Cheap hobbies are the best, period. You get to do something you love, and you get to save money (or at least not spend too much) in the process.
However, it can be hard to find a budget-friendly hobby. Companies are constantly looking for new ways to capitalize on their spare time activities. As a result, everything from sports gear and fancy gym memberships to arts and crafts supplies is becoming more expensive by the minute.
Given everything the world has been through in 2020 — and counting — we thought you could use some cheap hobbies ideas. Hopefully, these can take your mind off whatever challenges you’ve had to deal with recently. Plus, we believe that you shouldn’t have to spend a month’s worth of wages to have a good time.
So, check out our list of hobbies down below and try some of them out!
13 Best Cheap Hobbies
We don’t like to waste your time, so let’s dive straight into the best of the best!
1. Start a Small Garden
Seeds are relatively inexpensive, and you can buy second-hand gardening tools. Plus, you can save even more money by growing your own food!
2. Learn a Foreign Language
You don’t have to enroll in a paid course. There are plenty of free online resources, video tutorials, and mobile apps.
3. Learn Magic Tricks
Want to become the next Houdini? Head over to YouTube to find tons of free magic trick tutorials.
4. Visit Museums
Most museums and galleries offer free or discounted tickets for certain groups of people or on specific dates.
5. Hone Your Photography
If you have a camera, go outside and start taking pictures — or use your smartphone instead.
6. Do Calligraphy
Calligraphy can be super relaxing, and the results look gorgeous! You might need to buy a starter kit, but you can do calligraphy practically for free after that.
7. Learn Meditation
There are many free or inexpensive meditation apps — not to mention the countless guided meditation videos on YouTube.
8. Go Swimming
Do you live near the ocean or a lake? Lucky you! You can swim for free. Alternatively, you could find a budget-friendly membership for a local swimming pool.
9. Become a Wikipedia Editor
If you love learning new things and sharing your knowledge with others, consider becoming a Wikipedia editor: it literally costs nothing.
10. Learn Sign Language
Learning sign language is fun and interesting. What’s more, once you master it, you could use your skills to help others.
11. Do Volunteering
Contact shelters, animal rescues, and other organizations in your local area and ask them if they need volunteers.
12. Start Thrift Shop Flipping
Love shopping? Check. Love saving money? Check. Love making money? Check. You can do all that if you start flipping thrift shop finds.
13. Start a Podcast
Everyone and their dog have a podcast these days. And no wonder: all you need is a PC, a mic, headphones, and recording and editing software that you can get for free.
12 Cheap Hobbies for Men
On average, men spend more money on their spare time activities than women. But that doesn’t mean that there are no cheap hobbies for men and that you shouldn’t give some of them a try.
14. Start Composting
Composting is cheap, practical, and budget-friendly.
15. Get into Bird Watching
If you are a guy who loves nature and learning about animals, bird watching could be an excellent fit for you. All you need is a pair of binoculars.
16. Go Fishing
Fishing is an excellent way to calm your mind, spend quality me-time, and bring a delicious dinner back home.
17. Build and Fly a Kite
Running, laughing, and feeling the wind on your face — life doesn’t get much better than this.
18. Coin Collecting
Granted, some coins can get very expensive. However, you don’t need to get the rarest of coins to build an impressive collection.
19. Learn Home-Brewing
If you love beer (and most guys do), why not try making homebrews? You can borrow equipment or team up with friends to keep it on the cheap end.
20. Learn Bread Making
Home-made bread is cheaper and healthier than store-bought one. And no, you don’t need a bread machine. Go old school and use your hands!
21. Study Mixology
You don’t have to spend a small fortune to enjoy a great cocktail (or two). Instead, use one of the many free resources online and learn how to mix drinks yourself.
22. Enhance Your Skills in Wood Carving
Literally all you need to start crafting beautiful designs is a knife and a piece of wood.
23. Lift Weights
If you are not keen on paying for a gym membership or a personal trainer, buy second-hand weights and start lifting at home.
24. Learn Archery
All you need to awaken your inner warrior is a bow, some arrows, and a target.
25. Start Doing Comedy
Do people tell you that you have a great sense of humor? Try writing and performing comedy skits for your friends and family.
13 Cheap Hobbies for Women
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about all the ladies out there. We have some great tips for hobbies for women too!
26. Press Flowers
Flower pressing literally costs nothing. Once the flowers are dry, you can frame and hang them around your home.
27. Collect Shells and Sea Glass
If you live near a beach, you can go sea-shell hunting. And best of all, it’s 100% free!
28. Learn Baking
The smell of freshly baked cake can make anyone feel cozy. The ingredients are relatively inexpensive and can be found in just about any store.
