We all need a hobby. It’s what gets us out of the house, and whether it is stamp collecting or paragliding, everyone loves to escape from the humdrum of work and let their mind escape into something they love.
But of course it’s not always feasible to do the things we love. It’s impossible to be a skiing fanatic living in Texas, without travelling thousands of miles and spending hundreds of dollars to touch the snow. Just as you’re going to have to spend hundreds to even reach China before playing the tables of Macau.
But never fear, you can find viable alternatives, and they won’t break the bank either. Below, you’ll find 20 hobbies we have compiled to keep you busy while not going broke.
Physically and Mentally Active Hobbies
1. Indoor Skiing
Of course we’ll start with all those skiing fans. The skis themselves will set you back upwards of $700 and that’s without boots, salopettes, jackets, and slope fees, but you can enjoy your hobby for much, much less. Ski hire is the obvious option, while you don’t have to travel to the Alps to enjoy a black run, but rather visit your nearest dry or indoor slope.
There are hundreds across the world, from Dubai, to Manchester, to Lynchburg, Virginia with facilities for both boarding and skiing, alongside ski hire and plenty of classes so you can learn to cut through the snow with not a flake in sight.
2. Rock Climbing Inside
Like snow, mountains are not easy to find – particularly ones that are safe to climb. But climbing centers? Well, they’re a little easier. Of course you don’t get the stunning views, but you also don’t have to brave the elements either.
You can stay dry and wind-chill free while sampling lead climbing, boldering, and top roping without the need for specialty shoes, which alone can retail up to $250. This is in addition to the savings you enjoy from not having to purchase a rope, harnesses, and other protective gear.
Not only is a climbing center a great place to develop a hobby, but also the perfect location to keep in practice between trips away to the mountains.
3. Yoga and Meditation
Not only are yoga and meditation hobbies that will improve your physical and mental fitness, but they can also be practiced with little investment. Knowledge and time are all that are required to learn the fundamental basics of each, while you may also need to purchase a simple, $20 yoga mat to optimize comfort during daily workouts.
These disciplines have a noticeable impact on your outlook and physical well-being, making them enjoyable and soothing past-times that actively improve your quality of life.
4. Hike and Ramble in the Great Outdoors
There are numerous types of cardiovascular activities, and your preferred option will depend a great deal on your level of fitness. Less intense forms of cardio are often considered to be gentle and recreational past-times, with hiking a relevant example.
Simply by investing in an affordable pair of hiking boots and independent layers of clothing, you can tackle some of the UK’s most picturesque and challenging trails at your leisure. This can cost as little as $100, depending on your existing clothing and the footwear that you own.
5. Jogging in your Local Park
In the UK market, the cost of joining a gym can vary between £50 and £60 per month nationwide. Those who select a daily membership plan can pay as much as £5 per day, and regardless of your preferred option you will be required to pay a considerable sum over the course of a year.
Gym membership is not a pre-requisite of a healthy lifestyle, and those who wish to remain active in their leisure time should instead consider jogging at their local park. This is far more effective and even more challenging than using a treadmill, while your body also benefits from an intake of fresh air and running along variable terrain.
If you are keen to develop your philosophical outlook and learn by embracing new cultures, you may want to consider volunteering your time to participate in a host of overseas projects. Western nations like the US and UK offer a wide variety of overseas community programs, with the latter’s government currently managing an estimated 150 projects across 25 countries all over the world.
This can help you to further your personal development, expand your mind and discover a purpose without having to spend heavily or outside of your means.
7. Online Gaming
The same principle of fees can be applied to bricks and mortar casinos, which often charge a premium for membership, drinks and food. While you won’t find the glamour of Las Vegas and Macau anywhere else in the world, you can still enjoy the thrill of the green felt with relative ease.
Whether you’re a high roller or just learning the game, you could visit your local casino, or better still, fire up your laptop and bring the casino to you. Playing a few rounds in an online casino has become incredibly popular over the last few years with the likes of Full Tilt dealing to millions of members.
You can play roulette, blackjack, and poker without even booking a flight to McCarran, and better still you don’t even have to play for real money. Practice your craft before playing for real stakes, and you never know – you might build up a bankroll big enough to get you to the Bellagio.
8. Social Gaming
If your preference is for traditional video gaming, you may very well balk at the cost of individual platforms and titles. If you are willing to swap your console for the type of social gaming experiences available online and through your mobile devices, however, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a diverse and thrilling range of titles.
These can often be accessed for free through either social media outlets or mobile app stores, and you retain the autonomy to decide how and when you spend your money during game play. Players usually have the choice to progress through levels either by paying real world money or completing in-game challenges, and those who are willing to invest time into the endeavor can access titles regularly with a minimal investment.
While Google’s aggressive drive to improve the quality of online content may have made it increasingly difficult to earn a lucrative living out of blogging, this remains a cost-effective and potentially satisfying past-time that enables you to indulge your creative side. This is especially true for those with a flair for website design, as broad templates and domain names can be purchased for a minimal cost before being transformed into a responsive and attractive blog.
Not only does blogging represent a cost-effective hobby that exercises your creativity, but it can also deliver some remuneration in terms of paid advertisements and sponsored posts once your blog has been established.
10. Sell Unwanted Goods Online
On a similar note, embracing e-commerce and selling goods online also represents an affordable and engaging hobby that can also deliver a financial return.
