What are some cheap hobbies that are fun?

  • Learn to enjoy board games and card games! We love 500, Lost Cities, Blokus, Samurai, etc and can play them over and over again. Pennies per hour of entertainment, if that. Also party games are great for larger groups–we love Cards Against Humanity and Murder in the Dark.
  • Most museums have free nights, student discounts, or failing that get passes from the library
  • The library! Books, DVDs, magazines, lectures, book discussion groups, wine tastings (no, really, my library has this) all for FREE! And Kindles get a bad rap, but if you are a dedicated reader who doesn’t stick to the bestseller list, or if you enjoy “literature,” Kindle books are CHEAP. If you have a good library in your area, it’s not worth it, but in areas like mine where the library options include the one story, mostly kids’ section public library, or the $1/day late fee school library, they’re awesome. I got the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft for free.
  • Most cities have free movies happening at libraries, in parks outside in the summer, for special events, etc.
  • There are many resources online for purchasing discounted movie tickets in advance (just do a google search; I think the Entertainment books have them too) and usually the only restriction is you can’t use them opening weekend. Many employers will sell them as a perk also.
  • Use your parks! Hike, bike, camp, walk, play frisbee, fish, etc.
  • Beaches, lakes, and public pools
  • Also, older or less popular video games don’t always suck. If you have a system sitting around, look online for some cheap games (some eBay lots for “crappy” games can go for $10 for 10-20 games!). This works for computer games, too, I assume (I haven’t had a decent computer in like 6 or 7 years, so computer games are foreign to me).
  • Disc Golf. Grab a disc or more and head to the local (most likely free) course.
  • Bicycling is not only a frugal hobby, it’s also a frugal lifestyle. Up front costs, a little higher than your average ‘frugal’ hobby. But spend a little money on a good bicycle (I spent $500), and it will last you a lifetime. Pretty good return on your investment. When buying a bike remember, cheap≠frugal.
  • Geocaching is a great hobby, and almost free! It’s easiest with a smart phone but printing out directions and clues from a local library works too. My fiance and I spend entire days hunting for caches, there are plenty of them and searching means you get to explore your local area as well. Even better if you make your own and hide it!
  • Baking days as well. For a small amount in start-up costs (for cupcake trays, loaf tins, weighing/measuring equipment etc) you can make loads of tasty treats for far cheaper than buying bread or cakes at the supermarket. I made the most amazing loaf of bread today from an add-water mix that cost less than £1, and I probably could have done it cheaper.
  • Invest in a decent antenna and cut the cable/satellite TV.
  • Cheap dates: hiking, coffee/ice cream dates are good 1st date ideas, a cheap 2nd or 3rd date is a movie night. Cook an interesting (try a new ethnicity perhaps) meal, pack a picnic, walk around downtown, go to local museums (or battlefields, monuments, whatever you find interesting), check out free concerts in your area, give each other a massage, walk around a scenic park, hiking, bike rides, movie nights at home.
  • Get a cheap/free laptop or desktop off craigslist, and put Linux on it for absolutely free! Chances are, you are reading this from a PC that you will be able to install Linux on. You can just pop in the CD, restart the computer, and something like Ubuntu will automatically split your disk so that you can keep windows and put Ubuntu on as well. You can do everything you did on Windows/Apple, and more. Virtually everything is free. You can install GIMP, basically a free Photoshop, OpenOffice, and stay productive while saving money. There are great, free games. You can learn how to program, and learn in detail how computers actually work, if you have the patience.
  • Learn to play an instrument. There is a little startup cost, but pick only one well made instrument, stick with it and master it. Don’t switch. Doesn’t matter which one, could be a guitar, banjo, piano, trumpet, harmonica, tropical pan flute. They all sound good if you know how to play well enough.
  • Programming is fun, and if you have a computer of any type already, free! Not only that, you get to practice a useful skill that can help you find a good paying job, or help you simplify the one you already have.
  • Yoga can be a very cheap and worthwhile hobby. You can invest in a cheap yoga kit (approximately twenty dollars, if you take care of it, it can last for years.) You can find instructional videos or a number of instructional videos online. Many yoga studios also offer free classes/discounted rates for beginners! it’s very spiritually and physically rewarding, as well as frugal! Try it out!
  • Golfing is a cheap hobby if you know where to get deals. (Buy clubs and gear online or used and don’t get sets… buy individual clubs.) Buy a golf pass/membership through your city. Most cities have something where for about $350 you can play unlimited golf for the whole summer… Also, most courses, even nice ones, have something called twilight golfing… if you go after 5pm. I know a course by me costs about $60 for a round of 18… but if you go after 5pm, They drop the price to $15, sometimes they even let you go for free. All courses do this.
  • Rock climbing can be quite a cheap hobby/lifestyle, much more so if you live near somewhere with outdoor climbing. The initial investment in gear is about $150 minimum, and $400-500 on the high end, assuming you don’t know anyone with gear to use. (This is for sport climbing.) Most places are free, or close to it, to go climb outdoors. Sometimes there is a park entrance fee, but those are usually paltry, and have great deals on annual passes or the like.

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