1. Soap carving allows you to create delicate art easily, all you need is a bar of soap and a soap carving knife (you can get one for cheap).
2. Magnet fishing, just need a big magnet tied to a length of rope and a river or lake to fish in.
3. Starter supplies for cross stitching cost about $10 and it takes less than half an hour to understand the basics.
4. Cardistry and card tricks. Buy a few decks of cards and watch a bunch of YouTube tutorials, and you’ll be surprised how much you can pick up in a short time. If you are one of those people (like me) who always like to be fidgeting with something in your hand when you’re watching Netflix or something, it’s also something to do with your hands.
My personal preference is Bicycle playing cards because they’re easy to handle, but you could probably learn some stuff with any deck you have lying around.
5. Geocaching! It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s everywhere, and on an app that’s super cheap.
6. Origami! You can get a large pack of origami paper on amazon for under $10. My insurance stopped paying for OT, so this seemed like a good DIY alternative. I really enjoy it, so it worked out.
7. Basic weightlifting. Box gyms often offer cheap memberships, and all you really need besides that is some determination and consistency. It can get expensive later on down the road, but the initial improvements are basic, easy and fun.
8. Chess! There are a ton of great resources and communities online and it’s free and really helps your brain.
You’ve gotta be willing to lose a couple games to keep moving forward but it’s incredibly gratifying.
I recommend Chess.com and all the YouTube channels on it.
9. Gardening. It is both a nice way to de-stress and a way to help the environment.
10. Rock sculpting. All you need are some rocks, a few polishing cloths, and a rock hammer. Seven dollars in any rock-and-gem shop.
11. Birding. Not just for senior citizens! If you have access to the outdoors, you can be a birder. Even urban areas have birds. The common ones might not be all that interesting (pigeons), but they’re still birds. There are multiple bird-identifying apps you can get for free (Merlin is my go-to), and you can track the birds you’ve seen on paper or digitally with an app like eBird. I’ve always liked birds, but I didn’t get really into it until a few years ago. I lived in a big city at the time, and I was shocked by how many different kinds of birds I saw once I started paying attention. It’s a very rewarding, low stakes hobby!
12. I recently started trying jello art, mostly because I love jello and it’s an easy side dish my toddlers and nieces and nephews will eat. The basic jello art kit (floral) is about $10 and jello mix or plain gelatin and flavorings are all VERY cheap. Then just add water!
13. Seed beading. A bag of beads and a spool of wire and you can make all sorts of items. Will cost you less than $20 to get started. There are free patterns all over the internet too. It’s amazing how calming this is.
14. Embroidery!! Thread and needles are pretty inexpensive. You can embroider on any fabric too, so you can decorate your stuff.
15. I love to paint rocks! You find the rocks yourself and acrylic paint and brushes are extremely inexpensive.
16. Bullet journalling – it doubles as a hobby and a really useful organizational tool.
17. Beatboxing. Insanely fun and a guaranteed way to be the center of attention at any party.
18. Antkeeping, everyone has ants near them and it is super rewarding to get a colony going.
19. Beekeeping is more profitable than expensive, plus you get free honey for life, and get to care for thousands of animals easily.
20. Reading. A lot of people who don’t read I find just haven’t found the right TYPE of thing to read.
Example being, I don’t really have as much interest in reading novels now, as much as I did as a kid. So I started reading Graphic Novels and Comic Books which are of things I enjoy, Like Gears of War, Walking Dead and the Halo series.
Reading doesn’t have to be 500 pages of words. Reading can be whatever you want.
21. Making ingredients. It is a long endeavor, but things like preserved lemon are just fantastic to add to dishes and satisfying to see during the process and only require the lemons themselves + a jar to preserve them. There are loads of guides online, and once you have the set up they are cheap enough that you can always have multiple on the go.
22. Diamond painting. It’s like paint by numbers but with these tiny little faceted beads. Super relaxing and the canvases can be purchased off Ali Express pretty cheap.
23. Disc golf! No greens fees, sometimes suggested donations, and little equipment needed to get started. A starter disc set is like 30 bucks and well worth it. People drop an assload of cash on discs but you don’t really have to.
24. Collecting “trash” I mean there are things being thrown away that can make some pretty nice decorations or collections. One that I found interesting is collecting bottle caps. Just collecting different brands or a huge bundle helps.
If you want to collect cans that is profitable and can be fun too. Growing your own fruit is cheap and easy. I grow Guava, peaches, and Figs. Also peppers and veggies.
25. Stand up comedy!! I took a class (cringe I know) but I met so many funny people and we all go to open mics together now. Look up some options! It’ll keep you occupied and when you watch stand up in free time it’s “research.”
26. Juggling is really easy, cheap, and there is such a high skill cap that once you learn the basics you’ll have a hobby for life. I learned by juggling three socks filed with stones and have been going for a few years now. Tons of YouTube tutorials, local groups, and different props to try too.
