Many people think that you can only entertain yourself by spending lots of money. I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of super cheap hobbies just waiting for you to try. Some of them cost some nominal amount of money, while others are completely free. That means that just because you are on a budget it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun as well.
1. Fishing – This is my personal favourite cheap hobby. My brother and I used to regularly go fishing before he moved to the UK and I used to love it! The only cost (once you have a rod and tackle) is the bait (don’t use chicken…), but even bait can be free if you know how to catch it.
2. Hiking/Walking – I actually went for a short walk with my wife, son and dog this afternoon and that is what caused me to think about writing this post. It costs nothing and you get a chance to get out into the sun as well as getting some exercise.
3. Gardening – I love getting out into my fruit and veggie garden (although lately it has been on slug killing missions). Not only is gardening fun, but growing your own fruit and veggies can save you a lot of money.
4. Fly a Kite – I’m not so big on flying kites, but as I was driving home from a birthday lunch a few weekends ago, my wife and I saw lots of people flying kites down by the waterfront. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves.
5. Go for a swim/surf – This one might involve some driving depending on where you live, but for me personally we are only about 20-30 minutes away from the nearest surf beach. So it is a cheap and easy way to spend an afternoon.
6. Beach cricket – I haven’t played beach cricket in a while, but the last time I did we were actually at the same surf beach I just mentioned, and my brother and some friends of mine had a great time. I’ll assume all Australians have a cricket set they can make use of so this is almost a free activity.
7. Frisbee – Even as an adult I enjoy throwing a frisbee around, although the last time we had a frisbee it was “The Areobe” and it was the frisbee that held the world record for the longest flight distance. Needless to say, it ended up a tree… Fortunately we got it back, but after only half a dozen more throws it ended up about 50 metres out to sea and sunk to the bottom – never to be seen again 🙁
8. Photography – It helps if you have a good DSLR camera to take nice pictures, but even with a cheap camera you can have a lot of fun taking photos. Perhaps you are like me and you live next to a river or a lake and could photograph the local ducks?
9. Feed the Ducks! – This one wasn’t originally on the list, but after my last point it got me thinking that when my son is a little bit older I can’t wait to take him to feed the ducks at the pond down the road. I think he will have a great time!
10. Take up Bird Watching – I’ll admit it, you will need to be pretty desperate for this one, still, there are plenty of people who do bird watching as a hobby, so there must be something to it…
11. Go fruit picking – A friend of mine was really keen to go strawberry picking at the local strawberry farm. We still haven’t gone, but I am still keen.
12. Visit the local Botanical Gardens – Most major cities have some sort of botanical gardens and normally they are free for people to stroll around.
13. Picnic – Who doesn’t love going out for a picnic? My wife and I normally either go down to the local river or out towards the dams and have a picnic lunch.
14. Go Camping – There are plenty of free/really cheap camping spots where you can setup a tent and enjoy the outdoors. Worst case, even the backyard might be an adventure for TV bound kids.
15. Play Tennis – Around where I live all the local schools all have tennis courts, and on the weekends when there are no kids around the courts are open for anyone to use (although I’m pretty sure every time we use them we are trespassing…). Nevertheless, it’s free and it’s great fun to play.
16. Backyard putt putt – All you need is a mower, a putter, a golf ball and a spade. Mow your strip of grass nice and low, dig a small hole at the end of your mowed grass. Start putting!
17. Circuits Training – A few friends used to go down to the local university oval on a Sunday afternoon and do fitness sessions for about an hour. It started with an 800m run and then all manner of different activities (push ups, sprints, burpees, sit ups etc).
18. Have a backyard BBQ – Invite some friends around or get to know your neighbours by having some beers and a few snags on the BBQ. There could be a lot worse ways to spend your time than that.
19. Go for a bike ride – I’ll assume you have a bike and that you know how to ride it. This can be great fun, and you can explore your local area.
20. Shoot hoops – Again at the old school yard… A few friends of mine used to be keen basketball players. We used to go down to the old school courts and shoot bricks on occasion.
22. Play free online games – League of Legends instantly comes to mind here. It would have to be one of the biggest online games that I know about. While it is entirely free to play, I know a lot of people that have spent a good deal of money on it.
23. Start A Blog – Blogging can be fun when you are talking about topics that are interesting to you. Plus you get to meet some really interesting people along the way 🙂
24. Create a Niche Site – Not only can niche websites be fun to make, but if you do good keyword research you could make some good money too.
