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How to save money on hobbies

Posted 21 January 2016

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Do you have a hobby? You probably should, as it could increase your quality of life and overall wellbeing. Read our blog to find out what you can do for fun that won’t break the bank.

According to the Daily Express having an absorbing hobby, far from just passing the time, can actually make a difference to your quality of life. Engaging in something fun, that also gives you a sense of purpose, can significantly increase your feeling of wellbeing, perhaps to the point of actually extending life. The original research was conducted for The Lancet, a peer reviewed medical journal, you can read the findings here

Added to this, it turns out that this time of year, with its long hours of darkness and cold weather, might be the perfect time to think about taking up something new. According to the NHS, keeping your mind occupied with a hobby is an effective way of beating the winter blues

But what if you’re struggling for cash? Does this mean that you have to forego a hobby altogether? The answer to this question is - no! It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got lots of money coming in or you’re on a tight budget, anyone can reap the mental and emotional benefits of a pastime that they really love.

We’ve put together some inexpensive ideas for hobbies for those of you looking for a project to get your teeth stuck into. If you pick the right hobby, you’ll get more out of life and you won’t break the bank in the process. 




You can change this idea if you like and just call it walking, but we thought that actually joining a rambling group would be an even better idea as it adds a social aspect to this simple and inexpensive hobby. 

As well as this, the health benefits of walking are many, from the obvious physical benefit to psychological benefits as well. You might have to spend a little on comfortable shoes, if you don’t already have any, but other than that there really aren’t that many costs associated with this pastime and the benefits will be long-lasting. 

There are walks designed for people with children or dogs, for people who want to go off the beaten track or who can only manage a short distance, so it pays to investigate what’s out there. Visit Ramblers to find the right type of walk for you in your area. 

Learn a language

Learning a language, or anything new for that matter, is a great way to occupy your mind, gain an exciting new skill and has been proven to increase life satisfaction. Learning a language certainly doesn’t have to cost the Earth either – in fact you can do this for free. Duolingo is a completely free language learning tool and has lots of languages to choose from – from French to Turkish. Once you’ve learnt a little, why not sign up for Rosetta Stone? It’s another free resource, and gives you the chance to chat with native speakers so you really hone your skills. 

You can download Duolingo onto your phone, which means that it’s great for those of you that find yourself short of time as well as money. Why not see whether you could learn a new language during your commute to work? 


You may be thinking this option is expensive because of the ingredients that you have to buy, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you put together some recipes that involve some of the same inexpensive ingredients and replace the ready-made stuff that you normally buy, you could actually end up saving money with this idea. Cooking on a Bootstrap is a great little blog with tons of recipes all put together with the budget-conscious in mind – some of the recipes you’ll find here can be whipped up for under a £1! 

Cooking can be very therapeutic and provides a great sense of achievement when you really master a dish. Once you get going with it, why not organise a dinner party for a few friends? This way you get to show off your new skills and it provides a cheaper (and probably more fun) alternative to going out to eat. 

Get Googling what’s available for free in your area

Sometimes trying something that you’d never normally think of doing can turn into a hobby that you love. It’s worthwhile simply Googling what’s going on in your area to see whether there’s something unusual happening that takes your fancy. 

For instance, we Googled free classes in Manchester and quite a lot of interesting options popped up. There are free Computer and Digital skills courses available through the council, and quite a few options for free baby and toddler classes if you want something to do, but have a little one with you. Or how about the opportunity to invite more peace and positivity into your life with free meditation classes

Don’t forget that national museums in England are always free entry (some special exhibitions within museums may charge a small entrance fee), there’s a list of them here. Why not make immersing yourself in culture and knowledge your hobby? 

So if you’re not sure what you’d like to do, just search free classes or activities in your area and let the computer do the digging for you. 

Work out how much you’ve got each week/month for hobbies

If you can, it’s a good idea to account for your hobby in your budget. Working out how much of your disposable income you can spend, as well as how much money you can save if you switched to a cheaper hobby, is an important part of a workable, successful budget. So before you take the plunge with a new pastime, have a good think about what you want to try, all the costs involved and then see whether it works into your budget. 

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that having a hobby is great. It relieves stress, keeps your mind active, doesn’t have to be expensive and you might just make some great friends as well. If you’ve tried a new hobby and it’s made a difference to your well-being, let us know on our Facebook page


by Christine Walsh

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