8 free or cheap hobbies to pick up during January, National Hobby Month

8 free or cheap hobbies to pick up during January, National Hobby Month


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The weather outside is terrible and there is also a pandemic, so it’s the right idea to lie down this winter. The only problem is that it can get pretty boring hanging out at home pretty quickly. Moreover, it’s all too easy to give in to the great temptation of just sitting on the couch and succumbing to binge-watching or thoughtlessly scrolling through social media. Some of what makes being unemployed so seductive is not just that we are all burned out from a nonstop pandemic life, but it does not cost anything either. So picking up a new hobby sounds like something that can easily increase the cost.

Related: How to Make Money Using Your Existing Hobbies and Talents
More: 20 hobbies that only the rich can afford

But some of the most interesting and engaging hobbies cost very little or possibly nothing. GOBankingRates consulted a number of experts and dedicated hobbyists to learn their favorite occupations and what is involved (both in terms of price and skills) to get involved.


“Knitting is perfect for cold winter days because you can do it on your couch while covered with a blanket and sipping tea or coffee,” said Sam Zelinka, who runs Government Worker Fi, a personal finance site for federal employees. “I recently started knitting in December 2021 and taught myself to knit by watching YouTube videos (I’m a big fan of RJ Knits on YouTube). While the price and amount of yarn varies depending on your desired project, you can easily get started for $ 10- $ 20. The best part – you can give your knitted creations to friends as thoughtful gifts (saving you money in the future). “

See: America’s favorite lockdown hobbies and how much they cost


“A great free hobby to take up this year is geocaching,” said Tana Williams, a personal finance blogger at Debt Free Forties. “It’s a great way to spend time with your family, it’s free, and it helps build your problem-solving skills. Plus, it gets you out of the house, gets some exercise and has little or no contact with others. “

Williams explained that geocaching is similar to a treasure hunt. To participate, download the Geocache app to your phone and create an account.

“Once configured, you will use your GPS to find hidden caches,” Williams said. “Each cache is judged by difficulty, terrain type and size. Some include puzzles to solve, though many do not. You find the cache, sign the log and mark it as complete using the coordinates. Then it’s on to the next in “This highly addictive game. You will find yourself checking the app everywhere you visit, just to see what caches are nearby. It’s a great way to spend a day without spending money.”

Bird watching in the backyard

“Bird watching in the backyard is one of the cheapest hobbies you can pursue in January,” said Tammy Poppie, a backyard bird expert at On The Feeder. “In fact, wild birds are most active in backyard bird food in the winter when natural food is not available (such as insects). You can get started completely without money by offering birds a common pantry product: peanut butter.”

Poppie recommends stroking a tablespoon of peanut butter on the side of a tree that can be seen from inside your house. After doing this, you should soon see bucks, chickadees and woodpeckers. For a fairly reasonable upfront price, you can increase your game by getting a feeder.

“For only $ 30, you can buy a platform bird feed ($ 20), a 5-lb. Bag of black-oil sunflower seeds ($ 10), and hang the feeder with a cup of seeds from a tree,” Poppie said. “You will attract a wide variety of species with this one food. Imagine the excitement of attracting a bright red cardinal against the backdrop of crisp white snow.”

Read more: 10 fun and free hobbies for the restless winter months

Indoor vegetable gardening

“Indoor vegetable gardening is a great way to quickly grow fresh vegetables and herbs for your dishes with almost no effort,” said Bryan McKenzie, a landscape designer, gardening expert and co-founder of BumperCrop Times. “All you have to do is buy a hydroponic indoor vegetable growing set, plant the seeds and check the water level every day.”

McKenzie estimates that an investment of around $ 60- $ 100 will give you fast-growing products, adding that a monthly supply of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and herbs in the long run will cost you up to 50% less than grocery store products. .

Ice skating

“If you want to get some exercise, you can go ice skating,” said Sandy Yong, aka The Money Master. “There are outdoor ice rinks where you can take social distance. For indoor skating rinks, check with your local arena to see if they are currently in operation and if they have certain capacity limits. You can buy a decent pair of skates for between $ 50 and $ 100. However, it may be a good idea to check out a thrift store or a sports store that sells them at a discount. It’s a one-time price, but the skates should keep you going for many years. Access to public ice rinks should also be free. ”

If you do not feel like buying a pair of skates, remember that you can rent them at most skating rinks.

“A rent should cost between $ 5 and $ 10,” Yong said. “This is an even more cost-effective option if you do not want to commit to buying a pair of skates that you may not use as often.”

Related: 35 Easy Ways to Save Money This Winter


“Origami can be a really soothing hobby, so if you often feel restless or anxious (especially now), then this might be the hobby for you,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews. The good news is that once you learn it, you can buy packs of patterned paper in 18 or 24 sheets for about $ 7 at craft stores. Try to find a set for learning in the first place – Joann had one for around $ 16, which included a book of instructions as well as a series of 68 sheets to get you started. “

You can also look up origami learning guides online.

“There are definitely YouTube tutorials to help you get started. Just note down what type of paper you need, shop and then follow along,” Ramhold said. “The great thing about this hobby is that it not only is it soothing to engage in the folding ritual, but it’s also a way to do nice little things to gift friends and family members or decorate your home with. “

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“There are a ton of YouTube tutorials to help you get started, as well as lots of free patterns on sites like Lovecrafts, Yarnspirations, and personal blogs,” Ramhold said. “If you’re not sure where to start looking for patterns, Pinterest is a great way to search for a project that you also like. As for supplies, buy a crochet hook. If you are not sure you will like it, i recommend going with a hook first instead of a whole set, and individual hooks can be purchased for as little as $ 1.99 in stores like Michaels and Joann.Choose a hook that can used for multiple projects so you do not get bored of doing the same thing over and over again – usually a 5 mm or 6 mm (these can also be called H-8 or J-10 hooks).

“You can also find 3 packs with regular hook sizes for around $ 6 or so if you want a little more variety but still not sure you want to go all in yet,” Ramhold continued. “Then you have to use yarn, and it may seem confusing to choose it, but it really is not. Be sure to read the label on the yarn to see what size hook you should use, but remember that this is a guideline, not a strict rule of thumb. In general, the finer the yarn, the smaller the hook and the larger the yarn, the larger the hook. Michaels and Joann stores will often have skeins of yarn for about $ 1.50 to $ 3 each. “


“Scrapbooking is my favorite hobby at a low cost for times when I’m forced to be more inside,” said Dr. Nancy Belcher, CEO and co-founder of Winona, a women-founded anti-aging wellness center. “During the year, I collect photos, concert tickets and other memories that I can make collages together in the winter months. I cut graphics, words and letters out of recycling magazines to help decorate my pages so I don’t spend a ton of money on Hobby Lobby. When I look back on all my scrapbooks from previous years, I am always grateful that I took the time to create them. ”

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About the author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor and author based in Los Angeles via Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Atlantic, Vice and The New Yorker. She is a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her debut novel from 2013, “Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray” received rave reviews from people like Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was released in the US, UK, France and Russia – even though no one knows what happened to the Russian version! She has an affinity for Twitter.


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