Having fun in your free time doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. It doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or a cash-strapped college student, cheap hobbies are a fun, frugal, and effective use of your time.
Cheap hobbies are a common trait of many frugal people who find ways to have fun without spending a lot of money and they don’t spend much time worrying about money as a result.
Are you ready to have fun without going broke?
Hobbies That Pay Money
A hobby can provide the opportunity your current 9-5 can’t: getting paid to have fun. You might enjoy your current day job but that doesn’t mean you want to do it 24/7. Most of us like variety in our daily routine and taking up a hobby that pays–we like to call them side hustles here at Well Kept Wallet–means you can make some extra cash to help pay off debt, build a nest egg, or pay for your next vacation without having to borrow money!
1. Take Paid Surveys
Do you spend too much time on social media giving advice to your friends? Helping others out isn’t bad, but you can get paid to give your opinion by taking online surveys. Because most surveys only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete, this is something you can do on your lunch break, the bus ride home, or in the evenings when you’re in between activities.
Swagbucks is one of the best options to monetize your internet hobbies because you get paid to:
- Take online surveys
- Watch videos
- Search the internet
- Sample products and services
- Shop online
2. Sell Used Items
Selling used items is a hobby my wife and I started as we got ready to move to a new house and needed to declutter. We decided to sell our old clothes, movies and music, video games, and anything else we knew we weren’t going to use again. Periodically, we’ll visit our local thrift stores, yard sales, or take a look a retail store’s clearance rack to see if anything is worth flipping.
You won’t get rich, but if you like selling something without having to make it yourself, this can be a fun hobby.
Find out what else you can sell from home to earn some extra pocket cash.
3. Design T-Shirts
If you have an eye for detail, you can design and sell t-shirts, housewares, drinkware, phone cases on CafePress. All you have to do is upload the design and CafePress prints and ships the product when a customer makes a purchase. Because your designs never expire, this is one of the unique hobbies that earn passive income.
Working out is expensive because you have to pay for a gym membership, right? Not necessarily. You can get paid to workout without being an avid athlete.
You can actually get paid to lose weight with HealthyWage by betting how much weight you’ll lose. Once you reach your weight loss goals, you can get paid to maintain your new physique.
Signing up for an exercise class or buying a home exercise course can also help you feel more positive and energetic. Going to a class with others is also a good way to interact with new people and possibly make a new friend.
5. Earn Interest From Peer Loans
Do you have money that’s sitting in the bank and not earning much interest? You should still keep your emergency fund in a high-interest bank account for immediate access, but you can earn up to 14% by investing your cash in P2P loans with Lending Club that help people get loans to consolidate debt or refinance a mortgage.
While you can individually choose each loan you invest in, LendingClub also has an automated investing feature that does the hard work for you so you only have to invest and earn the monthly interest payments. With a 98% borrower payment rate, LendingClub is a safe way to earn passive income without having it in the stock market.
Read our LendingClub review to learn more about making P2P loans your new hobby.
6. Invest in Real Estate
Investing in real estate can take many twists and turns depending on how much time and money you can commit. The two classic ways are to become a landlord or buying and flipping houses that need a little TLC.
For a hands-off approach, you can also invest in real estate with Fundrise which only requires a $500 investment. Read our Fundrise review to learn more about how you can invest in real estate as a hobby.
7. Become an Airbnb Host
If real estate investing isn’t your cup of tea, you can still make money renting out a spare bedroom or a family member’s vacant house with Airbnb. You will still need to be a landlord, but it can be on a part-time basis as you can pick and choose the open dates.
Being an Airbnb host also gives you the opportunity to continually meet new people.
8. Be a Rideshare Driver
Unlike a full-fledged taxi driver that must work a regular shift, you can drive when you want whether that’s only during your morning and evening commute or on the weekends.
9. Freelance Online
There tons of ways to make money online by monetizing your interests and talents. If you enjoy writing, you can become a freelance writer or start a blog, for example.
