24 Sep, 2020

27 Cheap and Fun Hobby Ideas to Break Free from Monotony

Ever feel like the days in your life are scripted, repetitive, and monotonous? 

You wouldn’t if you had a hobby. 

Hobbies are the perfect antidote for the boredom blahs and are also good for your wellbeing. Research has shown engaging in leisure activities is associated with less stress, greater positive mood, and improved health.  

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend money to take up a hobby – especially when low-cost hobbies are plentiful. 

In this article, we’ll share 27 interesting hobby ideas that you can try on the cheap.

Read on, and you’re sure to find an activity or two that will help make your days fun, restful, and rejuvenating. We promise!

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Benefits of Hobbies

There’s no shortage of reasons to pursue a hobby, but here are the main benefits:

Hobbies help us grow

Hobbies constantly push us to learn something new. Some hobbies even introduce techniques that we never thought we could apply. The result? Self-improvement that helps us grow in various ways. 

Hobbies encourage us to socialize

For those who find socialization near impossible, hobbies offer an opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation. There’s something about connecting with a common interest that feels different (in a good way).                             

Hobbies enable us to recharge

 Starting a new hobby gives us a break from the daily grind. With never-ending work stress and personal issues, many of us need an outlet where we can relax, recharge and refresh. It turns out hobbies provide the perfect outlet for us to renew our spirit and get our mojo back.

Hobbies allow us to beat boredom

Hobbies fill our time and reduce our chances of feeling bored or imprisoned. Whether we’re self-isolating or working from home, we can count on our hobbies to help us stay sane. And the good news is that there are plenty of home hobby ideas we can pursue, some of which are covered below.

27 Fun Hobby Ideas to Try (Without Breaking the Bank)

Personal enrichment

1. Blogging

Did you know that a lot of people blog just for fun? You can start a blog and express your thoughts on whatever topic you want. Feel like cracking a joke about the corporate world? Go right ahead. The best thing about hobby blogging is that there is no pressure to follow a certain format or schedule, so your brain feels brighter and happier. What’s more, you can practice blogging from the comfort of your home.

2. Reading

Had a rough week? Grab a book, curl up in bed, and see the world through someone else’s eyes. Studies show that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 60 percent. Seriously, reading is one of the best hobby ideas for relieving feelings of anxiety and fatigue. And it doesn’t cost much either. You can get old books for practically nothing at your local library.

3. Learning a new language

Few hobbies are more helpful in today’s global world than learning a new language. App developers have made learning another language fun and engaging (example: DuoLingo), and some podcasts even record current events at a snail’s pace to help listeners practice their listening skills.

4. Journaling

You might have a bad taste in your mouth from when your middle school English teacher made you keep a journal, but it’s actually quite therapeutic. Bullet journaling and hand lettering has turned keeping a journal into a functional work of art, and there are all kinds of tutorials on how to journal the most effectively.

5. Staying informed

If you want to stay informed but don’t want to get bogged down by just how much news there is, most big newspapers (i.e. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post)  have free daily briefs that they email right to your inbox. These shortened blurbs of the day’s news give you a glimpse of the world without all the extra.

6. Vacation planning

For the world traveler waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic at home, planning a future vacation can be one of many fun hobby ideas. From the route to the restaurants and the hostels to the hotels, planning the ins and outs of a vacation is a great way to pass the time (and scout of great deals!). 

Get Out and Go

7. Gardening

Gardening is the perfect hobby to enjoy more fresh air and to grow your own produce. All it takes to start is an inexpensive pack of seeds, fertilizer, soil, and basic gardening tools. If you’re new to gardening, growing some herbs or even just flowers is a pretty good starting point.

8. Hiking

Are you a nature lover? Then you’ll certainly enjoy hiking. It’s a fun activity that allows you to explore areas you can’t go to by car. Plus, it’s super easy to start. Gather a few friends and explore your local forest, a nearby hill or lake. Or download AllTrails for more exotic hiking locations.

9. Camping

Whether you want to try car camping, primitive camping, or hammocking (or a little of all three), the camping support world is huge. No longer is camping just for the “outdoorsy folks,” now it’s within anyone’s reach. Youtube channels like “Homemade Wanderlust” and “Darwin onthetrail” are perfect for aspiring backpackers who aren’t quite sure where to start.

10. Nature identification

One cool hobby that’s fascinating nature enthusiasts everywhere is plant and animal identification. PictureThis – Plant Identifier is one of the best apps out there for figuring out that pretty vine growing along your fence line, but it’s also great if you want to get into foraging (one of several trending hobby ideas that are blowing up Instagram).

Embrace Your Inner Artist

11. Playing an instrument

Playing an instrument is one of the best hobby examples because it is relaxing and can bring you and others joy. Masterclass has courses for singing, ukulele, guitar, production, mixing, drumming, violin, and composing from people like Itzhak Perlman, Danny Elfman, and Christina Aguilera, but you can always make up your own music like internet sensation Abby the Spoon Lady.

