby that will keep you active while enabling you to get outdoors, hiking and walking are great options. With slightly less impact than running, hiking is a good choice if you are starting with exercise or have any pre-existing injuries.
See our list of apps that pay you to walk.
8. Dog Walking
If you like the idea of walking and getting outside and also have a love for dogs, you might find that dog walking is a great way to combine these two interests. Many people will pay to have their dogs walked. With sites/apps like Rover, it’s easy to monetize this hobby.
Geocaching is an outdoor activity where participants use a mobile GPS device to track down a cache. This popular hobby combines exercise, time outdoors, and problem-solving skills to create a well-rounded, engaging user experience. There are several sites and apps you might use to begin Geocaching, many of which are free to use.
Birdwatching is another inexpensive hobby that allows you to maximize your time spent outdoors in nature. Studies have shown that birdwatching provides an abundance of benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety. It’s also possible to network with other bird watchers, so you can socialize and make friends through your shared interest.
Regular cycling provides many health benefits, such as a strengthened heart and muscles, improved cardiovascular fitness, and reduced blood-fat levels. This hobby may require some initial investments in the form of a bike and the necessary safety equipment, but if you’re frugal, many of these things can be found cheaper online or second-hand.
If you have the facilities nearby, why not give swimming a go? This is an excellent option if you’re looking for a hobby that is low-impact but still improves muscular strength and endurance. Often local swimming facilities offer discounted long or short-term memberships and could also be a great place to socialize and meet some like-minded people.
If you’re willing to put in the hours practicing, surfing can be a fun and exhilarating hobby. It allows you to learn a new skill while working on your strength and fitness. If you’re not looking to invest in your own equipment right away, many surf shops and schools offer cheap rental boards.
14. Join a Sports Team
Whether it’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, or any other team sport you can think of, the benefits of joining a sports team remain the same: improved self-esteem, increased fitness, more confidence, etc.
Perhaps most prominently, though, is the chance to develop social skills. Joining a sports team is a great opportunity to meet new people and build relationships while pursuing a cheap hobby.
First practiced over 5,000 years ago, yoga has become more popular and accessible recently. You might choose to practice in a yoga studio or the comfort of your own home, following a free YouTube video.
Yoga provides a host of benefits and allows you to take some time out for yourself, focusing on your well-being. Yoga is easily one of the best cheap hobbies because of all of the benefits and because it can be done anywhere.
Similar to yoga, meditation has increased in popularity in recent years. It’s much more accessible nowadays, with mobile apps offering free guided meditations suitable for beginners or experienced meditators. Again this is a great way to check in with yourself and take care of your body and mind.
Most of us have danced at some point in our lives, whether in the comfort of our own homes, in a social setting, or a specific dance class. Dancing is a tremendous form of physical exercise and also gives that endorphin buzz that many of us crave.
Whether you wish to improve your fitness, your self-esteem, or make some new friends, dancing is a hobby that offers it all.
Getting some fresh air and taking time out in nature is a surefire way to reduce stress and improve your mood.
You can often find discounted camping gear on eBay or other second-hand sites. But if you’re looking to invest in good quality equipment while keeping costs down, why not gather a group of friends to split the cost and enjoy some camping trips together?
Not only does fishing work all of the main muscle groups and increase your intake of vitamin D, but it also gives you the chance to get away from your devices for a while. So much of our lives are now online, so taking time to concentrate solely on fishing provides a welcome break from this.
Again, cheaper equipment can be found from second-hand sellers, and there are many free fishing spots dotted around.
With mood-boosting benefits and the chance to spend more time outdoors, gardening is such a popular hobby for many reasons. It’s a great way to get moving and see your hard work come to fruition. Gardening has also been linked to a decreased risk of dementia. It’s a great choice if you need a hobby.
21. Surfing the Internet
Surfing the internet is another cheap hobby (you probably already have internet access) which provides the potential for earning money. Sites like Swagbucks offer monetary rewards for surfing the web using their browser extension. If you already find yourself scrolling the internet in your free time, why not capitalize on this and earn some extra cash?
For more ideas, see our list of ways to get paid to surf the web.
