7 hobbies that won’t cost you a fortune

posted by in Budgeting

 One person who knows how to have fun on the cheap is thrifty father of three Ricky Willis aka Skint Dad – Recently we invited him to tell us his recommendations on how to keep busy without busting the bank…take it away, Ricky!

Get on your running shoes!

Get on your running shoes!

We all like to make the most of our spare time and let our hair down. The problem is that pretty much everything costs money. Whether you like the odd pint down the pub or play a sport, most of the time you need to dig deep into your pockets.

The Money Advice Service recently claimed that we as a nation are putting ourselves in ‘social debt’ in an effort to save face in front of our mates. (note: based on research carried out for our 2013 statistical yearbook, StepChange Debt Charity found that unemployment and reduced income continue to be the two biggest drivers of debt problems for our clients).

No one wants to be ‘that spoilsport’ who avoids getting together with friends due to a tight budget, but it’s also really important we have that leisure time and interaction with people we care about.

Luckily I’m going to give you the low down on seven hobbies that will keep you entertained without breaking the bank.  Hopefully you can get your buddies involved too!

1. Running

Personally I’m not a runner but I know plenty of people who are. It really doesn’t cost much to get started, just a decent pair of trainers which you may have already. I’ve got a couple of friends who are joggers, and they swear that running is addictive.

Whether it’s training for a fun run or marathon, trying to beat your personal best, or even joining a running club where you can meet like-minded people, running really is a great cost-effective hobby to take up. One great (and free) program that can help you get motivated is the 10-week NHS Choices Couch to 5K podcast. Simply download it onto your phone and away you go!

2. Web design/coding

If you are the techy type and have a lot of concentration then why not teach yourself web design? There’s a wealth of resources online that will walk you through the basics. It may take some time to become proficient but once mastered, you could turn your hobby into a full or part time business.

3. Gardening

If you like the outdoors, then taking up gardening as a hobby could be for you. Green fingers or not, you can spend hours and hours making your little plot of land into your own little oasis.

If you don’t have a garden, there are still other options. Check out my blogpost about growing vegetables without a garden to find out how.

4. Cooking

Cooking never used to be fun for me. This was mainly because I was rubbish at it! When I left my full-time job in London to become a stay-at-home dad to my youngest daughter Chloe, the cooking responsibilities fell to me.

The first couple of weeks were a nightmare but I then started to get better. Now, although I see cooking more of a necessity than a hobby, I love trying out new recipes and experimenting with different foods. Get the family mucking in!

5. Fundraising

Are you passionate about a charity or cause? Although not a conventional hobby, it’s something you can really get involved in and make a difference.

What’s also great about fundraising is that you can choose how you want to do it. It could be a fun run, maybe a trek across Europe or getting involved with your local food bank. Whatever way you choose you can be proud that you’re making a difference.

6. Origami

This is another hobby that requires plenty of patience and practice. It’s a really cheap thing to do and you can either grab a book from your local library or have a look online where there are loads of free tutorials. Better yet, check out this origami ‘flapping bird’ tutorial I found on YouTube:

7. Blogging

This was saved until last on purpose. I’ve never been much of a writer but about 10 months ago I decided to start a blog. I started it because I was stuck at home with the kids and I needed a creative outlet that didn’t involve nappies and trips to the park.

I didn’t think much of it but after releasing a few articles and getting a few people actually reading them, I caught the bug. Fast forward 10 months and now blogging is my life. My hobby has turned into something bigger than I ever thought it could be and it shows that whatever pastime you choose to do, it can really turn into something great.

If you want to find out more about starting a blog then a great place to start would be WordPress.com. Here you will find everything you need to get you going and get those thoughts out for the world to read.

 So, pop pickers, what cheap and cheerful things do you do for fun? Tell us in the comments (keep it clean), and sign up to our email newsletter for more money-saving tips and tricks!

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Ricky aka 'Skint Dad' has been sharing thrifty tips since September 2013. His mantra is all about spending less, cutting back, living frugally but not living without. He won the ‘UK’s Smartest Shopper’ out of thousands of entries. Ricky is father to 3 daughters and fiancée to Naomi, aka Skint Mum.

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