Cheap Hobbies for College Students – Your Pocket Can Have Fun, Too!


College can be expensive, but it doesn’t mean you should miss out on having fun. As a student, you’ll likely be budgeting your funds towards school, family, food, living expenses, and everything else that is necessary to manage. However, you shouldn’t lose sight of things that bring you joy! It is important to create a balanced and fun lifestyle. As such, there are many hobbies for college students that won’t break the bank.


We’ve compiled a list of ideas that include a variety of activities to suit any preference, and the one thing they all have in common is that they don’t cost much money, if anything at all.



Person drawing as a hobby

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash



Cheap Hobbies for College Students

1. Writing


A lot of people think you have to be a good writer to write. But, the truth is, as Langston Hughes once said, “The prerequisite to writing is having something to say.”


Whether you want to hone your skills in writing courses, writing groups, or just write alone, it can be a very meditative experience. Some ideas for what to write about include: personal stories, fictional stories, poetry, song lyrics, etc.



2. Reading


Reading allows you to temporarily escape into a different world, and it doesn’t cost much, if anything at all. If you have access to a library, you can get books for free. You can also consider using an e-book and purchasing books for a lower cost than some hardcover books may cost. You can also read online in PDF form, share books with friends, or even start a book club where you can exchange books.



3. Photography


Thanks to technology, most people have access to cameras on their phones. If you don’t want to splurge on buying a professional camera, you can hone your skills on your mobile phone instead.


Additionally, there are apps and resources to learn photo editing on either a computer or a phone.



4. Sports


Participating in sports is a great way to benefit both your body and your mind. Whether you choose to play group sports or go at it alone, you will produce endorphins in your body and train your physical strength.


A lot of sports are free. Other sports may require some equipment, like skateboarding, bike riding, or any sports with a ball, but the cost is quite low.


Playing sports in a park or with friends can be a great way to expand your social network, too.



5. Drawing


Want to learn to draw? There are many free online courses to hone this creative skill. The great thing about drawing is that you can do it anywhere and you can easily share your creations via social media, or just keep them to yourself! Drawing may even lead to painting and other creative activities.



6. Water Sports


Although water sports can be expensive, there are some that are very low cost — like swimming. Granted, you need access to a pool or a body of water, but if you have that, it’s a great and relaxing way to pass some time.



7. Gardening


Urban gardens are becoming increasingly common as people opt to create a more sustainable world. Depending on the amount of space you have, you can start gardening yourself and growing your own food or even just flowers for their aesthetic beauty. If you want to start small, try growing some herbs. All you need is a little bit of sunlight, water, and care to make your garden grow.



8. Cooking


Many people don’t realize how much they like cooking until they try it. Not only will cooking help to save money on your meals when compared to always eating out, but it is also a healthy and creative alternative to feed your body and soul. Plus, if you learn new recipes, you can always share your creations with your friends and make cooking into a social experience.



9. Restoration and DIY


When you take a walk around the neighborhood or even inside your home, do you ever see old furniture lying around? You can spend time restoring furniture in creative ways to transform something that is seemingly old into a creative new piece.



10. Coding


Computer science is taking over the world. Coding is an interesting hobby and a very valuable skill to hone. You can enroll in online courses for a low cost to earn your degree or teach yourself to code for fun. With coding, you can create websites, applications, games and more.


For example, the University of the People offers a Computer Science program that is tuition-free and completely online, so you can learn how to code from the comfort of your own home. Whether you choose it as a hobby or your career, the degree will provide you with plenty of opportunities.


Additionally, there are other free websites to learn from that don’t grant accredited degrees, such as Code Academy.



11. Content Creation


Let’s take a look back at number 1. Do you like to write? Would you like to make it into a hobby that can even get you paid? Try your hand at content creation. Many companies and small businesses pay a writer to generate content for their websites, blogs, marketing materials, and more. To spruce up your skills, learn about SEO and the other aspects that make content creators shine so that you can set yourself apart. The best part is, many of these positions can be done remotely from anywhere in the world.



12. Dancing


Do you like to move it, move it? Dancing is a great exercise and a fun way to spend time. You can simply turn up the music and dance with yourself (like nobody’s watching). You can also take classes to learn the techniques of whatever dance suits your fancy.



13. Meditation


Meditation is a hobby and a practice that can reap many mental health benefits. You can literally meditate anywhere. All you need to do is get into a comfortable seated (or laying down) position and focus on your breath. If it’s hard to focus on your breath and thoughts are crossing your mind, simply acknowledge them and let them pass without judgment.


If you need a helping hand, try an app like Headspace for guided meditation or a YouTube video that can lead you through the practice.



14. Learn a New Language or Instrument


These days, it’s easier than ever to learn a new language or skill like how to play an instrument. There are many free resources, such as Duolingo, which allows you to learn the language of your choice through its mobile or desktop application.


Additionally, learning an instrument is doable through online tutorials or in-person classes.



15. Volunteering


If you could get into a habit that gives back, you can create a win-win situation by spending free time volunteering. There are countless organizations around the world for whatever cause that most interests you. From working with the homeless population to raising awareness for sustainability initiatives, getting involved in your community will both make you feel good, as well as help others.



Father and daughter volunteering in their community

Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash



Take Your Pick

Finding balance in your academic career can come in many different forms. You can choose to exert energy with athletic hobbies or take to the creative side and learn an instrument or hone your writing skills. For whatever suits your fancy, there are many ideas for the types of hobbies you can pick up in college.


Before you go, try another helpful hint for balancing your budget as a college student. Consider attending an online university, like the University of the People, which is the highest quality in online education while it’s also tuition-free.