In a world where so much emphasis is put on annual earnings and career progression, it’s easy to find your work-life balance has become slightly disproportionate. Taking time out to practice something that is solely for fun or for 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 might just change your outlook and improve your work-life balance. Some of the hobbies listed even offer the opportunity to earn some extra money or gain some new friendships.
Cheap Hobbies for Low-Cost Entertainment
Here are fifty examples of inexpensive hobbies for you to try:
1. Taking Surveys
Taking part in online surveys is a great way to kill some time while also potentially earning some extra cash. Sites like Swagbucks and InboxDollars will pay you for relaying your opinions through their surveys. As well as earning some extra money, you can also feel that you are contributing to the experience of other online consumers.
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 extremely 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 aforementioned benefits that go along with writing, while also sharing your expertise in a certain topic. This can be extremely rewarding, and if you are able to build an engaged audience, it can become a social experience too.
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 might already own, running is completely free and can be done almost anywhere. Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise which also reduces stress, alleviates symptoms of depression, and increases the health of your heart. But be careful to build your way up gradually. Running is a high-impact activity, so you must ensure you are knowledgeable about how to avoid injuries.
6. Hiking or Walking
If you’re looking for a cheap hobby that will keep you active while enabling you to get outdoors and enjoy the landscape, hiking and walking are great options. With slightly less impact than running, hiking is a good choice if you are just starting out with exercise or have any pre-existing injuries.
See our list of apps that pay you to walk.
7. Dog Walking
If you like the idea of walking and getting outside, but 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 and with sites/apps like Rover, it couldn’t be easier to monetize this hobby.
Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which participants use a mobile GPS device to track down a cache. This is a popular hobby and 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.
9. Bird Watching
Bird watching is another inexpensive hobby that allows you to maximize your time spent outdoors in nature. Studies have shown that bird watching 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 provides the opportunity to learn a new skill while working on your strength and fitness. If you’re not looking to invest in your own equipment straight away, many surf shops and schools offer cheap rental boards.
13. Join a Sports Team
Whether its soccer, volleyball, 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, and the list goes on. 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 in recent years. You might choose to practice in a yoga studio or in 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 own wellbeing. Because of all of the benefits and because it can be done anywhere, yoga is easily one of the best cheap hobbies.
Similar to yoga, meditation has increased in popularity in recent years. It’s much more accessible these days, 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 your own home, in a social setting, or in 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 sure-fire 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 spent online, so taking some 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 some more time outdoors, there are many reasons gardening is such a popular hobby. A great way to get yourself moving while also seeing all of your hard work come to fruition. Gardening has also been linked to a decreased risk of dementia.
20. Surfing the Internet
Surfing the internet is another cheap hobby (you probably already have internet access) which provides the potential for earning some money. Sites like Swagbucks offer monetary rewards for surfing the web using their extension browser. If you already find yourself scrolling the internet in your free time, why not capitalize on this and earn yourself some extra cash?
For more ideas, see our list of ways to get paid to surf the web.
21. 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 utilize these skills to earn some extra money.
22. Voice Acting
Ever been told you have a unique or engaging voice? Or just 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 in which freelancers can capitalize on their talent while having fun and developing their skills.
23. 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 a lot of 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?
24. 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 when it comes to languages. Various mobile apps such as Duolingo are available for free and offer a huge range of language courses that are easy to follow and very comprehensive.
There is a common misconception around drawing: that you either can or can’t draw. 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.
26. 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. There are many books and online tutorials which 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 the majority of smartphones coming 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 have fun capturing memories.
30. Scrapbooking or Digital Scrapbooking
Much like coloring, scrapbooking is widely used as a form of therapy and meditation. It allows you time to process your thoughts and experiences while focusing on a creative task. If you prefer to scrapbook digitally, there are many websites and apps offering 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 reduction in the 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.
Much like knitting, crocheting is great for reducing stress and also helps with insomnia. There are 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?
33. 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 own specific preferences by using your favorite scents and ingredients. These also make great gifts. While there are many cheap hobbies, not all of them will actually save you money like soap making will.
34. 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 for 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.
36. Flea Market Flipping
Flea market flipping entails buying items at low cost from flea markets and then 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 that you’re likely to make a decent profit with can be rewarding and is a great way to generate some extra income.
See our list of the best items to flip for profit.
37. 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 furniture 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.
38. Playing Free Games
Apps like Mistplay provide a plethora of games for you to play in your free time. Playing games is another way to allow your mind to switch off for a while. The games are often engaging and accessible and are completely free.
See our list of apps that pay you to play games.
39. Board Games
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 on 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 right away without spending 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 that is equal parts fun, challenging, and productive, you might choose to take up sudoku. Sudoku improves concentration, memory, problem-solving skills, and reduces anxiety and stress. You could purchase a dedicated Sudoku book or there are also 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 time and broaden their cultural horizons. Some local libraries also offer free movie rentals, which could be a great way to reduce the cost.
43. Listen to Podcasts
More and more of us are choosing to consume podcasts in our day-to-day lives. Podcasts are great for on-the-go listening and can be informative and entertaining. 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, and 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 as well).
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 are often much cheaper second hand), there is very little cost involved and a lot 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 actually 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 incredibly interesting and could uncover some 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 great low-cost hobby.
Couponing is a hobby we can all do and we can all 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 time and enables you to get the most for your money.
Whether you have a couple of hours or a couple of days to offer, charities and organizations are often looking for 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?
Whether you choose to try out one or a few of these hobbies, just the act of doing so is likely to 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.