29. Create New Recipes
If you love cooking, why don’t you come up with your original recipes? You could even start a blog and share your ideas with the world.
30. Do Body Painting
Body painting can be incredibly fun and creative. And you don’t even have to buy a canvas!
31. Do Scrapbooking
Scrapbooks are a great way to get creative and preserve family memories. All you need to get started is a pair of scissors, some glue, and a beautiful scrapbook!
32. Be a Knitting Master
Ladies, if you pick up knitting, not only will you have found a great hobby, but you will also save hundreds (if not thousands!) of dollars on store-bought knitwear!
33. Learn Embroidery
Embroidery is super relaxing, and once you get the hang of it, the results can be absolutely stunning.
34. Give Pottery a Try
If you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, you should look into pottery.
35. Solve Puzzles
Do you enjoy flexing your brain muscles for fun? The Internet is rife with enough free puzzles and brainteasers to last you a lifetime!
36. Try Hula Hooping
No, hula hopping is not just for kids. It’s super fun for people of all ages — not to mention it makes for a great and cheap workout.
37. Make Jewelry
Get yourself a bunch of inexpensive beads and some thread, and you are ready to start making your own bracelets, necklaces, and more.
38. Study Astrology
With so many great astrology websites out there, you can learn all about Moon signs, ascendants, and Mercury retrograde from your living room couch.
10 Cheap Hobbies for Couples
If you want to find a hobby that you can do with your partner, check out our ideas for cheap hobbies for couples.
39. Upcycle Everything You Own
You get to spend time together as a couple, and you also get to give your home a full makeover.
40. Go Roller-Skating
Just because the 90s are long gone doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good old roller-skating hand in hand with your partner.
41. Go Bowling
You don’t even need to buy your own bowling shoes.
42. Start Vlogging
Recording your life as a couple costs nothing, and you could even make money on the side from your YouTube channel.
43. Run a Marathon
Hey, there’s nothing like shared adversity to bring you closer together!
44. Watch the Sunset
100% stunning, romantic, and free of charge.
45. Have a Bonfire
All it takes is a lighter or a box of matches, an open space, and something to burn.
46. Go on a Picnic
You don’t need to eat out to have a romantic date. Make a delicious home-cooked meal and find yourself a comfy patch of grass with a great view.
Whether you sign up for a paid course or transform your living room into a makeshift dance studio, this is one of the most romantic hobbies you could pick up as a couple.
It’s possible to travel the world on a budget. What better way to make shared memories with your significant other?
6 Cheap Interesting Hobbies
Traditional hobbies such as gardening, knitting, or fishing are great — but what if you want to try something new and unconventional? There are so many lesser-known but super interesting hobbies that you could explore.
49. Sign Up for Theatre Acts
If you love being the center of attention and have a creative streak, you’d love being part of a theater group.
50. Go Geocaching
Talk about a real-life treasure hunt! And all you need is a GPS.
51. Trace Your Family Trees
The perfect hobby for history lovers.
52. Debunk Conspiracy Theories
The Internet is full of fake news and conspiracies. You will do the world a lot of good if you debunk some of them!
53. Make Art Collages out of Old Magazines
Got a bunch of old magazines lying around? Pick up a pair of scissors, some glue, and an old notepad, and get creative!
54. Solve Rubik’s Cubes
A single Rubik’s cube is enough to keep you entertained for a long time to come.
9 Cheap Hobbies That Make Money
Did you know that there are cheap hobbies that make money?
55. Create Zumba Classes
If you love dancing and working out, you can put together a few Zumba choreographies and start teaching them to people.
56. Restore Furniture
Some people would pay a lot of money to give their furniture a makeover.
57. Learn Food Preservation
Buy fruit and veggies on sale, make your own pickles and jams, and start selling them!
58. Start Blogging
Successful blogs take a lot of work, but they can make you a lot of money and even become your main source of income.
59. Do Video Edits
If you enjoy editing your videos, you could start doing this for others too.
60. Sports Refereeing
You can referee for local school sports events, amateur sports associations, and more.
61. Consider Dog Sitting
If you love dogs and have free time on your hands, why don’t you offer to dog sit for your friends, family, or neighbors?
62. Get Paid Playing Games
Yes, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too! In fact, gaming can earn you more than a traditional job.
63. Write Product and Movie Reviews
If you love trying out new products or watching the latest movies, you could get paid for sharing your opinions online.
6 Cheap Indoor Hobbies
Indoor hobbies come in handy when the weather outside is not on our side.
64. Learn Photoshop
While you would have to purchase the software, if you become good at it, you could eventually monetize your hobby.
65. Do Karaoke
There are plenty of karaoke videos online that you can sing along to all night long.
