Remember the days when hobbies involved doing more than sitting in front of a television or pushing keys on your phone or computer?
Now I know this may come as a shock to some of those people who haven’t looked up from their Angry Birds in over a year, but there are still some productive hobbies out there. That’s right: there are still hobbies out there that are well worth your time, are inexpensive, can facilitate learning, creativity, save you money, and in some cases, even make you money. Now that’s what I call productive.
So check out these ten hobbies, and go forth, have some fun, and be productive!
1) Start a Garden: Like most hobbies, this one will take some money to get off the ground. You’ll have to buy seeds, gardening equipment if you don’t already have any, soil, pots, etc. However, the initial cost is worth the reward (and it’s healthier!) According to the seed company W. Atlee Burpee & Co., a home veggie garden will result in a 1 to 25 cost-savings ratio—that’s $50 spent on seeds and fertilizer rather than $1,250 worth of groceries purchased at the store.
2) Start a Blog: Blogging allows you to be creative, it allows you to express yourself, it allows you to discuss matters that are important to you and reach people on a huge scale! (See?) It’s not only a great way to keep your mind and creativity sharp, but it’s good for your wallet—it’s free! Check out WordPress or Weebly to get set up, and here is a great video with tips for blogging from a pro.
3) Learn to Cook: Speaking of growing your own food, how about preparing it? Cooking your own meals not only allows you to have some fun and expand your creativity, but it can also save you money—about 20% to 30% versus eating out, according to the Saving Money Ideas website. And these days you don’t even need a formal cooking class to get started—as a matter of fact, you don’t even need to leave the house! Try Delia Online or Epicurious for free online lessons, and as always, Cheap, Healthy, Good is a great site for budget-friendly recipes.
4) Learn to Bake: Along the same lines as cooking, baking is a hobby that will save you money in the long run, and might even make you some if you’ve got a talent! Save by baking your friends and family gifts for the holidays; save by baking your own goodies and birthday treats rather than going to the store. If you really have a knack for it, try selling your goods to local bakeries or restaurants. After all, who doesn’t love homemade cookies?
5) Learn an Instrument: This hobby might take a bit of money to get started—you’ll have to buy the instrument—but if you have a passion for music, it’s well worth the initial cost. Playing an instrument can be relaxing, exciting, and fun; it’s your time to just get away. Plus, according to a new study at Northwestern University, playing an instrument can have a positive impact on your brain and overall nervous system. And just like with cooking, it seems as though you can rely on the Internet to get started. With some simple browsing and clicking you’ll uncover free or inexpensive lessons online, information, and eBooks. Want to learn how to play the guitar? Well, here’s a great site to get you started.
6) Repair your car: Okay, we can probably all see how this would save you money: you won’t have to take your car in and pay an arm and a leg to get it fixed. But how is it fun? Ever heard of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Plus, if you do this for friends on the side, you could earn some cash. Check out AutoEducation.com to get started.
7) Get Fit: Okay, this might seem a little out of place, especially after “baking.” But staying active, healthy, and in shape will, in fact, save you money. You’ll save on clothes, you could spend less on transportation by walking, biking, or jogging to places, you won’t be wasting money on those unhealthy vices, and you’ll spend less on medication and doctor’s trips. According to the Centers for Disease Control, obese people spend an average of $1,429 more than non-obese people on medical care and may pay up to 30% more for health insurance premiums. To sum up: get in shape, be happier, save money.
8 ) Make some art: Whether your medium is paint, pastel, clay, iron, wire, or sculpture, creating artwork is not only fun and freeing, but it can pay off. For example, if you create your own artwork to decorate your home, you’re not only creating something completely customized, but you are saving money from buying a professional piece. And if you’re really talented, you can sell your work at local markets, coffee shops, or even at Etsy.com.
9) Make some gizmos: I hadn’t really thought about this until a coworker came to work, excited about his new fun project and at how much he’s learned in just a few days about computer science. It’s called Arduino, and it is an open-source electronics platform that includes both software and hardware. At the most basic level, you use the software to program the hardware to do what you want it to. Click here for some awesome examples.
10) Make some clothes: This little hobby could, not only save you money on designer duds, but it could also earn you some cash if you have a talent for it. The important thing to remember here is that making your own clothes will only save you money if you’re mimicking something high-end from a store. If you’re not concerned with the quality of the piece, you will spend less by simply shopping at an inexpensive retail store than by making your own. So when will making your own save you money? Imagine you see a beautiful, designer dress priced at around $300-$400. That’s a lot of money. If you can sew, though, you can probably mimic something similar for only about $50 total—that’s a savings of over $250 for just excluding a label. Simply search online for a discount fabric store in your area to get the most bang for your buck. To get started, check out this great video for beginners, or Instructables.com for more information.
What are some of your productive hobbies? Can you think of a way to make your current hobbies more useful?
Sources: Youtube.com, VegetableGardener.com, USAToday.com, Arduino.cc, HacknMod.com, AutoEducation.com, GuitarTricks.com, Gardening.About.com, ChicagoTribune.com, EDiets.com, SavingMoneyIdeas.org, GetRichSlowly.org,