It is also relatively easy, as you simply need to register an account on e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon, before listing your items and completing transactions. The main benefit of this hobby is that it can consume as much or as little of your time as you want, while costs can be kept to a minimum if you simply choose to sell recycled or second-hand goods.
You can also easily scale your e-commerce operation over time, although it is important to retain a keen sense of perspective and enjoyment when selling items online.
11. Online Community Projects
As we can see, the thrift market has exploded recently, thanks primarily to a combination of increased environmental awareness and a gradual fall in the average rate of disposable income. Beyond creating an opportunity to save and make money, however, the burgeoning online thrift market has also developed entire communities of people who wish to share and swap items in the local area.
Take Freecycle, for example, which represents a non-profit movement that promotes the virtues of reusing and recycling unwanted items. Participating in such a community movement can be extremely worthwhile, as it occupies your time and also enables you to make a positive contribution to the environment.
12. Trace your Ancestry
As of late, software and websites have been developed to help individuals trace their family history back to its origins. This has emerged as something of a hobby for some, especially those with a thoughtful nature and an innate passion for history.
The growing interest in genealogy underlines how engrossing this past-time can be, while there are also a rising number of online communities that can help you to trace your family history and indulge your passion. This is also extremely affordable, with outlets such as Ancestry.com offering competitive rates and membership discounts.
13. Connect with an Online Pen-pal
The online revolution and the development of remote communication techniques has made it possible to connect with people regardless of their geographical location. This has revolutionized traditional hobbies like connecting with an international pen-pal, as this is now more affordable, and enables you to connect with these individuals in real time.
While you may be able to cut costs by saving money on stamps and stationary, you will need to identify viable websites through which you can connect with like-minded pen-pals. This enables you to identify free or low-cost resources, while also targeting individuals with similar interests.
Arts and Craft Hobbies
15. Create Personalized Travel Mementos
Regardless of how or where you travel, it is nice to keep mementos that fill you with warm and pleasant recollections of your adventures. The only issue with this is the cost of traditional souvenirs, which are often sold at a premium to capitalize on the lucrative tourism market.
You can create your own mementos for a relative pittance, however, while also developing a passion for art and photography. Simply by enlarging your photographs and transforming them into beautiful canvases, you can enrich the visual appeal of your home while also creating low-cost and everlasting memories of your many travels.
16. Knitting and Crocheting
Knitting and crocheting have to be two of the cheapest and most versatile of hobbies. You can pick up knitting needles, crochet hooks and all kinds of wool from most craft supply, thrift and charity stores.
What’s more, if you cannot quite find the color that you like, you can always dye it yourself using Kool Aid. You can then weave the wool into pretty much anything – clothes, decor for your home or even toys.
The best part is that you can find a whole host of free patterns on knitting forums on the internet, or commit to an affordable monthly subscription with a crafts magazine that supplies materials and inspiration.
Once you have knitted or woven fabrics into garments and accessories, you may want to embellish them with needle, thread and yarn. This is a past-time known commonly as embroidery, and it is renowned as an extremely affordable and enjoyable hobby.
Embroidery is the process of decorating fabric with colored threads and patterns, although it can also incorporate materials like metal strips, pearls, beads and even sequins. It is most commonly used on clothing and garments, and those with a passion for this past-time can reduce costs by embellishing their existing clothes to create a unique new look.
A basic sewing kit can cost as little as $15, while yarn can be purchased in bulk from thrift or charity shops for just a few dollars.
Upcycling is an excellent and thrifty hobby to undertake because you can get started simply with the materials and DIY tools that you already have at home. You can pretty much transform anything, including mirrors, dressers, television cabinets or cupboards.
It is amazing how simply adding a lick of paint, some new handles or even a little stenciling can give an old piece of furniture a whole new life. As your confidence grows you could even try combing furniture to alter its use and create something unique.
Your imagination and sense of adventure really is the limit to what you can achieve, while you can also use your passion to participate in upcycling business start-up and non-profit collaborations.
Learning the art of origami, the ancient Chinese paper craft, is another versatile hobby that you can do anywhere. And you don’t even need to devote considerable amounts of time or money to it.
You can pick up the basics in an hour or two using an online tutorial on YouTube or in a book borrowed from library. You can then go on to fold and crease paper into all sorts of wonderful creations that can be used to amuse, decorate or even store your household items safely and securely.
An engrossing and low-cost hobby, origami can also wow others and become a unique party trick.
20. Loom Weaving
Despite its recent popularization in modern culture, loom weaving is not just for kids. It is also a relatively ancient art. These versatile little loops are also extremely versatile, and can be weaved into pretty much anything, not just bands.
Patterns are available on the internet for how to weave them into rings to wear, sleeves to decorate the arms on your glasses, toy animals or even clothes. They come in a huge array of colors, including some that are quite luminous, and they are even available in glow in the dark, so there is enough diversity to interest those with a real passion for arts and crafts.
Decoupage is a deceptively easy and diverse craft, and one that some have turned into a visually stunning art-form. It is also extremely engaging and affordable, as you can simply utilize colorful tissue paper that has either been discarded or left at the back of your cupboards.
By cutting this fabric into a host of shapes and decorating it, you can create everything from a trinket box cover to a unique piece of artwork.
Featured photo credit: Freelance it Labs via freelanceitlab.com