There are tons of hobbies that don’t break the bank. You can spend a lot of money on your hobbies, buying the latest and greatest accouterments. It adds up fast when you decide you need equipment and supplies and a new outfit for the occasion. But a hobby does not need to cost you a fortune. You can stick to your budget and pick up an enjoyable, challenging, or relaxing hobby. For the most part, it depends on how you go about it. If you keep an eye out for things that are available to you for free or are inexpensive, you might be surprised all the options out there of hobbies that don’t break the bank.
Take photography, for example. You could easily spend a whole paycheck on photography equipment. The cost of cameras, lenses, and lighting can really add up. But now there are options. Thanks to modern technology, the cameras on our phones offer better and better quality with each new model. Editing software and apps, many of which are free, make it even easier to produce excellent photos. Find inspiration and photography challenges online.
I love libraries. Local libraries offer so much, movies, CDs, magazines, video games, graphic novels, and more. But the main draw for me is books. Now you can get e-books through your library in addition to physical books, so there’s something for everyone.
Reading can expand your life in many ways. You can learn something new with nonfiction. Check out a book on a new hobby, for instance, like photography. You can discover imaginary worlds or place yourself in someone else’s shoes with fiction. View the world from a different perspective and find differences and similarities. With the myriad of genres, there are endless options on the library shelves. Fantasy, Romance, Memoirs, Classics, Beach Reads, it’s almost impossible for me to leave the library without finding something I need to take home. What’s on your reading list? Does your local library carry it?
Whether you decide to grow flowers, vegetables, leafy plants, or cacti, gardening can be an inexpensive hobby. Seeds are often inexpensive. You can find plants on sale at the end of the season. Another option is to propagate a plant you already own or that of a friend. Gardening can be relaxing if you have a green thumb. Some plants are more forgiving than others, so you might want to read up on which is right for your skill level, time commitment, and space and light availability. Gardening isn’t just for those with yards. Find room on window sills or get a hanging basket if you have limited space inside and don’t have outdoor space. In time you could be rewarded for your efforts with flowers or vegetables, herbs or greenery.
Cooking and Baking
Get creative in the kitchen. You could spend a fortune at Williams-Sonoma, but there are plenty of cheaper alternative sources for cooking and baking supplies. Avoid purchasing equipment that only has one specific use, because how many times are you really going to make churros in the churro maker? Instead, focus on things that will last and have multiple uses. For instance, a cast iron pan, if you take care of it it will last a lifetime and you can cook and bake with it for many recipes. An added benefit to learning how to cook is that you can save money by staying home instead of going out to eat as often. You can also share this hobby with friends, have a potluck dinner or cookie swap party or just try a new recipe together. You gotta eat, might as well have fun with it.
Does sitting around reading or getting your hands dirty with gardening sound dull or unappealing? Do something active. Running, swimming in a public pool, exercise such as yoga, barre, or dancing can all be done on the cheap. All you need is a good pair of shoes, or a swimsuit, or yoga pants, which don’t have to be expensive. Look at your local thrift or consignment store or shop the sales at retail stores. Then get moving. You don’t need to pay for an expensive gym or studio membership or a personal trainer. There are countless videos on Youtube that you can follow along with for instruction in yoga poses or barre moves. Get your cardio in with Zumba or challenge yourself to learn a new type of dance. Name a kind of dance and there’s probably a video of it. Hip-hop, the Charleston, anything you like. Or just turn on some music, get up, and move.
Feel like getting creative? There are so many ways to express your creativity, and many can be done for a low cost. Drawing requires only paper and pen, pencil, crayon, marker, whatever you have. Fixing up old furniture can be fun, find inexpensive or free pieces on Craigslist, garage sales, or thrift stores. After you fix it up, use it in your home or sell it and put that money towards your next project. Try something new with your hair and makeup. Watch Youtube videos or follow instructions online using inexpensive drugstore makeup, it doesn’t have to be top of the line products. Get books from the library to learn new skills in various creative activities.
You can always find things to spend money on for whichever hobby you enjoy. But there are often ways to enjoy a hobby with less expensive things or without those things altogether. Have fun, be creative, be active, try something new, without breaking the bank.