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  • Writer's pictureDavid Greenfield

8 Cheap Hobbies That Won't Break the Bank

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

I can't tell you how often my friends say, "I would rather have fun when I'm young than save money." Whenever I hear this my response is always the same Why not have fun and save money?

A common misconception is that people must choose between having fun and saving money. However, it's possible to enjoy frugal activities that are both fun and affordable.

Plenty of frugal hobbies can provide just as much entertainment and enjoyment without breaking the bank. Whether you are paying off debt, saving for a home, or saving for a vacation. Here are some ideas for low-cost hobbies that can help you stick to your budget:

1. Reading:

Reading is not only a frugal hobby but has numerous benefits for your mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that reading can reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, and increase empathy and social skills.

In addition to borrowing books from the library or downloading free e-books, there are many other ways to access affordable reading material. For example, you can buy used books at thrift stores or online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon. You can also join a book exchange group or start a book club with friends to share and discuss books.

Another way to access affordable reading material is through audiobooks. Many libraries offer free audiobook downloads through apps like Libby or OverDrive. Audiobooks can be an excellent option for busy individuals who want to enjoy a book while on the go.

Reading can also be a gateway to other frugal hobbies. For example, if you enjoy reading about gardening, you might be inspired to start your own garden. Or, if you enjoy reading about cooking, you might be inspired to try new recipes and techniques in the kitchen.

2. Hiking and Walking:

Hiking and walking offer not only free entertainment but also provide numerous health benefits. Walking in nature can reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, and improve cardiovascular health.

In addition to free or low-cost parks and nature preserves, there are many other ways to enjoy hiking and nature walks without spending a lot of money. For example, you can explore local trails or nature reserves or walk around your neighborhood or park.

Another way to enhance your hiking and nature walk experience is to bring a friend or family member. It is more fun to share the experience with someone else, and it can also help keep you motivated and accountable.

You can also enhance your hiking and nature walk experience by learning about flora and fauna in your local area. You can download apps like iNaturalist or Seek to help identify plants and animals or even take a class or workshop on nature identification.

Hiking and nature walks can be a great way to incorporate other frugal hobbies into your routine. For example, you can bring a sketchbook and pencils to draw landscapes or wildlife or a camera to capture beautiful scenery and wildlife.

3. Cooking and Baking:

Cooking and baking at home is not only a great way to save money on food costs, but it can also be a fun and creative hobby. You can expand your culinary skills and explore new flavors and cuisines by experimenting with new recipes and techniques.

One of the great things about cooking and baking is using ingredients you already have at home, which can help you save money and reduce food waste. You can also shop for ingredients on sale, buy in bulk, or even grow your herbs and vegetables for cooking. You can get creative here. It is incredible what you can do with low-cost items. EatWell Spend Well did a great article on some recipes:

In addition to saving money on food costs, cooking and baking at home can be a healthier option than eating out. By cooking your meals, you have more control over the ingredients and portion sizes, which can help you make healthier choices and maintain a balanced diet.

Cooking and baking can be great ways to connect with others and share your creations with friends and family. You can host dinner parties, potlucks or even start a cooking club with friends to share recipes and techniques. Cooking and baking at home is a fun, frugal, and creative hobby that can help you save money on food costs. With so many ways to experiment and explore new flavors and cuisines, there's no reason not to give cooking and to bake a try.

3. DIY Projects:

DIY projects are not only a great way to save money on home décor or clothing, but they can also provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. By creating something with your own hands, you can unleash your creativity and personalize your space or wardrobe.

One of the best things about DIY projects is that you can often use materials you already have at home or find inexpensive supplies at craft stores or online marketplaces. You can also upcycle old items into new and stylish pieces, which can help you reduce waste and save money.

There are many DIY projects to explore, from furniture building to sewing to painting. You can find free tutorials and patterns online or even take a class or workshop to learn new techniques and skills.

In addition to saving money on home décor and clothing, DIY projects can also be a great way to reduce stress and promote mental wellness. By focusing on a creative project, you can unwind and relax, positively impacting your mental health and well-being.

DIY projects can also be a great way to connect with others and share your creations. You can join online communities or local groups to share tips, ideas, and inspiration, gift your products to friends and family, or even start a side business on Etsy!

DIY projects are a fun, frugal, and creative way to personalize your space or wardrobe. With so many free tutorials and patterns available online, there's no reason not to try DIY and unleash your creativity.