25. Write a Book – Writing a book can be fun – if you are talented enough. Selling books is something entirely different…
26. YouTube – I have wasted so much time on YouTube. It isn’t something I am proud of, but if you are keen to kill time, then this might be a good way to do it.
27. Reddit – Reddit is like YouTube in that you can spend hours of time on a single website. The main difference with Reddit is that it is more current events and there is a huge amount of cat photos.
28. Podcasts – Podcasts can be a great way to learn new things or listen to your favourite speaker.
29. News Sites – I spend quite a bit of time reading news sites and blogs. I find I prefer to read news online as I can choose to read what interests me rather than have some idiot news anchor talk about Kim Kardashian’s latest exploits.
30. Photoshop / Gimp – Learning how to use Photoshop (or gimp which is pretty much the same, but free) can be really interesting and fun. There are some seriously talented people out there who are amazingly talented at using these applications.
31. Learn a Programming Language – Programming languages are just like normal languages, the only difference is that you are learning to speak to the computer rather than a person. There are plenty of different languages to learn (PHP, C, C++, C#, Java, VB etc) . Programming is about the only reason I am glad I did an IT degree, I love being able to create applications.
32. Listen to Music – Do you like music? Last.fm is a great music service where you can listen to almost anything. There are also plenty of free streaming radio stations.
33. Find new Recipes to Try – I actually really enjoy getting into the kitchen and cooking different types of meals. I find most of my recipes on cooking websites. Note: If you need great food ideas check out my wife’s website delicious food ideas.
34. Learn how to DIY – I’m not handy at all, so websites like instructables.com are really helpful to people like me.
35. Pinterest – Need I say more. I know some people that can spend hours on Pinterest. I’m not one of them, but if looking at pictures floats your boat then this might be good for you.
36. Play Cards – I love playing cards with family and friends. I know it seems a bit old school, but it can be a lot of fun and a pack of cards is very cheap and easy to source.
37. Play Board Games – For some reason whenever I think of board games I think of Monopoly. There are literally thousands of different types of board games. Just pick one and see how you go.
38. Have a get together – Having a get together doesn’t have to be expensive. If you get everyone to bring a dish then your event can be quite cheap and you can enjoy the company of others over some food.
39. Sudoku – My In laws have heaps of those little Sudoku books. They love playing the game and will often do one after the other. I must admit that it can be a great way to keep your mind sharp.
40. Learn to play a musical instrument – Obviously this isn’t going to be cheap if you don’t already have an instrument, but if you do you could finally learn to play that guitar collecting dust in the corner of your room. When you start to get your feet under you, why not try to emulate famous artists such as Blink-182 and Jewel and get location specific tutoring such as San Diego music lessons.
41. Fun Between the Sheets – This has to be one of the most fun activities on the list and it’s entirely free! Note: Having a partner is preferred…
42. Reading – I love reading, but I never get enough time to do it. It is cheap and always helps me get to sleep of a night time.
43. Knitting / Sewing – I’m not really into this, but I know my wife wants to get better at sewing and would love to spend some time practising.
44. Cooking – I find cooking to be very therapeutic and would love to do more enjoyable cooking, rather than the normal rushed cooking dinner that is the norm.
45. Watch TV – I’m loathe to include this as I hate how much time I spend in front of the TV already, but it is cheap and many people spend a lot of time watching TV so if you want to get fat and lazy this one is right up your alley.
46 – Home Brewing – Yeeha, this is more like it. I would love to get into home brewing, but my wife has had some bad experiences with her dads home brewing, so I can’t see it happening any time soon.
47 – Check out the local Museum – Many museums only charge a very small admission fee and often it is well worth the price.
48. Take up couponing – Using coupons is a great way to save money and from what I have seen on the TV, it looks like it can be highly addictive.
49 . Play console games – I’m a bit old school when it comes to console gaming, I come from a time when games weren’t online and you had to be happy with the storyline of the game rather than beating your friends online.
50 – Take up amateur electronics – My dad bought me an electronics kit when I was younger and I really enjoyed making things work. I wasn’t very good at it, but it did help with my understanding of some basic electrical principals.
51 – Volunteer at a charity – Charities are always looking for people to help out, so if you have time to burn why not put it to good use.
I’m sure there are way more than 51 cheap hobbies on offer, but as I am 2000 words through this post I think I might quit here so that I don’t bore you to death. If you have a good activity that I missed please leave it in the comments section below.