Hobbies Don’t Have to be Costly: Tips For Making Your Favorite Pastimes Less Expensive

Hobbies enrich our lives in immeasurable ways. Unfortunately, inflation is making it more and more challenging to do the things we love. 

Buying supplies, enjoying events, and pursuing our passions are becoming increasingly expensive as the overall cost of living rises. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should give up. There are ways to engage in hobbies without spending boatloads of money

While enjoying the popular R/frugal community on Reddit, I stumbled upon a thread asking frugal practitioners to share how they engage in hobbies while saving money.

Travel Churning

Many of us love to travel, but airline tickets and hotels make it out of reach. The thread’s original poster shared that they use credit card churning and points redemption to pay for their adventures. 

Many credit cards offer rewards points users can redeem to pay for flights, hotels, or other travel expenses. Those good with credit can use this to their advantage, buying things on credit and swapping the points for trips. 

Be advised that it only works if you’re responsible with credit. You’ll cost yourself far more in the long run if you don’t pay your bill each month. 

Cheap Trip Options

If you love to travel but don’t think churning is right for you, consider cheaper travel options. Take a road trip rather than fly, choose to camp over staying in a hotel, or visit a town where friends would happily host you. 

Other options include traveling during off seasons, house-sitting, picking “flexible” dates, and scouring airline websites for deals. 

Those who love to travel can find ways to make it less expensive. 

Atlas Obscura

One Redditor advised the travel-loving but frugal original poster to check out Atlas Obscura. It’s an online resource highlighting some of the world’s lesser-known attractions. 

We’ve visited some unique places,” the Redditor said, describing them as “Often kitschy, but usually memorable.”

Because these places and events are less popular, they are cheaper than mainstream destinations. 

Take Advantage of Free Admissions

One Redditor shared that they keep track of their city’s free admission days, using those to visit their favorite museums and activities. 

Many educational exhibits offer free or reduced-priced admission on certain days of the month or for specific groups. LACMA, the massive art museum in Los Angeles, offers free admission to Bank of America cardholders on the first weekend of each month. Other museums across the country have weekly or monthly free days or reduced admission for particular groups (locals, Veterans, students, etc.). Check the museums in your area to see what they offer. 

Free Crafting Resources

An artist member of R/frugal said they use junk mail and magazines for paper mache and collage crafts. 

I use junk mail and shredded paper to make papier-mâché. I form bowls, mostly, and when they get dry, I paint them with cheap craft paint. I also use magazines and catalogs to get material for collages,” they shared, noting that they can get some of this stuff for free on freecycle

Take Advantage of Sales

Big craft stores like Michaels often host massive sales, allowing you to get much-needed craft supplies for bargain basement prices. 

Sign up for their membership program to get email coupons and notifications of their most significant sale events and stock up during these times. 

DIY Car Repair

If you love cars, you can save tons of money by working on your vehicle as a hobby. Instead of paying someone to change your oil, replace the filter, and perform tune-ups, do it yourself. 

“Tools can be expensive, but you make up for it in saving on parts and labor,” shared one user. 

Of course, this only works if you love cars or are passionate about learning new skills. You could also help your friends and family by working on their cars in your spare time. 

Fund Your Hobby with Your Hobby

One user said they make and sell terrariums, providing them with the funds they need to enjoy their hobby. 

“I grow houseplants, propagate them, and sell terrariums,” they shared, explaining that they love it because it turns a small profit, they get some exercise, and they surround themselves with houseplants they love. 

Numerous hobbies lend themselves to profit. Artists can sell their paintings, gamers can stream on Twitch, and DIYers can list their services on sites like TaskRabbit. 

With the expansion of sites like Etsy and Fiver, anyone can sell their time, skill, or creations to folks all over the country and make money with their hobbies

Choose Cheap Hobbies

Hobbies don’t have to be expensive. Many hobby ideas have cheaper alternatives, allowing you to participate in what you love for a fraction of the cost. 

Visit local state parks to get your hiking in rather than spending a weekend at a distant national park. Work out at home with free weights and Youtube videos instead of paying for a gym membership and classes. Use free resources to learn a new skill instead of paying for a class. 

There are many ways to engage in hobbies without paying more than you can afford. 

Just Start

Sometimes we forget that we can try things without spending much money. We think everything has to be perfect; we need all the right tools and supplies and the perfect space before we can even begin. 

This attitude prevents us from starting. 

The truth is we don’t need things to be perfect to start. We can start painting with a $20 kit from Micheals, start writing with a dollar notebook from Walmart, and start working out by walking through our neighborhood. 

If something is worth doing, it’s worth starting even if conditions aren’t perfect. It’s okay to start cheap and work your way up if you enjoy it, and it’s okay to stay cheap if you can’t afford to pay more. 

Enjoy Your Hobbies for Less

Though it didn’t get a lot of comments, this thread showcased that where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are ways to enjoy your hobby for less. It may require some thrifting, internet sleuthing, or exploring travel options you hadn’t considered, but it can be done. 

Think outside the box, and you’ll find ways to enjoy your hobbies for a fraction of the cost.