- Stamps- You can get a great stamp collection going just by cutting the stamps off envelopes and soaking them. And, you will be surprised how many wonderful stamps you will get if you ask friends and family to save stamps for you. And, if you know people that travel ask them to get some stamps from the places they travel. You can literally amass a tremendous collection of stamps without spending any money. I do have a whole section on my website here about stamp collecting. Including how to soak stamps to get them off envelopes
- Collecting Rocks, stones and Minerals - I love this hobby. You just need a few basic tools that you might already have like a hammer and a small hand shovel. The thing about this is that you go hunting for the various stones you will add to your collection. There are three major aspects in all 1 - collecting the specimens, 2 identifying the specimens and 3 displaying them. We often overlook the amazing variety of stone that is in our own city or home town.
- Collecting Plant specimens and leaves - You can grow a wonderful collection of plant leaves and stems, even flowers and blossoms by pressing them carefully between two sheets of wax paper then ironing them with a clothes iron. Use string or yarn and you can bind these pages together into a book.
- What would you like to collect? When I was a kid collecting bottle caps and baseball cards was very big. Bottle caps are getting difficult to find now and I wouldn't categorize baseball cards as a cheap hobby. But you get the idea. There are lots of things you can collect for almost nothing. Give it some thought as to what you like. What would be unique to you?
- Collecting Insects - Not for everybody! But can be quite amazing and fascinating if you are intrigued by nature in all her variations.
- Drawing - This is an astonishingly cheap hobby and it is so ubiquitous that we often overlook it. But it can be a very rewarding and enriching hobby. All you need is paper and pencils. Everybody already has these things. And let me expand on this a little bit. Maybe you also have something else you are very much interested in. You could do lots of drawings of that subject. Do drawings of trees, birds, or anything else that you are interested in. It could become your subject. I have a section of my website here that teaches you step by step how to draw fantasy figures
- Painting - Ok, you are thinking that paint is expensive but... you can make your own paints. Yup! I have a tutorial on it: (How to Make Medieval Egg Tempera Paint ). For some people more than half the fun is the making of the paints. The painting you see of DaVinci was done with home made egg- tempura.
- Photography - This used to be an expensive hobby but, because you are here reading this webpage you probably have a computer! From there all you need is some kind of photo program, (Lots of free ones) and a digital camera. If you don't already have one you can get a digital camera in any price range. They are available on amazon as low as ten dollars.
- Writing - All you need is paper and pencil. But it looks to me like you already have a computer so that will work too! All kinds of writing are possible from story telling to tutorial writing, blogging and more.
- Journaling - This tends to be an easy entry into writing because you are writing about what you think, what you feel and the events of your day. This avoids the dreaded writers block.
- Story Telling - This is an art that was very popular in the past. It is probably one of the most powerful arts. We as humans are very attuned to a person telling a story.
- Marionettes - You can make your own marionettes with some cloth and paper mache and make a theatre with some scraps of wood or cardboard boxes. How to Make a Marionette
- Calligraphy - This is a wonderful form that takes written communication and makes an art of it. You will need a special type of pen but to get you started I have a tutorial on how to make a quill out of a feather Make a feather quill pen.
- Sculpting - You can practice this art and hobby with a very wide variety of materials including clays, stone, soapstone and more. You can get started by making yourself some play dough: How to Make PlayDough.
- Making Miniatures - (Of all kinds) I love this hobby. It is very rewarding and because you are making things that are very small the cost is very low. You can often make just about anything from tid bits and scraps of things found around the house like bits of wood, cloth, small amounts of paint. This is very rewarding and very diverse. You can make miniature figures, miniature dollhouse furniture, miniature food and more. I have a section of my website devoted to making miniature stuff. (the picture here shows miniature christmas present
- Singing - Your voice is free. And we all know how to sing, at least a little bit. Wonderful hobby and can be very enriching. You can also often find a group to sing with.
- Learn an instrument - Well, generally an instrument isn't free but once you get it you can find hundreds of hours in this hobby without paying much more money. A good example of a cheap way to get started is with a Ukelele! I have one and I love it! Easy to learn. You can play a song in your first session. Guitar is also a very popular instrument. Alfred's Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele, Complete Starter Pack
Hobbies With Paper
- Origami - This is a wonderful hobby that will cost you nothing! Folding small paper figures, animals, flowers and a whole range of other things is quite wonderful. You can spend many hours on this engaging hobby.
