47 cheap fun hobbies you can start this weekend

Everyone needs a hobby. Or two. Or five.

But not everyone can afford a hobby. Or two. Or five.

Especially if that hobby is an expensive one, like golf or, you know, something absurd like collecting cars or art.

The perfect hobby is one that lets you tap into some of your energy and creativity but doesn’t tap into your wallet in a significant way. We wanted to pull together a massive list of some great hobbies that can be done with very little financial investment. If you wanted to spend money, you certainly could with any of these hobbies, but they’re inherently frugal in nature.

Here are some of the best cheap but fun hobbies that you can get into this weekend:

Table of Contents
  1. Writing
  2. Brewing beer
  3. Fermenting wine
  4. Baking
  5. Reading
  6. Become a movie buff
  7. Running
  8. Sewing
  9. Coding
  10. Volunteering
  11. Photography
  12. Geocaching
  13. Pickling and canning
  14. Gardening
  15. Barbecuing
  16. Cooking
  17. Crocheting
  18. Fishing
  19. Music
  20. Learn a new language
  21. Genealogy
  22. Dancing
  23. Meditation
  24. Restoring furniture
  25. Learning magic
  26. Doing comedy
  27. Whittling
  28. Podcasting
  29. Raising animals
  30. Thrift shop flipping
  31. Pottery
  32. Yoga
  33. Scrapbooking
  34. Origami
  35. Foraging
  36. Swimming
  37. Mentoring
  38. Couponing
  39. Dumpster diving
  40. Gold panning
  41. Gaming
  42. Candle making
  43. Fostering animals
  44. Watercolor painting
  45. Archery
  46. Flower pressing
  47. Rollerblading

Writing

You don’t need $50 Moleskine notebooks to write. Jot your daily thoughts in an app on your phone, or scribble passing thoughts on scraps of junk mail. If you really want to get into writing, consider starting a blog to share your thoughts with the world.

Brewing beer

If you love drinking beer, you’ll love brewing it even more. There are some setup costs with beer brewing, but it’s worth it! To keep it cheap, borrow equipment or pool together with some buddies.

Want to earn extra money?

Fermenting wine

I’ve been making my own wine for over a year and it’s awesome. There are hardly any materials needed and you can have wine in as little as a month.

Baking

Who doesn’t love fresh-baked bread? For the cost of flour, sugar, milk, and yeast, you can teach yourself the art of baking.

Reading

There’s nothing cheaper than staring at something for several hours! Reading is an educational and entertaining way to visit far-off places from your couch. Keep it cheap by renting books from the library.

(did you know Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program lets you read unlimited books from 1 million ebooks?)

Become a movie buff

You don’t have to go to the movie theater every week to be a movie buff. Swing by your local library and check out both old classics and new releases.

Running

I get wheezy when I run, but my husband swears it’s a fun, cheap hobby. Simply lace up your shoes and pound some pavement. You get fresh air and exercise, so what’s not to love?

Sewing

Learning to sew may be one of the most challenging and affordable pursuits there is. Follow YouTube tutorials to learn how to hand-sew. If you want to score a sewing machine on a budget, thrift stores are your best bet.

Coding

Any type of hobby that lets you build something is a hobby worth having. Coding unlocks so many doors. Take a free class at Code Academy to start building in the virtual space.

Volunteering

I used to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Sure, it was hard work, but it was so satisfying. I also made a ton of new friends! Volunteering is a great way to spend your time and do some good.

Photography

Normally I wouldn’t classify photography as “cheap,” but the cameras on today’s smartphones make this a breeze. You don’t need a DSLR to have an interest in photography; just use your phone camera to get started. You can always upgrade later!

Geocaching

If you like treasure hunts, you’ll love geocaching. Download the free app and search for hidden caches in your neighborhood.

Pickling and canning

Do you love pickles and jams? Make your own! Buy whatever produce is on sale and learn how to preserve it.

Gardening

There’s nothing more satisfying than growing something from nothing, and gardening lets you do just that. Whether you’re into lush rose gardens or utilitarian vegetable patches, gardening is a fun and cheap way to get some fresh air.

Barbecuing

Ask anyone who loves ‘cue and they’ll tell you it’s an art. Become a barbecue master by watching online tutorials. Start small with a simple grill and expand to fancier equipment as you grow your skills.

Cooking

Who doesn’t love to eat? Become a neighborhood-renowned chef by honing your cooking skills to eat fancy meals at home.

