Cheap/affordable hobbies

What do you folks do for fun that doesn't break the bank?

my brother and his friends go waterskiing and fishing which requires a boat, trailer license etc $$$
my old boss used to race his own v8 supercar for fun. huge $$
Many of my peers love a pint of five a few times a week. hits the wallet hard $$

I like to watch movies. never more than a few dollars to hire online if i can't find them on streaming. I buy cheap wine and if its super nasty i cut it with softdrink.
my biggest investments have been my Xbox, speakers and TV…but they are longterm rewards (under $1000, 3 years of value).

What do fellow ozbargainers do to unwind on the cheap?


  • +84

    Honestly.. I nap.

  • +66

    In Sydney you can travel pretty far on a Sunday for $2.60 capped. You can do it once a month without breaking the bank.

  • +25

    I find and fix washing machines and lawn mowers

    • +2

      and then i suppose you sell them off?

      • +28

        sell some, give away some.

        I wouldn't quit my day job

        • +2

          I should've spoken to you, i could not for the life of me get the stupid lawnmower to work again. Kept stalling immediately after startup

          It has now gone to the big grass field in the sky

  • +6

    Paragliding? After initial training and a wing, it's pretty much free.

    • +1

      sounds like a big effort to start with but the reward would be amazing.

    • Any recommendations to get into it?

      On the cheap?

    • +5

      Just that the initial training and wing costs your ~$2-5k.
      Then you will always "need" something better.
      Better wing, better gloves, better altimeter, new flying area (more petrol), better insurance …

      Also, don't you need a licence that needs a yearly renewal?

      • +1

        yea i was thinking the same.. tried ozbargaining it found licence place for $1300!
        but i found something even cheaper and just as fun ..and most importantly FREE… swimming in FNQ waterfalls
        I might look into it again if i ever move from Cairns

      • What's the cheapest way to start?

    • +4

      Is there many accidents percentage wise? I always worry that they have to hose me off the ground if anything goes wrong.

  • +32


    • +24

      You and I should get together sometime for some hobbying, but I warn you I can't read and I'm so chill meditation does nothing for me.

      • Haha I like the way you think!

    • +18

      i hit the green very often as it's less than $2 for a 4 hour high. what a time to be alive.

      • +6

        My dude!

      • +3

        Golf, lawn bowls or weed?

        • +5

          porque no los tres?

      • +6

        Being a stoner isn't a hobby.

        • +3

          It's a lifestyle lol

        • +1

          Isn't he talking about golf?? 🤣

        • @nismo: Yeah sure, the weeds that get in the way while you are playing golf.

    • Perfect for Sydney…

    • +1

      Where do I start if I want to learn to grow..

      • +1

    • +3

      also great suggestions for depression or existential anxiety

    • Reading, yes.

  • +10

    Sketching, painting and other art. Sure, top quality materials can be $$$ but you can do a lot on the cheap. Great way to wind down.

  • +15

    I like to learn, which usually involves reading.

    • +6

      And there are plenty of libraries around.

      • +12

        I learn more reading OzBargain, Whirlpool and Reddit tbh.

      • +2

        There used to be that library called Borders..

  • +4

    Although it can get expensive, golf could be an option if you want a hobby. Can get some cheap used clubs off gumtree and go to some public courses for a relatively cheap few hours of fun

    • +2

      yea this is something that i'm always meaning to do!

      • +1

        DO it mate, such a great sport. You can always find cheap clubs 2-3year old with on par performance with newer clubs and expect to last for years.
        Golf hardware tech is pretty maxed out due to manufacturers coming close to USGA regulations.
        If you like competition can join a public course for quite cheap and play comps and even 'win' some of your cash back in bar tabs etc.

  • +39

    I was going to say spending time on ozbargain, but that generally is breaking the bank

    • +8

      Not when you have dozens of Zapal accounts, lol

  • +3

    I started playing disc golf about a year ago - super cheap (always free to play a round, disc costs vary ($15-$20 a disc and most people start off with 2-3) super fun once you get into it and a great social game.