- Paper Making - This is a hobby that you can do for no cost at all if you have a little bit of window screen and some scraps of wood. You do it by upcycling old paper such as bills, printer paper and scrap paper into new paper. Wonderful hobby. And the possibilities are endless with home made paper. You can make scrolls and even three dimensional shapes. I have tutorials here: How to Make Paper
- Tatebanko - This is the Japanese art of making paper dioramas. All you need for this is paper and a little imagination. Tutorials here
- Paper Mache Sculptures and art- All you need is flower, water and paper. Maybe a dash of salt. And you can make a wonderful hobby out of paper mache.
- Paper Cutting and Collage - If you don't consider yourself to be artistic these hobbies are a great place to start in art. You can make some wonderful things that look great. And with practice you will improve a lot.
- Paper Flower making - Wonderful hobby with unlimited potential. You sculpt flowers with paper. You have an unlimited range of paper to use including paper towels, printer paper, colored paper and tissue papers. You can even use paper you make yourself.
- Karakuri - This is the art of making paper objects that move.
- Quilling - This is the art and hobby also called paper filigree. It involves strips of paper that are rolled, shaped and glued together to create designs.
- Gardening - This is a wonderful hobby and you don't need much money to do it. You could probably do it for free with a little ingenuity. For example you could try seeding all the various fruits and vegetables in your groceries and use them for your garden. Herbs are also another great thing to grow. I got an actual sunflower from someone who was growing them and well, I got quite a few sunflowers out of the seeds from that one flower. You can specialize in what type of gardening you do. How about raising flowers? Or specializing in something like orchids?
- Container Gardening - A little soil and some wood and you can make some large containers for the porch or for inside the house. So, if you leave in an area that is seasonal you can grow things and care for them year round.
- Terrariums - You create a small eco-system inside a closed container. This is a wondeful and very popular hobby. I have lots of tutorials here
- Bonsai - This is both an indoor and an outdoor pursuit - or either. This hobby takes time to develop. You learn it slowly and that is kind of the point. I have tutorials here.
- Bird Watching - A reference book and a pair of binoculars is all you need.
- Star Gazing - Wonderful hobby that doesn't cost anything. You can download and print star maps and constellation charts then spend many wonderful hours learning the night sky. Did you know that several planets are easily found with the naked eye? Add a pair of inexpensive binoculars and you can have a full blown hobby.
- Camping - True you might need some initial start up items. But maybe you already have some of the equipment or you can borrow it from somebody for weekends camping.
- Gold Panning - You don't need a whole lot of supplies and who knows, maybe you will strike it rich! And this is a hobby you could pair up with camping or hiking.
- Fly tying - Interesting hobby that can get to be quite artistic and beautiful with a functional end result. This goes of course hand in hand with fishing.
- Keeping Goldfish - This is a wonderful hobby that is very inexpensive. Goldfish are very hardy and easy to take care of . I have a tutorial where I show you all the steps in setting up an aquarium and caring for goldfish. How to set up a goldfish aquarium
Motion, movement, and kinesthetics
- Soccer - This is great exercise and it has a very low cost of entry.
- Dance - Wonderful hobby that will also improve your health. Perfect for couples.
- Snorkeling - If you live near a body of water the expense here can be very low. You just need a mask and snorkel.
- Bicycle Riding - Chances are you already have a bicycle. So the cost is effectively zero. And you can add depth to this by adding sight seeing to your riding schedule. Are there landmarks, parks, interesting places within riding distance of where you live? Or maybe there are specific bike paths?
- Yoga - Many organizations like the YMCA offer yoga classes for very low prices. Healthy and low impact exercise.
- Judo, Karate - You can check with local organizations such as the YMCA or community recreation organization. They often have low cost enrollment in Martial arts classes. You may need to pay for a uniform.
- Acting - My city has a theatre organization that puts on several plays a year. It is a wholly volunteer organization. I think this is a wonderful hobby and you also expand your social circle by meeting new people.
- Bodybuilding - There will be a cost involved in getting weights and equipment but maybe you already have some or know somebody that will lend you some. And this is a big part of fitness which means there is lots of reading and research you can do including planning out your schedule and goals.
- Juggling - You will be suprised by how easy it is to get started. You only need three oranges. And from there the possibilities are endless. You don't have to be super coordinated to do this. I learned how to juggle many years ago and occasionally I still do it.
