Money Saving 301

20 Hobbies That Won’t Drain Your Wallet

January 5, 2024

Our free time is often spent on spending. If your budget allows, there’s nothing wrong with getting out and enjoying a movie with friends, a yoga class, or a stroll through the mall. However, you don’t always have to spend to have fun.

If you find yourself with a limited entertainment budget, maybe it’s a good idea to consider a hobby. What are hobbies? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a hobby as a pursuit outside of one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.

Hobbies can bring meaning to life and give purpose to our free time. They allow us to develop skills and knowledge. They may also help us nurture relationships, either by learning skills from a loved one or by meeting people who share our hobbies.

The best hobbies often develop from things you already love, so start by creating a list of hobbies you might enjoy. Think about things you’ve always wanted to learn. If you’re not sure what to list, try searching online for “hobbies for men,” “fun hobbies,” or even “hobbies that make money.”

Is it too tough to choose one hobby? There’s nothing wrong with pursuing more than one hobby if you’re okay with dividing your free time (and budget) between multiple interests.

To help you get started, we’ve listed lots of affordable possibilities here.

Reading Books

Reading has the potential to add incredible value to your life. You can be transported to different worlds, learn almost anything, and exercise your mind along the way. If you need a little escape from the day-to-day grind, a great book is sure to provide it.

Best of all, with a library card for your local library, reading can be a 100% free hobby. Many libraries will even order books you request if they don’t already own them – just ask. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out our list of the best personal finance books.

Writing Stories or in a Diary

Writing is another great free hobby. It allows you to express yourself and develop a life skill that will help you in any pursuit. Whether you record your life in a diary, create a screenplay, write stories, or draft poems, there are lots of different ways to enjoy writing. You can even draft a book or start a blog. All you need is a pencil or pen and paper to get started.

If you want to hone your craft, consider picking up freelance jobs, which are readily available on online job sites. These freelance writing jobs can also add a little wiggle room to your budget.

Making Art – Start Drawing

Drawing can be a great pastime and a satisfying way of expressing yourself. Whether you simply doodle, make cartoons, or sketch, you’re exercising your mind and creativity at almost no expense. If you’re good at portraits, funny caricatures, or landscapes, you might even find yourself with a hobby that pays.

While there are plenty of tools available if you decide to stick with the hobby, all you need to try it out is a pencil and paper.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons

While Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has a nerdy reputation, it’s also a deeply creative, social hobby. D&D doesn’t require physical mobility, so this hobby is inclusive and can last a lifetime. Sessions can be long, running at least 3-4 hours according to some players.

There’s a growing body of research suggesting role-playing games like D&D can even improve players’ mental health.

You can get started with Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) for free. D&D Starter Sets run from $10 to $90 on Amazon depending on the complexity.

Playing Board Games and Card Games

Board games have grown up. Many creative, adult-ready options offer easy interactive entertainment for you and your guests. Some pubs or bars now offer trivia nights as well, which can provide a great way to make new friends.

Used games are often available, or you can work from what you and your friends already own. Even new games are typically inexpensive.

Enjoy Nature by Hiking

Get some fresh air and exercise while exploring hiking as a hobby. There are parks and free hiking trails in nearly every area. Hiking and spending time in nature can help you decompress, meditate, and feel better while building fitness. Win, win, win.

If you prefer to be in a group, look for “forest bathing” meetups and events. This is a new term for sitting in nature and letting it “wash over” you. You can take it further and stay overnight. Here are some ideas to save money by camping.


If your mind snaps still images everywhere you go, or friends often compliment your photos, this might be a great hobby for you. While photography used to be an expensive hobby, most of us have a Smartphone camera handy these days.

To get started, you can practice shooting photos of people, nature, animals, local runs, bike races, charity events – almost anything. If you prefer a more formal start, you can find photography courses at community colleges, local nature centers, or on YouTube. As you further your knowledge you can experiment with cropping, filters, and more with free online tools.

Get Fit with Yoga or Pilates

Yoga and Pilates are incredible ways to achieve all-body fitness while increasing mindfulness. While private lessons can be expensive, you can try yoga events at the public park or YouTube videos from yoga and Pilates instructors online, spending almost nothing.

Go Outside and Enjoy Gardening

Spending time outdoors and helping things grow? If this makes you happy, gardening might be your hobby.

You can start small with a window box, a beautiful pot, or a windowsill herb garden. These have the added benefit of beautifying your home, and may even provide free herbs for your meals.

If you branch out into a vegetable garden, you could even significantly decrease your grocery bill. And you could donate any surplus to a local food pantry, or your neighbors.

Research has shown that being outside can improve your mood too, so if you’re looking for more peace, positivity, and beauty in your life, consider giving gardening a try.

Cooking and Baking

Not only does learning to cook or bake help you learn something new, but it can also help you save on eating out. You can impress friends and family. And you get to eat exactly what you want and try new things.