Crocheting

All you need to crochet is a crochet hook and thread. You can often get these items cheaply at craft stores, or occasionally on sites like Freecycle.

Fishing

You don’t need to pay $10 for a cut of catfish – go get it yourself! You need a license, rod, lure, and maybe some bait to start fishing.

Music

Believe it or not, you can learn to play an instrument on the cheap. Many people sell used instruments just to get rid of them; some people even give them away. Check out YouTube tutorials to learn how to play and let out your inner Mozart.

Learn a new language

Bring a little more culture to your life and learn a new language. There are countless free apps and sites that help you nail down a new language in no time.

Genealogy

My husband and I have really gotten into genealogy. You can discover so many amazing things about your story. The best part? It’s like playing detective.

Dancing

Whether you already love to dance or have two left feet, dancing is a fun way to let your hair down. Try local Meetups for dancing or, if you’re shy, practice with YouTube.

Meditation

Life is hectic. Take a timeout by practicing mindful stillness through meditation. I meditate daily and it’s a fantastic way to cultivate happiness.

Restoring furniture

If you love working with your hands, restoration could be up your alley. Peruse flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores to find furniture you can easily upcycle.

Learning magic

Now you see it, now you don’t! Learn sleight of hand or card tricks on the cheap with YouTube tutorials.

Doing comedy

If you love performing and making people chuckle, consider doing a comedy routine. Follow Jerry Seinfeld’s advice and hone your humor daily with writing.

Whittling

Do you have a stick? Check. Do you have a nice, sharp knife? Check. Congrats! You can start whittling right now. Just watch your fingers, pal.

Podcasting

Podcasting is all the rage right now. Build your own fan base by hosting a podcast on any topic you please.

Raising animals

My sister runs a small farm in Oklahoma, where she raises chickens, pigs, goats, and more. It’s very rewarding to raise animals, especially when they keep you supplied with fresh eggs every morning.

Thrift shop flipping

Do you love thrift shopping? Make a buck on your love of all things secondhand by flipping or restoring items from your local thrift store.

Pottery

You do need a setup to make pottery, but I know people who enjoy simply painting pottery. Express yourself while making a beautiful decoration for your home.

Yoga

Yoga is a great way to stretch, strengthen your muscles, and forget about all the crap from your day. You can score free Yoga tutorials on YouTube, so there’s no need to join a studio.

Scrapbooking

I know from firsthand experience that scrapbooking becomes expensive in a heartbeat. If you truly make your scrapbooks from, well, scraps it’s a cheap hobby and a fun way to preserve memories.

Origami

There’s much more to origami than folding a bunch of paper. It’s both an art and a science, and requires nothing except paper to get started.

Foraging

Many of us live in cities where we’re disconnected from nature. Foraging is a fun way to find edibles out in the great wild. Just make sure you don’t eat funky mushrooms! Partner up with a professional to learn the art of safe foraging.

Swimming

Swimming is especially cheap if you live near the water. If you don’t, passes to the local community pool are cheap as dirt.

Mentoring

I believe that everyone needs a mentor. Join a program like Big Brothers Big Sisters to partner up with a kiddo in your community.

Couponing

I used to be an extreme couponer and it was a lot of fun! It can be a time-consuming hobby, but if you’re up for the challenge, you can learn how to bulk shop on the cheap.

Dumpster diving

This can be as simple as rifling through curbside piles before a bulk pickup day, or digging in grocery store bins for perfectly edible produce. Just check your local laws before you dumpster dive!

Gold panning

What’s more exciting than literally striking gold? Make gold panning a new hobby and you just might strike it rich.

Gaming

Whether you love board games or video games, gaming is a fantastic way to have fun on the cheap. Score used games online or trade games with friends.

Candle making

Nice candles are expensive. Why not make fancy candles at home for a fraction of the price? You can even sell your creations for profit.

Fostering animals

Nothing’s better than cuddling a kitten. Sign up to foster homeless animals. You’ll save lives while staying purr-fectly entertained.

Watercolor painting

Painting can get expensive, but hobbyists don’t need a $50 canvas. Snag a palette of decent watercolors at the craft store and let your imagination wander.

Archery

All you need for archery is a bow, arrows, and maybe a target. Revive this ancient sport to build upper body strength while having fun.

Flower pressing

There’s nothing more soothing than a walk in the woods. Make a hobby out of nature walks by collecting leaves and flowers. Press them in between the pages of a hefty book for perfectly pressed flowers.