By listing your skills on freelancer platforms like Fiverr, you can get paid for some of the following hobbies:
- Graphic Design
- Computer Programming
- Transcribing Audio
- Voice Overs
10. Sell Photography
You can also make money selling your original photos and videos online. Having a high-end mirrorless camera can maximize your earning potential, but it’s not required. Now that smartphone cameras are so advanced, your candid shops can make some cash with a camera that fits in the palm of your hand.
11. Tutor Students
If you like teaching others but don’t want to be a full-time teacher, you have a few different options. VIP Kid lets you teach English to international students, while Tutor.com accepts tutors for all academic subject.
12. Walk Dogs
If you have dogs or love taking dogs for walks, you can become a dog walker and get paid to walk other people’s dogs while they’re out of town or busy working. Care.com is one place to advertise your services, and you might also consider petsitting or grooming if you want to care for other animals too.
13. Sell Eggs
Organic, sustainably-raised food is gaining popularity and selling chicken eggs is an easy way to enter this niche. Not only do you get farm fresh eggs, but you can sell the extras to your neighbors and community members.
Although many communities allow backyard chicken coops, you should still verify city ordinances and homeowner association bylaws before you bring a flock home.
14. Donate Plasma
Twice a week for an hour, you can donate plasma and get paid cash. You make money and your plasma helps a person with medical needs. Although plasma donation gets a bad rap for college students that want a quick buck, almost anybody over the age of 18 with good health can donate.
Cheap Hobbies Around the House
Do you like to stay home in the evenings and weekends? Staying home doesn’t mean you have to watch paint dry.
15. Learn a New Card Game
Card games have been around for almost as long as humanity because they are a fun way to pass the evening with family and friends in a competitive yet friendly environment. Some card games can be played with one person while others are better with a group of at least four players. If it’s been awhile since you’ve last shuffled a deck of cards, it can be time to bring back family game night.
16. Read Great Books
Did you know a CEO reads about 60 books a year? Maybe you’re happy to read a book a month and that’s okay too. It is possible to get paid to read books, but you might also enjoy visiting your local library, thrift store, Amazon Kindle, or Audible (if you prefer audiobooks).
Click this link to get a free audiobook from Amazon Audible!
17. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a fun way to learn new things while you drive to work, exercise, or tackling those around-the-house tasks you’ve been putting off for way too long. You can click the podcasts button on your smartphone and search for any topic from:
- Money management
- World news
If you thought cable tv had lots of options, start browsing your podcast library to unlock a fountain of digital content.
In our humble opinion, you should also take a glance at Deacon’s Well Kept Wallet podcast if you want to hear from others who love doing what they do for a living.
18. Work on DIY Projects
Do you get inspired to work on a project every time you watch HGTV or another DIY Network program? As a homeowner, you know there’s always something that has to be done around your house, but when’s the last time you wanted to do a home project to add curb appeal to your house so it feels more like a home.
Maybe you can finally:
- Mulch a flowerbed
- Build a raised garden
- Paint a room
- Lay a brick paver walkway
19. Stream Movies Online
Maybe there was a time when you used to go to the movie theater every Friday night to watch the newest release. Waiting a few months for the movie to come to video means you can watch it for a fraction of the cost. It’s possible to stream movies online for the cost of a single admission ticket that your entire family will enjoy; you only have to supply your own snacks and drinks to make movie night complete.
You can also take the streaming experience a step further by watching cable tv online that lets you watch your favorite tv shows in the comfort of your house.
20. Learn a New Language
Whether you want to keep your brain active or you’re planning on visiting a foreign country soon, learning a foreign language can be a fun hobby and excellent conversation starter with friends.
Duolingo is a popular, free app, but you can find many other resources online and at your local library.
21. Make a Family Tree
Are you distantly related to a famous celebrity or world leader? Find out by making a family tree. If you like watching the various genealogy shows on tv, exploring your own roots can be a fun hobby that helps you connect with the past as you learn more about your family history.
A good starting point is Ancestry.com to view old census records and the research that other distant relatives have completed already. Ancestry.com is a paid service but you can get a discount when you join through Ebates which helps make this cheap hobby even more affordable.
