September 15, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Beat the Cold Without Burning Cash: Unique Indoor Hobbies on a Budget


Indoor Hobbies That Won't Break the Bank

Cash and bored woman split image

As winter's chill sets in, many of us huddle indoors, searching for activities that both entertain and don't break the bank.

While it's tempting to splurge on a new gadget or sign up for a premium streaming service, the reality is that there are countless engaging hobbies out there that can enrich our lives without draining our wallets.

This list highlights indoor hobbies that are not only unique and fun but also gentle on your finances.

1. Indoor Miniature Gardening

Indoor gardeningcottonbro studio, Pexels

Create a green haven indoors using small pots or even terrariums. Perfect for those who miss their outdoor gardens!

Needed purchases: Small plants, pots, soil, and decorative stones.

Approximate cost: $15-$50.

2. Homemade Candle Making
DIY Candle Making Yan Krukau, Pexels

Crafting your personalized candles, choosing scents and colors that suit your mood.

Needed purchases: Wax, wicks, fragrance oils, and molds or containers.

Approximate cost: $20-$60, but you get multiple candles!

3. Digital Art and Animation
Digital design work setupMclittleStock, Adobe Stock

Experimenting with digital design, even if you've only ever sketched with pencil and paper.

Needed purchases: Graphic tablet (optional) and software (many free versions available).

Approximate cost: $0 (with free software) to $100.

4. Puzzles
Unreasonable ruleUnsplash

Swap puzzles with friends or neighbors. It's a fresh challenge without constantly buying new ones. Once you've completed a challenging puzzle, consider preserving it by using puzzle conserver or mounting it on a foam board as a unique piece of wall art. 

Needed purchases: Initial puzzle. After that, it's all about swapping!

Approximate cost: $10-$25.

5. DIY Cosmetics and Bath Bombs
DIY bath bombsMarta Dzedyshko, Pexels

Crafting personal care items tailored to your preferences.

Needed purchases: Basic ingredients like essential oils, shea butter, or citric acid.

Approximate cost: $20-$50.

6. Learn a New Instrument (Digitally)
Man is seating on the floor and playing a guitar.MART PRODUCTION, Pexels

Picking up a new instrument, with online tutorials as your guide.

Needed purchases: The instrument of choice—consider less common ones like the ukulele or kalimba.

Approximate cost: $30-$100.

7. Origami or Paper Mâché
two-bird-origami-papers

Transforming paper into intricate designs or sculptures.

Needed purchases: Paper, and perhaps glue or wire frames.

Approximate cost: $5-$20.

8. Indoor Photography Challenges
Indoor photography hobbycottonbro studio, Pexels

Exploring photography using indoor themes: macro shots, portraits, or even abstract photography using household items.

Needed purchases: A camera or a smartphone with a decent camera.

Approximate cost: $0 if you already have a phone or camera.

9. Culinary Adventures from Around the Globe
Glitch in the matrixPexels

Each week, try crafting a dish from a different country. It's a tasty adventure without leaving your kitchen.

Needed purchases: Ingredients for your chosen dish.

Approximate cost: $10-$50, depending on the dish.

10. Mystery and Escape Room Board Games
Treat yourselfUnsplash

Engage your detective skills with mystery-themed board games or DIY escape rooms.

Needed purchases: The board game or escape room kit.

Approximate cost: $20-$50.

11. Calligraphy and Hand Lettering
Charlemagne FactsShutterstock

Dive into the world of beautiful writing and typography. Turn quotes, phrases, or names into personalized artwork.

Needed purchases: Calligraphy pens, ink, and special paper.

Approximate cost: $15-$40.

12. Podcast or Audiobook Club
The Handmaid's Tale FactsShutterstock

Think of it as a book club but for podcasts or audiobooks. Discover new series or books and discuss episodes or chapters with friends online.

Needed purchases: A streaming service subscription (though many podcasts are free).

Approximate cost: $0-$15 per month.

13. Indoor Pottery or Clay Sculpting
Revenge On An ExUnsplash

Explore your tactile creativity by molding and shaping clay into functional or decorative pieces.

Needed purchases: Air-dry clay (for beginners) or pottery clay, sculpting tools.

Approximate cost: $20-$60.

14. Homemade Soap or Perfume Crafting
Soap making hobbyAnna Shvets, Pexels

Combine scents and ingredients to make personalized soaps or perfumes.

Needed purchases: Essential oils, soap base or alcohol base, and molds.

Approximate cost: $25-$60.

15. Memory Scrapbooking or Digital Photo Editing
Scrapbook in progresscharan sai, Pexels

Collect memories by arranging photos, tickets, and more in scrapbooks or digitally enhancing old photographs.

Needed purchases: Scrapbooking supplies or photo editing software.

Approximate cost: $10-$50.

A Fuller Life and a Fuller Wallet

Man in white and grey shirt is holding money in hands.Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

Investing your time in a hobby doesn't have to translate to a dip in your savings. The indoor activities listed above offer a multitude of creative, entertaining, and, importantly, cost-effective ways to spend the colder months.

As you embark on these pursuits, remember: the value isn't just in the end product or the skills acquired, but in the money smartly saved along the way. Embrace these budget-friendly pastimes and enjoy the dual satisfaction of a fuller life and a fuller wallet.


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