    The sport is growing rapidly in Australia and is biggest in Perth. Its not that big in Adelaide unfortunately.. There's a course in Tintinara and one soon to be installed in Mt Gambier. It shouldn't be too long before it makes its way to RAdelaide.

  • Perhaps cubing? A decent cube is around $10-20, and it gets pretty addictive once you start solving. Gets you some fascinated looks while you're at it.

    • +11

      Don't know what that is, but I googled it and got this

      cut (food) into small cubes.

      Yes, I imagine you would get some looks if you were doing that in public

      • +2

        My bad, I meant (Rubik's) cubing

        • +1

          It's alright, I got what you meant. I thought rubix cubes were a little dorky, but after seeing this I'm tempted to take it up

    • +4

      i believe myself to be vastly incompetent to enjoy skilled activities like this.

    • Got any links / resources for learning how to do it. (Where did you learn to do it?)
      I've read some infographics, and they don't really help. I mean, I get the basic formula for doing it,
      but some explanations make it more complicated than it should be.

      • +1

        Urgh unfortunately can't really help regarding resources on actually learning it, I had a friend who was really good that taught me most of it, and if I needed some algorithms I just used the pdf on the actual Rubik's website.

      • multi-world record holder Feliks Zemdegs has his Cubeskills website which covers everything really well

    • +2

      Are you suuuuuure they're fascinated looks?

      • +3

        Nah just trying to fuel my ego, in reality they're probably looks of disdain and disgust at how much of a weird tryhard I am

        • lol
          Who cares if you're a weirdo, it's not like anyone is going to bully you for it. You'd have to be a complete twat for that to happen!

    • ayy didn't think i'd see cubing as a suggestion here!

      pro tip for anyone interested, avoid the Rubik's-brand cubes and go for a cube from moyu or mofang, much cheaper and much better quality

    • It's only cheap until you go and buy every new puzzle you find.

  • +2

    Played this for a few days…I guess it was fun?!

    • oh so you like watching paint dry, you should consider a film critic gig.

  • +5

    Darts, cheap and Make heaps of friends. Drinking involved if you like.

  • +13

    unwind on the cheap?

    Work in the morning. Then come home and work some more.

    • +3

      sending relaxing vibes your way xo

      • +4

        Thanks. Much appreciated.

        Btw going back to work now looking at numbers.

  • +4

    Playstation 4, lots of great stories

    Inflatable kayax, lots of kayaking

    • +3

      2nd hand kayak - years of fun and relaxation for a few hundred dollars.

    • im a little too far away from the coast to make this a leisure…but i have often considerd it

      • what about a river?

        • afaik none nearby. adelaide isnt exactly a bountiful land of fresh water :(

        • @joshykins:
          Plenty of good beaches to go kayak fishing

    • +1

      How good are inflatable kayaks? I did canoeing in high school and loved it but never had the space or ability to transport a canoe. Would it fit in the boot of a sedan?

      • I got what I think is a decent one for $450. Inner bit is like an inflatable mattress but with an outer tarp-like shell. Brand was Sevylor…there are ones for <$200 but I'd go for a more premium one for piece-of-mind. Seen it on ebay and BCF.
        Bought my own oars cos I didn't like the 3-piece it came with.

        My one folds into a ~10kg backpack. Definitely fit the boot.

        Obviously doesn't track as well as a hard-shelled kayak, and I gotta be more wary of branches in the water, but otherwise, does the job on a lake with little-to-no current.

  • +21

    If gaming if your thing then join the PC master race. There are many high quality free to play titles out there that you'd never have to pay a cent for potentially thousands of hours of gaming. If you're sensible with the initial build and upgrades, your cost to hours of gaming ratio should work out pretty well.

    Modern board games are pretty good value if you can get a regular group together. If storytelling is something you might enjoy, give roleplaying a try. D&D is on a bit of a resurgence at the moment!

    • BiL loves all this and i'm jealous. I struggle to get into most gaming (especially FPS and RPGs). Maybe when VR is cheaper and better games i'll immerse myself

      • +1

        Could take a look a PS VR, I mean sure it's not perfect but its quite a large platform these days and a lot cheaper than just about every other option.