Games and More
- Learn Chess - There are many online groups where you can learn to play and play other people in your skill range. Want to get started right away? I have some free chess books you can download on this page
- Board Games - Backgammon, Checkers, Hnefatafl (Ancient Viking Board Game) Ludus Latrunculorum (Ancient Roman Board Game)
- Card games, Whist, Cribbage, Hearts , Poker, and many many more. A great aspect to card games is that they also build and strengthen relationships with friends and family.
- Paper Games - Fun and very cheap. I have ten different paper games that you can download, print up and play. Paper Games
- Cooking - We all have to eat! Why not learn the art of it? This is a very rewarding (and usually delicious) pursuit.
- Bread Making - I have a bread maker and I love it! I have made all kinds of wonderful breads from a rosemary olive to a honey wheat. Easy and cheap hobby. You don't need a breadmaker for it but I got my bread maker for 8 dollars in a thrift store.
- Geocaching - This is modern day treasure hunting. People hide small objects (treasures) and you track them down using your GPS. Can be a lot of fun.
- Fishing - This hobby has withstood the test of time. Getting outdoors, getting some quiet time and getting something to eat. Doesn't get much better than that! And you really don't need to buy fancy fishing gear. The fish don't care about that. You can make your own suitable equipment. I remember when I was a kid me and a friend used to go fishing with a spool of fishing line and a hook. We woudl dig up earthworms that same morning.
- Reading - This can be easily done for free with trips to the library. Or the Gutenberg online library where you can download and read public domain books. They have over 50, 000. Amazon has a nice list here: 100 Books to read in a lifetime - And here is another nice list: http://thegreatestbooks.org/
- Poetry - Both writing it and reading it.
- Family tree and Ancestry - This is very popular nowadays. I subscribed for one month with the famous ancestry site and it is quite addictive as a hobby. Before you know it you are interviewing your whole extended family to build your family tree. Everybody has interesting people in their heritage. One of my great-grandfathers was a blacksmith.
- Learn a New Language - Nowadays you can learn a new language for free. Check out Duolingo.com. They have free tutorials in 15 different languages including Spanish, French, German and even Esperanto. It is totally free.
- Magic - Prestidigitation! This is a fun hobby. You can do it simply for your own satisfaction and learning or you can do it as a performance art for other people. You will be absolutely amazed at how clever magic can be. Some tricks are brilliant.
- Model Making - I love model making. There can be a bit of start up cost. But you can make your first model for less than twenty dollars. That is for the model kit and the glue. Here is a tutorial for you: How to Make a Plastic Model
- Whittling - This used to be a popular pursuit. Before you know it you can be carving all kinds of amazing things. I do have one whittling type of tutorial here: How to carve a wavy bladed ornamental knife
Crafting - (And you even have the potential of selling your crafts on sites like etsy.)
- Candlemaking - You can make candles and oil lamps from different kinds of kitchen waste. You don't need to buy wax which can be expensive.
- Sewing - You will want to get a sewing machine as you develop this hobby. But, you can get off to a great start just with needles, thread and old clothes.
- Knitting - Yarn and two needles is all you need to get started. You can make yourself clothes and make gifts for other people.
- Crocheting - Yarn or string and a crocheting hook is all you need to get started.
- Quilt Making - Quilts are traditionally made from old scraps of cloth and the often have a theme or a meaning.
- Scrapbooking - There is an artistic and craft aspect to this. But there is also a family and friends connectedness to this hobby.
- Upcycling - This has become very popular in the past few years and it is very useful. Rather than throwing things out after their usefulness is gone you think of new ways to use them.
- Cartography - This is the study of maps and map making. I have a couple of projects that add a fantasy twist to this science: How to Make a big Fantasy Map - Make a Wizard's Globe
- Archaeology - I really like this as a hobby. You don't need a whole lot of supplies and tools. But you will need to do your research. No matter where you live there are very viable and interesting archeaological possibilities nearby.
- Meteorology - You can make all kinds of equipment on your own from a barometer (How to Make a Barometer ) to wind vanes and more. Keeping careful records can be very rewarding. And a lot of local TV stations actually solicit weather reports from viewers. You could become a regular contributor.
- Astronomy - Star-gazing is a wonderful hobby. With just a star map you can learn to identify the constellations and find the major planets. Add a small telescope or a pair of binoculars and the universe opens up to you. I have a section on telescopes and astronomy with tutorials on how to make a small telescope or a large telescope: Telescopes and Astronomy
Do you like making projects and exploring a variety of hobbies?
Sign up for my free newsletter. I give you regular updates on hobbies and projects you can make. it is totally free and I don't share your email with anybody.