13 Cheap Hobbies You Can Start Right Now
Is anyone else exhausted of ranting to a friend about feeling a little bored at home and hearing something along the lines of this: “You just need a new hobby.” There’s one thing that people don’t seem to mention when this topic comes up: hobbies can be very expensive. Spending hundreds of dollars on dance classes you’re not sure you’ll really like or strapping on roller skates in fear you’ll break your wrist everyday is not as easy as whoever is giving you this advice thinks it is.
But something we may not think about in this discussion is that hobbies don’t have to be so expensive. There are plenty of cheap hobbies out there just waiting for you to discover. All you have to do is start somewhere.
A cheap hobby can totally transform your free time. They’ll give you something to look forward to after a long day at work or something to do on a lazy weekend morning. They’re fun, can certainly be integrated into your self-care routine, and give you something else to do than scroll through TikTok all day. Personally, I know I’m ready for a new hobby when I’m feeling a little blah with everyday life and need a refresh. If this sounds a bit like you right now, we’ve got some cheap hobbies below to get you started ASAP.
1. Start a crochet project
The best response to anyone giving you a compliment on a super cute beanie, scarf or pair of gloves is, “Thanks, I made it myself!” A hobby that allows you to multitask, crocheting is a great outlet to keep your hands and mind busy. Put on your favorite podcast, brew your favorite cup of tea, (or coffee, up to you!) and wind down at the end of the day. The best part? You’ll have a completed project by the end of it.
Picking up crochet is not as intimidating as it may seem. There are tons of tutorials on YouTube to get you crafting a blanket in no time. Just ask our Managing Editor, who watched a dozen how-to videos (starting with this one), went to Michaels, and has made some pretty significant progress on a blanket of her own.
2. Challenge yourself to read more books
So you were a big reader growing up but have kind of let life get in the way, or you’ve never really read but would love to start. Or maybe you’re already an avid reader but need a little extra push to make it fun again. Wherever you are in your reading journey, you can start a reading challenge TODAY. If you’re just picking up books again, maybe start small with one book each month. If you really want to challenge yourself you can try reading one book each week. Reading is a great hobby to turn to that doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. Sign up for a library card and get ebooks delivered to your computer, phone, or tablet completely free. We’re also pretty big fans of the Kindle and Kindle Unlimited around these parts, so if you’re serious about meeting your reading challenge, that may be the perfect route for you.
3. Grow your own mini herb garden
Tired of making the perfect dish and realizing you don’t have any green onion, cilantro, or basil for that final touch garnish? Start growing your own on your windowsill or a counter. You’ll learn the ins and outs of taking care of plants, as well as how to self-sustain your kitchen. Hot tip: Use your green onion scraps to regrow more by cutting the tips off, leaving just the root and bulbs, sticking them in a small jar of water (do not submerge), and placing them on a windowsill where they can get some sun while still staying moist. Once they start growing, cut off what you need and repeat!
4. Start an interactive journal or scrapbook
Create an interactive journal, not only writing about your day, but gluing in little tidbits and mementos you encountered throughout. Business cards you came across,, the coffee sleeve from your favorite cafe, or even a tag you cut off on your shirt as you were running out the door make excellent pieces within your interactive journal. By the time you fill up the book, it’ll be overflowing with pieces from your day-to-day life that you might’ve just overlooked otherwise.
5. Perfect your at-home manicures
Learning to do your own at-home professional manicure is a skill and hobby all in one. It’ll save you trips to the salon, but as you get better and better, you’ll get salon quality results without ever leaving your home. Trust me, I’ve had this kit for a while now and people are always asking me where I get my nails done. Once you get the hang of it, it’s super healthy for your nails and allows them to grow and stay strong. If you’re not sure where to start, this video should help. And for the ultra-beginners who have no clue how to paint their right (or left) hand, the Poppy tool from Olive & June has your name written all over it.
6. Start going on daily walks
Before you roll your eyes at just how lame walking sounds as a hobby, picture this: you slip on your comfiest shoes, grab your AirPods, queue up a podcast (there’s definitely one for you here), and head out to explore your neighborhood. Walking is not only a great outlet for some light outdoor activity, but it’s great for the mind as well. It’s something you can do all year round and is a new experience every time you do it. Try going on new routes each day to really get to know your neighborhood. Yes, it may sound lame to think of walking as a hobby, but once you start doing it more and more, you’ll realize how great it can be for both your overall health and happiness. Trust us.
7. Start meditating
Looking for a hobby that adds a little more self-care to your days? You’d be surprised what a short meditation can do for your mind. It can be just five minutes, or it can be an hour; like many hobbies, you can really tailor your meditation routine to your own needs. Whether you need to ground yourself after a hectic work day or want to start the day with a clear head, you can’t go wrong. You can go the completely free route by incorporating some simple breathing exercises into your day, or explore guided meditation options like Calm.
8. Learn how to sew
Every time I buy a pair of pants that are a little too long or a dress that doesn’t exactly fall where I want it to I say to myself, “Oh, it’s fine, I’ll get them and I’ll learn how to hem them.” Has that happened yet? No! If you can relate, this is your sign to finally bite the bullet and learn. Buy the mini sewing machine, call your mom for help or dial up that Youtube video and get to work on that pile of clothes you always said you’ll “fix.” And if you’re intimidated by a sewing machine or scared to dive in headfirst, start small. Pick up a needle and thread—there’s a lot you can do with just those tools, too.
9. Learn the basics of cooking
Get to know the art of cooking and learn how to master skills such as chopping, perfecting a roux, roasting veggies, or even narrowing down a decadent homemade sauce. Don’t fret too much about not mastering it right away, that’s what a hobby is for, learning day by day and slowly getting the hang of it until it feels like second nature. You can start by referring to one of the best cookbooks of all time. But if you’re a visual learner, you can also start with one of our favorite Youtube chefs.
10. Learn to edit your photos like a pro (well, almost)
Was the light a little off in that gorgeous sunset picture of you and your friends? It frustrates me all the time when my phone camera doesn’t do the spectacular scene in front of me justice, but it’s not too difficult to learn some basic photo-editing skills from your phone. With apps like Lightroom, VSCO, or even the options that already come in your photo app, your pics will go from basic and bland to super spectacular. If you’re not sure where to start, Youtube has tons of videos to guide you. P.S. Once you’ve got a knack for it, framed photos are the sweetest surprise gifts for loved ones.
11. Learn the basics of bartending
This hobby will have you winning host of the year. Whether you want to perfect a cocktail or mocktail, learning the basics of bartending allows you to familiarize yourself with what you like and what you don’t like. Start out with your favorite drink, and venture out to your BFF or partner’s favorite drink. Eventually, you’ll have a pretty cool party trick up your sleeve.
12. Perfect your barista skills
You know when you’re craving the most perfect cup of coffee, you venture out in the cold, spend that six dollars or so and have the realization, “I could probably have made this at home.” Equipped with a frother and your favorite bag of beans, it’s time. Getting to know the ins and outs of making a cup of coffee doesn’t have to be a chore, but a hobby that can grow into a deep love and appreciation for coffee beans and their complexities.
13. Browse estate sales on the weekend
Anyone else think their Saturday mornings could benefit from getting out of the house? Hop out the door and search for some estate sales or yard sales in your area. It’s a cheap hobby, (you don’t ALWAYS have to buy something)! It’s extremely fun to browse and search through the pickings—you never know what you’re going to find. Bonus: You’ll also find a great community all within the comfort of your own area. Who knows, maybe you’ll score an exquisite vintage piece of furniture that’ll fit oh-so-perfect in that empty corner of your room.