By Noah Henry • November 15, 2013
Living on an extreme budget doesn’t have to leave you sitting in your dark apartment eating rice pudding. I know—most great hobbies are expensive. You may have to set aside sky diving, art collecting, and drag racing if you want to be thrifty. But throwing away frugal pastimes altogether is the fast track to a dull life. Here are nine inexpensive hobbies that’ll bring enjoyment to your life for a very little cost.
One quick expense from The Chess Store (10% off orders, currently) will have you improving your mental dexterity and facing friendly competition in no time. The chess board can keep you occupied for hours. It may take time to develop your game, but once you do, you’ll be begging your opponent for another round.
Ever wondered about your roots? Tracing your family line is a wondrous and enlightening activity. Ancestry.com and 23andMe have made it possible for the average Joe to explore his name back dozens of generations. You might be surprised to learn about the exploits of your great-great-great-great grandfather, or that your family arrived to America in the 1600’s. The discoveries may amaze you, and the amazement is of little charge.
Music takes you to another dimension, both spiritually and mentally. Nothing burns the hours away like playing an instrument. Learning how to play also brings self-esteem. The initial cost of an instrument is minimal compared to the years of enjoyment you get out of it. Guitar Center (10% off $99) will help you fulfill your musical aspirations. Play on, Clapton.
Camping is a great way to avoid the costs of traveling while getting out of town. It’s absolutely free to sit around a fire, tell ghost stories, and enjoy nature. It’s one of the best experiences to have with your family, and the kids won’t be egging you on to spend money.
The web has revolutionized the cost of buying books. Half.com, Amazon, and Free-eBooks.net are just a few sites that offer ridiculously low prices on books. Stimulating your intellect is never unexciting, unless you’re reading the wrong books.
6. Metal Detecting
Everyone wants to discover lost treasure. You can do this anywhere, and all it takes is that first initial purchase. RadioShack is home to many cheap metal detectors. It’s also a great way to get exercise.
It’s never too late to bring back the enjoyment of arts and crafts you experienced in your youth. Who knows? You might be an expert craftsman and you don’t even know it. Choose your trade: knitting, panting, sculpting, embroidery. If you make something you’re genuinely proud of, you could even try selling it.
Yoga is a healthy way to pass the time and meet new people. It relieves stress and anxiety and results in a greater sense of wellbeing. It costs money to join a class, but you can get started at Yoga Direct (15% off $100), which sells training DVDs and all the supplies you need.
9. Working Out
It’s the cheapest hobby of all. It costs nothing, and for many, it’s the key to a happy life.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!