22. Use Social Media
With social media engagement continually on the rise, most of us are familiar with how it works and the benefits of these platforms. Many companies hire remote social media assistants to manage their platforms from anywhere in the world. If you are social media savvy, you could use these skills to earn extra money.
23. Voice Acting
Ever been told you have a unique or engaging voice? Or enjoy acting but like the idea of being able to do this from anywhere in the world? Voice acting is an increasingly popular online industry where freelancers can capitalize on their talent while having fun and developing their skills.
24. Learn a New Skill
YouTube has seen exponential growth since its inception in 2005. With over five billion videos shared on the site, there is a video on almost anything you can imagine. If you’re looking to learn how to build origami, French-braid your hair, or make your own pottery, there is a video (or many videos) for that. With an abundance of information at our fingertips, we have the opportunity to learn almost anything – so why not try something new?
25. Learn a New Language
Want to learn a new language? YouTube also hosts a range of content creators dedicated to teaching you a new language. However, these aren’t always the most cohesive or effective learning tools for languages. Various mobile apps, such as Duolingo are free and offer a huge range of language courses that are easy to follow and comprehensive.
A common misconception about drawing is that you either can or can’t do it. Anyone can take up drawing, and it is an excellent creative outlet.
The more you practice this skill, the more confident you will become, and with many emotional and developmental benefits, you will soon wonder why you hadn’t taken it up earlier. The materials can be very low-cost, making it one of the best cheap hobbies to do at home.
27. Watercolor Painting
Watercolor painting is a great entryway for beginners looking to experiment with painting. You can find well-priced beginner sets, making start-up simple and affordable. Many books and online tutorials walk you through the basics and get you started on your watercolor journey.
Coloring has been used recently as a form of meditation and therapy. It allows you to switch off your mind to external stressors and is also a lot of fun. All you need to get started is a set of pens or pencils and a coloring book. Alternatively, you could print your own coloring sheets to keep the cost down and tailor your coloring experience.
Calligraphy is a specialized skill that, if done well, can be monetized. Again, there are many online tutorials on the art of calligraphy, and the only equipment you will need are a calligraphy pen and some good-quality paper. Once you have mastered the art, you could begin designing cards or other crafts to sell on sites such as Etsy or eBay.
Most of us have the facilities needed to get started with photography. With most smartphones equipped with high-quality built-in cameras, your photography journey could be at your fingertips and at no extra cost. Photography allows you to develop your creativity, meet new people, and enjoy capturing memories.
31. Scrapbooking or Digital Scrapbooking
Much like coloring, scrapbooking is widely used as therapy and meditation. It allows you to process your thoughts and experiences while focusing on a creative task. If you prefer to scrapbook digitally, many websites and apps offer templates to make this a simple, fun, and inexpensive hobby.
Not only does knitting allow you to create some wonderful keepsakes, but it also reduces stress and has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Good quality wool can be expensive, but looking in thrift shops or on sites such as eBay can allow you to keep costs to a minimum and still get good materials.
Like knitting, crocheting is great for reducing stress and also helps with insomnia. There is a multitude of online resources dedicated to learning how to crochet, so why not give it a go and create something meaningful in the process?
34. Soap Making
Soap making can be a good cost-effective alternative to continually buying store-bought soaps. The initial investment in soap-making materials allows you to make many bars of soap at little cost. As well as this, handmade soap can be tailored to your specific preferences by using your favorite scents and ingredients.
Homemade soap also makes great gifts. While there are many cheap hobbies, not all of them will actually save you money like soap-making will.
35. Candle Making
It’s a little-known fact that many of the candles we buy in stores are actually toxic and can be detrimental to our health. For this reason, more people are choosing to make their own.
Using soy wax has proven to be a more environmentally friendly option, and you can add your favorite essential oils and natural colorings. Again these make a wonderful gift, and the materials are all inexpensive.
Baking remains an ever-popular hobby. Whether you’re baking for yourself or others, there is something eternally rewarding in producing something both delicious and homemade. These days there is no need to invest in expensive recipe books – the internet holds endless free baking recipes for you to experiment with.
