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7 Inexpensive hobbies to help you unwind

Don’t let money be the thing that stops you from getting the most fun out of your time. Take up one of these cheap hobbies that requires little to no monetary investment.

If you’ve been combing the internet for hobbies, you’ve probably seen all the usuals: running, hiking, knitting. Yawn. We can do better than that. We found seven offbeat hobbies perfect for anyone on a budget looking to get her face out of her phone for a little while.

1. Cooking projects


Image: Tim Sackton/Flickr

Everyone loves to hate Julie of Julie & Julia fame, but her idea was aces. Find yourself a cookbook and cook your way through it — even (especially) the weird stuff. Choose a type of food you want to perfect, explore a different culture or become an obnoxious food blogger laughing her way to the bank.

2. Disc golfing

Disc golf

Image: Evan Lovely/Flickr

Disc golfing, otherwise known as Frisbee golf, is exactly what it sounds like. Players throw Frisbees toward a target, counting throws like you count putts in a game of golf. Many community parks have free disc golf courses, making this outdoor activity as inexpensive as a Frisbee and a pair of plaid shorts.

3. Collecting

Rock collection

Image: Kai Schreiber/Flickr

Forget stamps or coins — we are talking about things anyone can collect on the cheap. Get a list of local flora, rocks or wildlife and collect samples or take photographs until you’ve covered them all. Organize your collection and work it into your decor. Looking for something even more out there? Try collecting all the elements on the periodic table. Hydrogen and oxygen will be a snap, but maybe give those radioactive ones a pass.

4. Hula-Hooping

Hula hoop

Image: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Grab a Hula Hoop and feel like a kid again — even if you were the kid who could never keep it going for more than two seconds. It’s never too late to master this childhood favorite, and your abs will thank you for giving it a go. Local rec centers offer classes, but if you’re feeling shy, check out YouTube for inspiration.

5. Improv comedy

Improv group

Image: Benjamin Ragheb/Flickr

Getting up on stage with the purpose of making people laugh isn’t for the faint of heart, but improv groups provide a cushion that stand-up performance does not. You’ll be surrounded by a group of new friends whose antics will keep you and the crowd so entertained, you won’t even care if they’re laughing at you instead of with you.

6. Paper crafting

Paper crafting

Image: Rebecca Gieseking/Flickr

Think bigger than typical origami — you can make almost anything out of paper. From artwork to jewelry to practical household items, there’s a YouTube video teaching you how to make it out of paper. With more than 101 different ways to make paper flowers, you’ll have your paper vase filled in no time. And let’s face it: You’re never going to get the attention of the adorable office worker one building over until you master the art of paper airplane making.

7. Amateur sleuthing

Amateur sleuthing

Image: Wikimedia Commons

OK, maybe you won’t be the next Sarah Koenig, but there are tons of unsolved, unexplained crimes out there. The Taman Shud Case is a personal favorite, but I have to warn you that it will suck you right in. This hobby won’t help you put down your phone, but it provides a bit more mental stimulation than another go at that TwoDots board you just cannot beat.

More in hobbies and crafting

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