12. Nail art

Next on our list of hobby ideas is nail art. This can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be, and the outcomes are as limitless as your imagination. Skillshare offers online nail art classes, and Etsy is a website that lets you upload your own designs, and you can earn a commission whenever someone uses it for any kind of textile.

13. Origami 

If you’ve never heard of Origami, it’s the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. You can make animals, plants, and other nature-inspired folds taking help YouTube and How to Make Origami app. Origami is both creative and fun, and it also helps with hand-eye coordination.

14. Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is typically seen as one of the more expensive hobby ideas, but it’s definitely doable on a budget. You can get started with ribbons and material scraps lying around the house. When it comes to stickers, you can save from owning a printer. And the secret to cheap scrapbook accessories is the clearance racks in the arts and crafts section of retail chains. 

Exercise (at home or outside)

15. Running 

Running or jogging are fantastic hobby ideas for both the mind and body, and all it requires is a good pair of running shoes. Whether you’re using a treadmill or hitting the park trail, plug into an audiobook or podcast to keep your mind occupied. Want to try competitive running but don’t want all the crowds? Look online for virtual running competitions that let you compete wherever you are. 

16. Dancing 

Learning how to dance – either alone or with a partner – no longer requires you to go to a dance studio to learn. Nowadays, dance studios are taking their classes online and offer courses in breakdancing, ballroom, hip hop, jazz, tap, and much more.

17. Yoga

Yoga is one of several at home hobby ideas because you can do it in your bedroom, home office, or the living room. Feeling like a little fresh air? Head out to the balcony or your backyard. For those who want to tone some of their yoga skills, the Youtube channel Yoga with Adriene is exceptional.

18. Rollerblading

Along with the fanny pack, this 1990s staple is also weaving its way back into popularity. Rollerblading or roller skating (if you need a little extra stability) are other fun hobby ideas for those with excellent balance and strong ankles (of course, a neon visor over a tight perm is also welcome).

19. Slacklining

Slacklining is a cheap hobby because all you need to practice your balance and tone your leg and ab muscles is a couple of trees and about 50 feet of one-inch flat polyester webbing.

Give the Oven Some Lovin’

20. Baking

Baking shows seem to be a dime a dozen these days, which just goes to show you that anyone can learn to bake. Start small with baking staples like biscuits, cookies, and pie (Mel’s Kitchen Café and Sally’s Baking Addiction are fantastic websites to learn these skills) and gradually expand your repertoire to artisan breadmaking and pastries. You’ll never want to eat store-bought baked goods again!

21. Cooking

Cooking can seem a little daunting at first, but with countless food bloggers trying to carve out their place on the internet, you’re sure to find someone who speaks to you. If you’re a visual learner, check out tasty.co for step-by-step video tutorials for both simple and fancy cooking.  

22. Cheesemaking and home brewing

Cheesemaking and home brewing are two interesting hobbies that put the “fun” in “functional.” These aren’t the cheapest hobbies to start up, but once you have the necessary equipment, it’s pretty inexpensive to keep up. 

Craft Your Heart Out

23. Handicraft

Handicraft (knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, quilting, clothing construction, and crochet) is no longer just a hobby for your grandma. In fact, handicraft is making crazy waves right now between young people upcycling thrift store finds, irreverent cross-stitching, and DIY tutorials that anyone can follow.

24. Woodburning

Basic woodburning kits cost about as much as a fast food dinner date, but they can bring hours of entertainment and produce countless gifts for your loved ones. From coasters to wall hangings, woodburning can add a little rustic charm to your life.

Financial Fun

25. Budgeting

Whoever said budgeting can’t be fun wasn’t doing it right! There are countless money management blogs and podcasts out there offering advice, and you can even install digital envelope apps on your phone, so you don’t overspend.

26. Short-Term Investing

Short-term investing is one of several hobby ideas where you can make a little cash without tying up your money for a long time. Investing in mutual funds and Certificates of Deposit require just a couple hundred bucks to begin, but can grow quite a bit over time. If you want a little more risk, day trading may be right for you, but start small and take things slow while you learn how to do it the right way.

27. Thrift Shopping

Few things are more thrilling than finding a screaming deal on that perfectly unique outfit at the thrift store. By cleaning up and reselling thrift store items, you can even make a good chunk of change.  

Conclusion

Learning a new hobby doesn’t have to take a ton of time, energy, or money, but doing so can yield some pretty impressive results. 

By devoting just a few minutes a day and setting a goal to learn something new, you may find yourself becoming proficient in something you never dreamed possible.

The hobby ideas list above is just a starting point to get your self-improvement juices flowing. Soon enough, you’ll not only have another skill in your toolbelt, but the mental and physical health benefits will leave you healthier, happier, and feeling more fulfilled.

Which of these hobby ideas are you going to try first? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Adeel Qayum: Adeel Qayum is a writer and content strategist based in Southeast Asia. He loves blogging about ecommerce and online privacy, and dances salsa in his free time.