Get started by experimenting with online recipes, YouTube instructional videos, public broadcasting, and other TV shows, or with community college courses. You could even ask a friend or relative to show you their favorite family recipes and help you get started.

No matter how you do it, cooking and baking are hobbies that feed your soul in more than just one way – and won’t drain your wallet.

Get Competitive with Birdwatching

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “bird nerds” can take a passion for birding to another level. Birding contests have teams compete to spot the most birds in 24 hours. These competitions include New Jersey’s World Series of Birding and the Great Texas Birding Classic.

Some people set personal challenges, working to see how many species they can spot in a given time or even in their lifetime.

Alternately, birdathons are the bird-watching world’s version of a marathon, pitting teams against one another in a test of endurance to see who can identify the most bird species in an allotted time.

You can try out birdwatching for free using your naked eye and a library book. If you decide to stick with the hobby, you can purchase a used book and borrow binoculars or pick up a set second-hand for a small investment.

Geocaching with your Smartphone

Geocaching is like a modern-day communal treasure hunt. Using your smartphone, you hunt down “geocaches,” or small treasures left behind by others.

Often found in parks and nature preserves, the little notes or gifts are a great way to involve the kids in your life, too. This inexpensive (or free) hobby is fun for individuals and families and can connect you to new people who love it too. Place your own geocaches to keep the fun going.

Enjoy the Stars with Astronomy

Stargazing has been a hobby for centuries, but it’s evolving today with apps that help you identify constellations and learn about the stars.

It’s easy to get started. Download a star-gazing app. Try a second-hand telescope to open your eyes to all we can’t see. Visit an observatory and attend presentations to learn more. Check out public television as well for programs to deepen your knowledge.

Start a Podcast

If you’re an expert in a topic, are fascinated by something, or have a special talent, you might be the perfect podcaster-in-waiting. Podcasting is a great way to build a community of people around a subject you love and feel passionate about.

If you’ve got a computer, podcasting has very low starting costs. Start by experimenting and thinking about what you’d like. If this is the hobby for you, you can always save up to purchase a microphone or paid editing software.

Learn a New Language

The free language apps available today can have you speaking a language in 20 minutes a day.

Are you planning or hoping for an international trip in the next couple of years? Consider learning the country’s language! It’s a great motivation, makes for easier and more fun travels, and builds your skills. Knowing other languages can even help you at work.

Today’s apps can make learning a new language seem like a fun video game. Try a few to get started.

Go Fishing

Fishing is a very peaceful hobby that doesn’t require a lot of equipment. It’s an easy way to get out in nature, and can even provide dinner! Just be sure to get the appropriate fishing licenses.

Visit an Open Mic and Try Stand Up Comedy

Not for the faint of heart, amateur stand-up comedy is a fantastic hobby for the naturally funny among us. If you always keep your friends laughing, this one might be for you. Visit an open mic night to see what it’s all about.

Knitting or Crochet

Knitting makes you happier, according to research. Not only can these low-cost hobbies help you pass the time, but the repetitive motion of knitting and crocheting is soothing and meditative.

You could even make gifts for others and eventually make this hobby turn a profit.

Learn to Dance

Follow along at home with free YouTube videos to learn basic steps. You can also freestyle to your favorite music all by yourself, or host musically-themed dance parties.

Some cities have meet-ups at local dance studios and other venues for salsa dancing, swing, and other specialties, so get out there and shake a leg. You may even make new friends who will help you learn.

Learn Calligraphy

While there are special pens and paper and educational books for calligraphy, you don’t have to spend a dime to get started.

Look around for used craft supplies and books. Visit the library for information. YouTube videos are a wealth of information, with excellent calligraphy tips, tricks, and tutorials available – all for free.

If you learn to do hand-lettering well, you could even turn a profit working on wedding invitations and other pieces.

No matter what hobby speaks to you, your life will be enriched by it. Get started for free and see what you like; you can always invest more as your skills grow.

FAQs: Inexpensive Hobbies

What hobbies can I try with low cost?

There are lots of hobbies with low or no entry costs. You can learn to dance, learn a new language, and so much more for free. Check out the article above for more ideas.

What are some hobbies that save money?

Gardening is a great hobby for saving money since you can eat vegetables you raise, lowering your food costs. Any hobby where you can create gifts, like knitting, crafts, or photography, could save money on gift-giving. Exercise-related hobbies, like running or learning yoga with YouTube, can help save money on a gym membership.

What are some hobbies for men?

Though hobbies aren’t gender-specific, traditionally male activities like running, whittling or hiking do make great hobbies. But some men enjoy hobbies like knitting, calligraphy, yoga, and baking. The world is your hobby oyster. Check out the list above for starters, and search online for more ideas.

What are some hobbies for women?

Hobbies aren’t gender-specific – just do something you love. Many women enjoy hiking and other traditionally male activities, just like many enjoy yoga, knitting, and other traditionally female activities. Don’t be afraid to try ANY hobby that sounds like fun. Check out the list above for starters, and search online for more ideas.

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