        • Not really, you save yourself 200 tops and have to suffer the lifespan of the playstation. The oculus is about as cheap now, and pimax are stepping into the game hard pretty cheap

      • Try some different genres then? Emulators open up all old console games if there's nothing new you like.

        My partner played some MMORPG's with me but mostly plays simulation games like Cities Skylines or RTS's like Civilization.

  • +11

    Penmanship. Free

  • +15

    Cooking, once you get some good quality cookware, it can be as cheap or expensive as you want

  • +14

    Knitting. I honestly think it should be an Olympic sport :D.

    • me too, i love it

    • MiL is a world class knitter. love her work!

    • +2

      Until you realise that you actually need three sets of interchangeable circular needles and that the pretty scarf you want to make costs 50 bucks worth of yarn.

      • The needles will be a one off investment and shouldn't cost that much anyway. That $50 worth of yarn is going to take many hours before it's finished so it might take months and months before you have to spend another $50. And the scarf you can use or gift others.

      • +4

        you can always spin your own wool. mum and other relatives and family friends were hand spinners. you buy fleeces directly from sheep farmers. its a lot of effort of course but thats what hobbies are. they even used natural dyes from leaves to dye the resulting wool.

  • +10

    Play computer games, get em all from humble bundle, costs about $200 a year, and 1000s of hours of fun.

    • gotta boost that frame rate to respectable 60fps…

  • +8

    Video games. PC or console. Either way you can do it on the cheap and play lots of great games.

    Really a lot of hobbies can be as cheap or expensive as you make them. A decent set of golf clubs won't set you back much and there are many cheap and good courses. Or you can spend a shit load on clubs, and play at the finest courses. Cooking is a cheap and fun hobby, or you can get into some real blumenthal type shit and spend oodles.

    I'm really into my cooking and have in the last year or so started branching out into cocktail making to go with that. Don't have to spend a lot to get a decent little bar stocked ready to make all sorts of drinks. Then you can justify your alcoholism as a hobby.

  • +19

    bush walking/running, cycling, skateboarding etc. typ free after purchase of cycle or board and if you are not already undertaking regular activity you should see a benefit from it too.

    cooking - see above re needing to be active so can offset any indulgent treats.

  • +17

    Learn to play an instrument, a new language or volunteer

    • Volunteering can be good fun and it's social.

      If you like boats, Volunteer Marine Rescue (like the Coast Guard) is really fun. If you get onto a Crew with people in a similar age group or personality, you get to [learn to] drive boats around and rescue people.

      Of course if there's no large body of water near you, you're SOL.

  • +6

    reading is cheap. You can get the books from the library, free! :P
    And watching TV or movies

  • +16

    "I buy cheap wine and if its super nasty i cut it with softdrink. "


    In that case you want to do things that are free, try walking or body-weight workouts that way you wont have to fork out for the gym. Otherwise, have a look though this list.

    • +12

      Disheartened it took 10 hours for someone to mention how terrible an idea cutting wine with soft drink is……..

  • +7

    Go walking…lots to see when you get out and about…get some Vit D…also, with your earplugs in situ, get some music therapy…
    Go geocaching, never know what you'll find and good fun planting your own treasures for others to find :)

    • +2

      +1 for geocaching. Though it can become expensive if you get really addicted :)

      • This is a great idea, I did it with the geocaching app for ages. No need for a standalone GPS in this day and age of smartphones.

  • +25

    Competitive ironing

    • +3

      when you win you become the Iron Man ( Or Woman)

  • +5

    travelling locally, camping, bushwalking etc?

    • yeah i started off buying expensive quality camping/bush walking gear, but they have lasted me 10+ years and trips have been almost free (besides food and petrol) since then with many many wonderful experiences

  • +12

    If you like a drink, try homebbrewing beer or should i say custom making craft ale if that will keep the nay-sayers quiet.

    With a bit of practice you will be able to produce a beer better than than store bought at a fraction of the price

    Also walking the national parks are nice and you can take a camera