66. Learn Soap-Making
All you need is a soap-making tutorial, a few basic ingredients, safety gear, and a mold.
67. Make Your Own Candles
Why don’t you learn how to make your very own luxurious scented candles?
68. Redecorate Your Room
You don’t have to spend a lot on redecorating: you can find awesome second-hand furniture and home decor.
69. Learn Origami
This ancient Japanese art is the perfect indoor activity on a rainy afternoon.
5 Cheap Unique Hobbies
These unique hobbies are every bit as original as you are.
70. Learn Tarot
Do you have a sixth sense? You might enjoy Tarot cards — and maybe make some spookily accurate predictions!
71. Make Your Own Terrarium
If you have a green thumb, try to make your own terrarium from scratch.
72. Learn Watermelon Carving
Now that is a one-of-a-kind hobby if ever there was one!
73. Try Balloon Modeling
Balloon modeling will make you the star of any kids’ birthday party.
74. Learn Stone Skipping
If you live near a lake, give stone skipping a try.
7 Cheap Cool Hobbies
How about some cool hobbies that won’t get you broke?
75. Create a Band and Play Music
The best hobby for those with musical talent.
76. Learn Self-Defense
Not only is this Bruce-Lee level of cool, but it could potentially save your life.
77. Go Foraging
A great way to get yourself some wild herbs, berries, and mushrooms!
78. Create a Comic Book Series
Who knows, you might create the next Marvel.
79. Learn the Scientific Names of Your Common Plants
They sound just as cool as Harry Potter spells!
80. Design Your Own Aquarium
This takes time, skills, and quite a bit of work, but your fishies will love their new home.
81. Master Lockpicking in Case of Emergency
We’ve all been locked outside of our home or office, so that’s a handy skill to have!
9 Cheap Creative Hobbies
If you are an artist at heart, creative hobbies should be a great fit for you.
82. Get into Cosplaying
Cosplaying is wildly creative. What’s more, it is possible to make your costumes using inexpensive materials.
83. Make Dreamcatchers
All you need is a hoop, some string, suede lace, and whatever random decorations you’ve got gathering dust in your drawers.
84. Create Floral Crowns
You can use both real and artificial flowers to make these really inexpensive headpieces.
85. Learn Nail Art
And once you get good at it, you can start charging people!
86. Make Art from Seeds
You can buy seeds in bulk and use them to create stunning pieces of art.
87. Make Flower Arrangements from Your Backyard Plants
Use whatever cultivated and wildflowers grow in your garden to create your very own ikebana arrangements.
88. Record Audio Books
Revisit your favorite books and make your own recordings where you get to play all the characters.
89. Keep a Bullet Journal
Bullet journals are beautiful, practical, and very cheap to make.
Doodling is more than just absent-minded scribbling: it’s also an art form in its own right.
6 Cheap Fun Hobbies
Above all, your free time activities should make you feel happy and light-hearted. The best hobbies are fun hobbies.
91. Go Urban Fruit Picking
Hey, just because you live in the city doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some freshly picked apples or berries.
92. Play Charades
People of all ages have so much fun playing charades.
93. Host Sunday Quiz Nights
Tell your friends and family to cancel their plans for Sunday evening: you’ve got something much better in store.
94. Build Sandcastles for Your Garden
No, sandcastles are not just for the beach. You can have the time of your life building one in your backyard.
95. Paint Rocks
Rock painting is fun, creative, and you don’t even need to buy a paintbrush: you can use a Q-tip instead!
96. Study Folklore
You can have so much fun exploring the folklore of cultures worldwide for free and from the comfort of your home.
Downloadable and Printable List of Cheap Hobbies
Here is a downloadable and printable list of cheap hobbies (right click the image and select Save Image As...):
How to Pick the Best Cheap Hobbies
How do you know that a hobby is the right match for you? Follow these tried-and-tested tips on picking the inexpensive hobbies.
1. Consider Your Interests
The most important thing when choosing a new hobby is to actually like it. Don’t pick something just because it happens to be cheap.
2. Keep It Local
Activities near you tend to be cheaper. So, make sure to explore your local area before branching out.
3. Find a Community
Many cheap hobbies are things you can do at home or online. As a result, they can feel isolating. To get the maximum enjoyment out of your hobby, build a community around it, whether online or in real life.
More Awesome Things To Do
If you’d like some more ideas for fun activities for your spare time, check out our lists of things to do or things to do on a Sunday.
Make sure to also have a look at our tips on adventurous things to do and things to do when bored.
And if budget is not an issue, head over to our selection of expensive hobbies to get inspired.
Now that you have all these ideas for cheap hobbies, head out into the world and start exploring! Life is short, and you can never have too much fun.