Rollerblading

Sure, the roller rink was more en vogue in the 80s, but rollerblading is still a fun way to move. You can even score cheap rollerblades at the thrift store.

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About Makenzi Wood

Makenzi Wood is a full-stack marketer turned blogger who aspires to retire early. She writes about living the good life while paying off $250,000 of debt.

She has a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from Trinity University.

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  1. DNN says

    If there’s any hobby a person should take up as a means of earning serious income and turning their side hustle from a small potato operation into side hustle millionaire status, I would certainly recommend affiliate marketing and blogging to anyone and here’s why. Where is job security in America today? Back in the fifties in the roaring 1960’s during the Prohibition & Woodstock era, people could graduate from high school with honors and all at the top of their class and get good paying jobs in government and other areas of the public sector with 100% job security, knowing they could retire 20 to 40 years later with a healthy pension. They didn’t have internet back then available to the general public, but only to the U.S. military as a black background with green letters known as the “Intranet.” With the easy accessibility of the internet today and the ability to start a blog by purchasing a domain name for less than $20 and reserving dedicated web hosting, anyone can turn that hobby of starting a blog and using a smartphone to create content and turn their side hustle blog into a million dollar online business operation.

    I have over 20 years of working experience under my belt. Not one time have I ever felt comfortable getting up in the morning and going to work for an employer. Why? Because I knew I would always have a fixed pay rate and much uncertainty about earning a salary. I always did any job to the best of my ability but there was always something that came along.

    The hobby I started of dabbling with affiliate marketing and blogging back in 2005 turned out to be quite lucrative. It was boring in the beginning I should say because I knew nothing and no one helped me to get where I am today in regards to learning about affiliate marketing and blogging. I received some financial support but everything I know today I had to learn on my own. Turning a hobby into a million-dollar side hustle has to be something a person really wants to do. No one’s going to stand over your shoulder and inquire if you’ve met your monthly affiliate sales quota. This is completely free will. No pension involved. No 401K. No vacation time. No bonuses – (maybe if you exceed your affiliate sales and inquire with the affiliate manager for more information about how to get your affiliate commission percentage increased), and much uncertainty involved in this online side hustle thing known as a “hobby” to many. Blogging can do more good in your life and earn you more than just a measly can of beans. It can make you a “side hustle millionaire.”

    Is it worth starting the online hobby of affiliate marketing and blogging as a side hustle with the intent of turning it into a million-dollar operation working from home or your smartphone? Absolutely. It may bore a person in the beginning but it’s all worth doing the transformation work. If you’re sick and tired of being treated like a yes man or a yes woman and working for a company that doesn’t value your hard work, it’s time to start your hobby side hustle online right now and learn from Jim from Wallet Hacks, and other million-dollar bloggers like Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who started from the bottom just like you and I. 🙂

    • Randolph Lee says

      Thank you for the encouragement. I am starting my own e-commerce business and may want to YouTube blog. Thank you, again

  2. Pamela Ellis says

    I am interested in finding a hobby and this blogging does have my attention, so can you share with me more information about it.?
    Thank you

  3. Penny says

    I’m curious about the tax implications, how is it filed? As a business? Hobby?
    How do the payments work? Do you get paid in the U.S. under our tax system or overseas under a different taxing authority?

    So you just start out with a blog, add a bunch of affiliate links with “approval” and they pay you every time someone clicks on a link? Makes a purchase? How does it work? Like the guy said in the earlier post, no one really tells you “how” to do it. I’ve seen 20 different guys who have ebay seller businesses who all blog/brag about all the stuff they buy at yard sales and sell on ebay for tons of profits….but not ONE of them tells you HOW to get your listings at the top. I had some items I was trying to sell, new in box stuff, selling for a quarter of retail and (light fixtures) and couldn’t even get a single bid. Yet, these guys are selling $5 million dollars worth of junk a year? WTH? There are tricks obviously but no one shares them or I suppose they’d be out of business…or perhaps the real business isn’t selling but the blogging about all the money they claim to make selling?

  4. Trevor Carss says

    Vlogging would be another fun hobby, and one that can turn into a serious business, as has been proven for countless others on YouTube. It’s as simple as recording yourself with your smartphone video camera, similar to writing down your thoughts. What I really like is you can then extract the audio for podcasting. Two hobbies in one!

  5. William Griffith says

    And also what about prospecting and treasure hunting with metal detectors AND also cycling. All available hobbies under $1000 start up. A first metal detector can be had for $200 or less.

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