37. Flea Market Flipping
Flea market flipping entails buying low-cost items from flea markets and reselling them on sites such as eBay or Craigslist for a profit. This can be extremely profitable and is actually a lot of fun. Searching for items you’re likely to make a decent profit with can be rewarding and a great way to generate some extra income.
See our list of the best items to flip for profit.
38. Restore Old Furniture
Flea markets can also be a great place to pick up old furniture. If you have a creative flair and are adept in upholstery or restoring hardware, you could upsell the furniture and make yourself a profit. You might also choose to keep the items and decorate your own home with items you have restored yourself.
If you want to turn it into a side hustle, please read flipping furniture for profit.
39. Board Games
I mentioned mobile games earlier. If you prefer your games to remain offline, board games are a classic favorite and offer a more social experience.
Cheap board games can be found in thrift stores or second-hand sites and are a fun and nostalgic way to spend time with friends or family. You probably already own several board games, so this is one of those cheap hobbies you could start immediately without paying anything.
40. Card Games
Card games also offer a fun and social playing experience while exercising your mind. Card decks can be found very cheap, and if you prefer to play online, you can find a range of online card games ready for you to tackle.
If you’re looking for a hobby equal parts fun, challenging, and productive, you might choose to take up sudoku. Sudoku improves concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills and reduces anxiety and stress. You could purchase a dedicated Sudoku book or free Sudoku mobile apps available for on-the-go puzzling.
42. Watching Movies
With streaming services like Netflix consistently adding new and old movies to their online library, these are an excellent option for those that enjoy getting lost in a movie to pass the time and broaden their cultural horizons. Some local libraries also offer free movie rentals, which could greatly reduce the cost.
See our list of free TV apps.
43. Listen to Podcasts
More and more of us are choosing to consume podcasts daily. Podcasts are great for on-the-go listening and can be informative and entertaining, and it’s a free hobby. Available on most streaming services, such as Spotify or Apple Music, podcasts are as accessible as listening to your favorite album.
44. Listen to Music
Listening to music can be therapeutic and has a multitude of emotional benefits. As mentioned above, streaming services are a great choice if you enjoy listening to a huge myriad of music.
With free trials and multi-user discounts available, the subscription fees are quite inexpensive. And, of course, the good old-fashion radio still works (and most stations have free radio through their website).
45. Play an Instrument
Learning to play a new instrument is proven to enhance memory, concentration, discipline, and patience. Beyond the initial investment of purchasing the instrument (which is often much cheaper second-hand), there is minimal cost and much to be gained from this hobby.
Juggling may seem like a very niche hobby. However, there are many benefits you may not have considered. Juggling is a great workout and increases concentration and focus. It’s a hobby that can be practiced anywhere, so if you find yourself with some free time, no matter where you are, you could be working on your juggling skills to pass the time.
On the slightly more complex side of this list, we have coding. This may not be for everyone, as it takes a good amount of research and practice, but coding has many benefits.
We rely on technology more and more these days, meaning it’s incredibly useful to understand the way devices are programmed and designed. Beyond this, coding also improves creativity, focus, and problem-solving skills. There are many free online resources detailing the basics of coding for beginners.
Genealogy is fascinating and could uncover hidden secrets in your family’s past. Maybe it’s a distant link to royalty or a groundbreaking invention. Why not find out exactly where your family history lies? Many genealogy records are available for free, making this a tremendous low-cost hobby.
Couponing is a hobby we can all do and benefit from. Who doesn’t enjoy saving money on their grocery shop or online clothes order? Whether you choose to coupon online (see our list of the best coupon sites), with magazines, or in any other format, this is a rewarding way to pass the time and enables you to get the most for your money.
Whether you have a couple of hours or days to offer, charities and organizations often seek volunteers to help out with their services. If you’re a student, this is an excellent way to enhance your resume, and if you’re not a student, what better way to spend your free time than to help out a good cause?
Final Thoughts on Cheap Hobbies
Whether you try out one or a few of these interesting hobbies, just doing so will likely increase your confidence and self-esteem.
Regain some balance in your life by taking the time to work on yourself and learn a new skill at the same time while pursuing one of these cheap hobbies.