22. Cook a Souffle
We all eat three meals a day, so cooking new food can be a fun hobby as you might try a new meal each day or only once a week. You can find new ideas by looking through a cookbook, watching your favorite cooking show on tv, or exploring the most salivating recipe ideas on Pinterest.
You can save some cash with each grocery store visit by buying your groceries with the Ibotta app. You’ll also get a $10 cash bonus with your first Ibotta purchase.
23. Take Up Homebrewing
If you enjoy fine beverages, homebrewing can be a natural step if you want to make your own beer, wine, or cider. You do need to invest in a homebrew kit and tackle a small learning curve, but if you relish a challenge that has some tasty rewards, this can be a fun and cheap hobby.
24. Wash Your Cars
Keeping a clean car is a good way to take pride in ownership so you’re not known as “that guy with a jalopy.” Having a clean car–inside and out–can mean a happier commute and the elimination of an eyesore in your driveway.
You might think it’s only worthwhile to keep a clean car if you have a high-dollar car like a Corvette or Mercedes-Benz, but that’s not true. A clean car can extend the life of your car and help you fetch the highest resale value when you decide to sell your vehicle.
Going outdoors is also an easy way to begin a cheap hobby because there are so many possibilities in your own community.
25. Play Frisbee Golf
When’s the last time you visited your local park? If it’s been a few years, frisbee golf is a hobby that’s “gone viral” across the country as local parks and greenways have added courses to attract repeat visitors. Most courses are free and take advantage of the park grounds that are going to be mowed and irrigated, golf course or not.
Frisbee golf–you might know it as disc golf–is a fun yet slightly challenging hobby. You get your exercise by walking the course that can require going around trees and bodies of water. Unlike actual golf which can be extremely expensive and time-consuming, frisbee golf is a family sport and you can get started with a three-disc starter set that costs less than $30.
Hiking is another fun activity that lets you get exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery from budding spring trees, fall colors, and breathtaking panorama in every season. State and national parks are the two best places to find hiking trails of any difficulty, but your local city park might have a couple walking trails that you can enjoy too.
If you live in a place where you get lots of snow, you can also go snowshoeing during the winter too reduce cabin fever and have fun outdoors while staying warm.
Maybe hiking is too vigorous or single-tracked. Birdwatching can be a relaxing alternative that still lets you enjoy the outdoors while looking for birds that might only visit your area on a seasonal basis.
Camping in a tent or the back of your vehicle is an economical way to get away from the world without paying $100 a night for a hotel room. State parks and federal Bureau of Land Management camping areas are the most affordable places to camp, and sometimes you can camp for free if you can get by with a primitive campsite without electric or water hookups.
If tent camping is still too primitive, you can buy a pop-up camper for a few thousand dollars. You can save some cash by buying a used one on Craigslist and visiting state and national camping areas instead of private campgrounds with all the bells-and-whistles. For many families, camping is more affordable than staying in a hotel and you have the opportunity to create more memories.
29. Swimming and Snorkeling
Swimming and snorkeling can be fun if you enjoy the water and want to explore what’s underneath the surface. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, maybe you can look for some cliffs to jump from (safely) or rapids that let you “bodysurf.”
Many communities also have bike trails that help you get across the city without fighting vehicle traffic. If you live in a rural area, you might have the road almost to yourself on country roads that are a little off the beaten path. Some of the best long-distance bike routes are Rails-to-Trails projects that convert old railroad lines into scenic bike routes.
The list of cheap hobbies is nearly endless and these suggestions give you a good idea how to turn your passions and interests into a fun activity that can take place indoors or outdoors. Cheap hobbies are an easy way to reduce your monthly spending and not having to work so hard at your day job to make ends meet.
What’s your favorite hobby? How have you turned an expensive hobby into a cheap hobby?
Make Some Extra Cash by Taking Surveys
Taking surveys in your spare time can be a great way to earn some extra dough fast. Check out Survey Junkie which will pay you instantly with cash via Paypal. They have over 6,000,000 members and they have an 8.9/10 rating on Trust Pilot.