5. Board Games and Video Games:

Board games and video games are a fun way to spend time with friends and family and a great way to save money on entertainment. Whether you're into classic board games like Monopoly, strategy games like Settlers of Catan, or video games on a console or computer, there are many options.

Board games are great for activities with friends or family. Video games can be great for playing with friends online or alone. Video games will often go on sale, so as long as you don't need the latest and greatest game, you can buy them used or on sale on the Xbox, PlayStation, Steam, or Epic store.

In addition to being a fun and affordable hobby, board games and video games can also have cognitive benefits. Playing games can help improve critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills and promote socialization and teamwork, so it can be a great option (as long as you don't overdo it) for families and young adults.

Another benefit of video games is that you can play them by yourself or with friends, making them a versatile hobby that can be enjoyed in various settings. With online gaming communities and multiplayer options, you can even play with people worldwide.

Side note: This is also great if you live in a cold state with long winters, as it doesn't require you to go outside like many other activities on this list.

6. Gardening:

Gardening is not only a relaxing and rewarding hobby, but it can also help you save money on groceries. Growing your fruits, vegetables, and herbs allows you to enjoy fresh, organic produce without spending much money at the grocery store. Gardening can range from growing some herbs indoors to having an entire garden in your yard.

Starting a vegetable garden can be a great way to start gardening. You can choose a sunny spot in your yard or even create a raised bed if you have limited space. Start small with easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers.

If you don't have a yard, you can still enjoy gardening by growing herbs in pots on your balcony or windowsill. Herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary are easy to grow and add flavor and freshness to your cooking.

Gardening can also be a great way to promote physical health and well-being. Gardening can be a low-impact exercise that can help improve flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health. It can also help reduce stress and promote relaxation, positively impacting mental health.

Gardening is a relaxing, rewarding, cost-effective hobby that can help you save money on groceries and promote physical and mental health. Whether you have a yard or a tiny balcony, there are many ways to start gardening and enjoy the benefits of growing your food.

7. Photography:

Photography is a fantastic hobby that can be fun and creative and doesn't have to be expensive. In today's world, most smartphones have high-quality cameras that are more than capable of taking great pictures. With your phone, you can capture memories and moments and even get creative with filters and editing apps.

If you're interested in photography as a more serious hobby, you can invest in a basic camera. Over time upgrade your equipment as your skills develop. However, it's important to remember that having an expensive camera does not necessarily make you a good photographer. The key to great photography is developing your skills and understanding the fundamentals of lighting, composition, and exposure.

In addition to being a fun and creative hobby, photography can also be a potential source of income. There are many opportunities for freelance photographers to sell their work, whether to stock photo websites, magazines, or individual clients.

Photography is a versatile and accessible hobby that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. Whether using your phone or a camera, it can be a great and cheap hobby that can even be turned into income if you want to go that route.

8. Volunteering:

Volunteering is a fantastic hobby that can help you give back to your community and positively impact the world. Whether you're volunteering at a local charity, community center, or event, there are countless opportunities to get involved and make a difference.

One of the great things about volunteering is that it doesn't have to cost you anything. Many organizations and events rely on volunteers to help them run smoothly. Volunteering your time and skills can help support these organizations and contribute to your community.

There are many different types of volunteering opportunities available, depending on your interests and skills. For example, you could volunteer at a local animal shelter, help at a food bank, or assist with a community garden. You could also volunteer at a local event or festival, such as a charity walk or concert.

Volunteering can also be a great way to develop new skills and gain valuable experience. For example, before I started investing in real estate, I volunteered with Habitat For Humanity, where I could help build a home and learn more about the home-building process.

Finally, volunteering can be a deeply fulfilling and rewarding experience. By helping others, you can feel a sense of purpose and meaning in your life. You can also meet new people, make friends, and feel connected to your community.

Volunteering is a wonderful hobby that can help you give back to your community, develop new skills, and find a sense of fulfillment and purpose in your life. With so many opportunities available, there's no reason not to give it a try and see how you can make a difference in the world.


This article should provide some ideas to have fun without breaking the bank. Living on a budget does not mean that you should not be able to enjoy your life. Live your life and enjoy it while also saving for your future goals. Finding the right combo is the key to a successful and happy life.

Let me know what activities you like to do!

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