If you don’t think you have enough hand eye coordination or something, just give it a try for like an hour. You’ll get it!
27. Hiking/backpacking! I went to Yosemite a couple months ago, literally the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the first time I’ve gone. I could go a million times and not get tired of the place.
28. Yoga my dude. It’s changed my life.
29. Honestly, watercolor painting if you’re not going for the professional stuff. It’s really easy to paint pretty landscapes with watercolor and there are copious videos on how to.
30. Solving Rubik’s cubes! You can get started with a good speedcube for about $5 (Yuxin Little Magic for this curious, or a magnetic one for $10 (Yuxin Kylin V2 M), and you can bring them anywhere!
31. Tennis is pretty affordable especially if you play local, free courts at parks and schools.
32. Knitting. Couple bucks for needles and yarn, lots of tutorials online, you can learn in ten minutes and spend a lifetime improving. It makes you feel so productive, you just sit down for an hour to watch TV and then you have a dishcloth or a hat.
33. Pen Spinning. It’s literally as cheap as owning a decent length pen. If you wanna advance hardware-wise, you could easily go to Walmart and buy an RSVP pen for like a dollar and make an effective pen mod. There’s a pen spinning reddit too.
34. Guitar! Seriously it’s not too expensive to get a starter guitar! Go to a pawnshop or your local guitar store and get the beat up old guitar and some new strings! There are so many apps out there to teach you how to play in general and every song is out there for you to learn! It’s really been a lot of fun and it’s cost me less than $50.
35. Collecting stickers! May not seem much but it’s very therapeutic for me.
36. Improv, especially if you live in a big city. It’s not just for people with a desire to perform. I take classes once a week for personal/professional development. Shits done wonders for my anxiety.
37. Learn the harmonica. You’ll need some privacy in the beginning though.
38. Playing the ukulele! I am an instrumentalist but I have always had trouble with string instruments. I picked on up recently and it is really easy to learn, even for those with no musical background. Youtube has tons of courses, tutorials, play alongs, etc. It is very fun to play and quite inexpensive. You can also often find groups that play weekly or monthly in your area, just check around for local music stores.
39. Gymnastic ring workouts. You don’t even need a gym membership and the equipment lasts. Oh, and difficulty can be moderated to your level of strength.
40. Drawing. All you need is a writing stick of some sort and paper. Or reading. You can pick up books at thrift stores for less than a dollar and sometimes they’ll give them to you for free.
41. Trainspotting. Starts cheap – just go to your local train station or stations in your area. All you need is a logbook and a pencil. It only starts getting expensive when/if you start traveling around to different stations and depots in your country or even abroad to go looking for specific locomotives. Obviously there’s the accommodation and food too.
I’d say it’s a very good way to get about and see places and things you otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s thanks to trainspotting that my dad has seen as much of England and Scotland as he has!
42. Whitteling. A utility knife ($1) and a stick of wood. I’ve spent hours making shavings and ended up with wooden toy knives and swords. Flowers. Wands. Kindling for firestarter. And if you wanna get serious $100 will get you a few good carving knives or a rotary tool with a wack of attachments.
43. If you already have a computer, try programming. Easy to start, just try automating routine tasks, and there’s a ton on resources on the internet to learn from.
44. Puzzles are good, there are loads of websites/apps, but you can get puzzle books pretty cheap if you prefer a physical book.
45. Archery. A small startup cost, but the ammunition is reusable except for the occasional lost or broken arrow.
46. Creating friendship bracelets with Embroidery string! I started making them several years ago because my little sister had some friends that refused to make her one. I ended up pulling her to the store, bought a pack of threads for roughly 10 dollars, and looked up some tutorials online. It’s a cheap hobby and you can sell a bracelet for a little bit of money since they became popular again over the summer.
47. Fruit and vegetable sticker collecting. Peel the labels off fruit and vegetables and collect and display them on wax paper pages in a binder. Initial investment $0, since you are buying fruit anyway. It may sound boring, but in the first 2 years, I found over 100 different varieties of Chiquita banana labels alone.
48. Lock picking. $20-$30 up front for some basic tools, infinite YouTube tutorials, and a couple locks is all it takes. Much easier that you would think it will be up front but still a lot of room to become quick and efficient.
P.S. Check local laws to make sure it’s legal to own the tools first and only pick locks you own!
49. Language learning. Not sure about every language but as a native English speaker learning Spanish there are lots of free resources. It’s time consuming but very fulfilling and doesn’t ever have to cost a dime.
50. Tabletop Role Playing Games.
So the big one, Dungeons and Dragons you buy expensive books but from there it’s just getting together and pencils, printing and paper. If you go outside of D&D it can be much cheaper with a whole world of games out there from pricy to free. My personal favorite is Mouse Guard.