Are you making the most of your spare time? If your hobby right now is binge watching a season of your favorite show on Netflix, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Many great pastimes can get you into the mix of things and help you enjoy life a bit more. Having a little fun doesn’t have to break your budget, either. Here are eight fun, cheap hobbies you can do right now, alone or with a friend.
No matter where you live, whether in pristine wilderness areas or in the nation’s capital itself, there are likely plenty of places to hike. You don’t have to outfit yourself as if you’re going on safari to enjoy them, either, as a simple backpack, canteen, and a good pair of trail shoes are all you need to get off the beaten path. Hiking regularly will keep you in shape, and it may even help you shed any extra pounds you may have. A day spent outside walking at your own pace can really recharge your batteries, too.
If you like to write and want to provide interesting, useful information to people, consider taking up blogging. You can start a blog on sites such as Google’s Blogger platform or WordPress, all at no cost. You can capture your thoughts and opinions, build an audience, and keep yourself entertained in the process. If you’re more of a visual person than a writer, you can consider vlogging on a platform such as YouTube. Again, it’s free, and it’ll give you an opportunity to create videos and interact with your channel’s viewers.
Do you enjoy the pickles and jams you buy at the farmer’s market every weekend? Well, you don’t have to live on a country homestead to make them. Canning is easy to learn; after all, people have been preserving foods in mason jars for over a century. It costs about $35 to buy everything you need to start canning fruits and vegetables in your own home. Just get a canning recipe book; in no time, you’ll be lining your pantry shelves with jars of colorful pickles, jams, and fruit butter.
Instead of binge watching Game of Thrones, consider reading a book. If you have a library nearby, you have a wealth of resources at your disposal. Today’s public libraries are superb public spaces, and all you need is a free library card to access everything from today’s best sellers to copies of national newspapers. Even if you can’t find a particular book you’re looking for, the library can probably request a copy from another location. Many libraries also have extensive online selections as well, so you can read the latest books and magazines right on your tablet or other mobile devices, all at no cost!
Whether you live out in the country or in a big city micro-apartment, you can try gardening. Learning how to raise and care for plants is possible on any scale, big or small, and can be very rewarding. You can plant a small flowerbed, a vegetable garden, or just keep a few houseplants in terracotta pots. There are gardening clubs just about everywhere, so it’s easy to meet people as you get more into the gardening hobby, too.
You don’t have to go out and buy an expensive console to play some great video games. There are scores of games online that let you explore worlds, lead quests, and challenge other players. Many are even free to download to your computer. If you enjoy modern Dungeons and Dragons style role-playing games, check out Neverwinter, which is free. There are also many terrific older PC strategy games available on the cheap.
Do you want to get out, meet people, and not spend a fortune doing it? Maybe you should try volunteering. Donating your time at a local nonprofit – whether at a thrift store, soup kitchen, or animal shelter – can be a terrific way to do good deeds while being social at the same time. You can check your local newspaper or a site such as VolunteerMatch and put your spare time to good use.
8. Start a side-hustle
The best hobby, of course, is one that pays! Check out some ways you can turn a hobby into a revenue stream and get serious about saving money. This can be something as simple as selling your knit hats on Etsy or something as complicated as taking your passion for designing websites to a much larger scale.
Any of these hobbies can help you engage your mind and enjoy yourself. And, you can get started in any of them for practically nothing at all, too. So, don’t consign yourself to the couch in your spare time; get a hobby, get out there, and have some fun!