Having Fun On A Budget: 15 Cool Hobbies That Are Cheap

Ah, work-life balance. It’s an ideal we’re all striving for in one way or another. But what exactly do you do during the hours deemed as “life”?

If you want to be more intentional with your downtime, step away from screens, take a break from Netflix, then consider some hobbies that won’t break the bank.

1. Card Games

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A standard pack of cards is inexpensive in most places, with thousands of games at your fingertips online. This is great for those who are competitive by nature. It’s also a fun way to bond with friends or spend quality time with loved ones.

2. Ball Games

Teen boy playing basketball
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Get your hands on a basketball or soccer ball for just a few dollars, and picture the countless hours of recreation it might bring. These types of ball games are great because you can play in groups or solo. Most towns have free courts and nets for public use and, most importantly, such sports hobbies keep you active.

3. Origami

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The Japanese craft of paper folding may seem tricky, but with a little patience, it’s possible. There are many free patterns to follow online, though once you get the ball rolling, you may wish to improvise.

4. Drawing

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This cost-effective habit is great for getting creative. It’s also easily adaptable, which adds to the fun. For instance, you could try drawing in pencil, biro, markers or chalk. And should inspiration suddenly strike, it isn’t all that pricey to grab some basic paint supplies.

5. Stargazing

Star gazing
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Granted, this is tough to pursue if you live in the city. But it’s all the more reason to plan your next escape. Try to go somewhere quiet and not so densely populated. Pack a star chart and some blankets, and wait for nightfall. Then, gaze on up and let the astronomy dazzle.

6. Hiking

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This is always a great way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the daily. Again, your location will determine access to hiking routes. But having said that, even big cities offer peaceful pockets of green.

7. Reading

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In this day and age, reading has become incredibly underrated. And yet, there are now several cool, new ways to experience a book. From audiobooks to graphic novels, select your favorite genre and give this primal hobby a go.

8. Writing

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Just like with reading, there are many different ways to write. I highly recommend journalling if you feel stuck. Alternatively, channel your creativity by searching for free writing prompts. Whether it be in fact or fiction, this is a hobby that could easily surprise you.

9. Baking

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If, like me, you are a complete amateur in the kitchen, this may not sound appealing. But as with anything else, one must start small. For example, flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and oil are all you need for bread. Just think of the satisfaction when you can serve your own loaf.

10. Podcasting

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Podcasts exploded into our lives and have remained mainstream for over a decade. Whatever your career or passions, I bet there is a series out there that you’d find interesting. My favorite go-to is The Diary of a CEO.

11. Gardening

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Having a garden is a privilege. If your home does have one, there’s no better way to appreciate it than unleashing your inner gardener. Roll up your sleeves, purchase some cheap seed packets, and start growing your plants and vegetables today.

12. Juggling

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This is a wacky skill that may take some time to master. Jugglers make their juggling objects out of many things — even fruit like oranges and apples.

13. Chess

Playing chess
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Did you know that chess increases your IQ? It’s also been proven to improve memory, enhance creativity, and reduce the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are countless online tutorials for those not sure where to start. Once you feel ready, apps like Chess.com are free and let you play against global users.

14. Languages

Happy woman with headphone working
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Learning a new language doesn’t have to be intense. With free apps like Duolingo, you can take your sweet time. Currently, I get through two short lessons in Arabic a day in less than five minutes. The site even has bite-size tutorials in High Valyrian and Klingon.

15. Volunteering

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This is a great way to try something new while giving back. Whether it’s volunteering at your local charity shop or supporting organizations with fundraising and promotion, find a cause you care about and build on that connection. Alternatively, just lend a helping hand to those already in your circle. The only cost here is time well spent.

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