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42 Inexpensive Hobbies for Retirees

Table of Contents
Arts and Crafts       Outdoor Activities     Music and Dance Reading and Writing Cooking and Baking Engaging Retirement Awaits

The golden years of retirement usher in a world of possibilities, opening up ample opportunities to delve into a myriad of activities and pursuits. When the question, “Can you name a hobby people take up when they retire?” arises, the answers are as varied as they are delightful. This stage of life is the perfect time to explore great hobbies and rediscover passions that might have been put on the back burner amid the hustle and bustle of career and family life.

Retirement grants the gift of time, a luxury that allows one to freely explore interests, staying active, and learning new skills. It’s a time to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships through shared interests and common goals. The pursuit of a cheap hobby can enrich life in this wonderful chapter, infusing each day with joy and purpose.

Whether you are a retiree looking to fill your free time with exciting new adventures or someone soon-to-be-retired, planning your leisure activities ahead of time, this guide is for you! From the soothing strokes of a paintbrush to the invigorating steps of a dance, the activities listed in this blog offer a myriad of ways to enhance your lifestyle without breaking the bank. So, dive in, explore, and embrace the vibrant array of hobbies that await your exploration in retirement!

Arts and Crafts


Exploring artistic pursuits can be one of the most rewarding pastimes. Plus, you can access free lessons for basically anything online, so startup costs are cheap—even if you’re a total novice. 

Drawing: All you need is paper and pencil, which you probably already have in your house. You can even buy “drawing quality” materials for well under $20. 

Painting: Paints and brushes are a bit more expensive than pencils, but you can still get starter kits of paints, brushes, canvas, and even an easel for under $40. 

Crocheting: Yarn and a crochet hook are all you need, and you can get those for well under $10. 

Knitting: Similar to crocheting, beginner’s kits are available for approximately $20.

Sculpting: For under $30 you can purchase more sculpting clay than you’ll ever be able to use. 

Calligraphy: Starter kits are available for around $20, offering a beautiful and meditative hobby.

Quilting: Basic supplies and fabric can begin at around $30; it’s a cozy and rewarding pastime.

Origami: A pack of 500 sheets of origami paper won’t run you more than $20. 

Photography: If you already have a smartphone, this one’s free. Plus there are free online photo editing programs if you’re so inclined. 

Scrapbooking: Preserving memories creatively; initial costs for basic supplies are around $20.

Sewing: If you’ve got time on your hands, hand-sewing is incredibly inexpensive. You could probably even find a used sewing machine for fairly cheap if you wanted to do some more complex projects (or just save time). 

Mosaics: Using broken tiles or glass, start-up costs for adhesives and bases can be around $20.

Candle Making: An enormous bag of wax and wicks won’t cost more than $40. Then you can peruse thrift stores for cute mugs and glasses to transform into candles.

Embroidery: Kits with all needed materials start around $10, providing a relaxing and decorative hobby.

Outdoor Activitiesoutdoor hobbies for retirees


Older adults need to get out and exercise too. Here’s a list of great outdoor activities that will get you some fresh air. 

Gardening: If you have suitable outdoor space, gardening can be free. Lots of communities have online platforms where folks give away free plants. Even if you have to buy some, seeds are super cheap. 

Bird Watching: Whether you want to set up a feeder in your yard or visit ornithological sites with binoculars, startup costs for this hobby are well under $30. 

Hiking: If you have a pair of decent shoes and some gas money, hiking is totally free! Plus you can merge this with your bird watching hobby if you’re so inclined. 

Fishing: If sitting by some water and enjoying the sunshine sounds like your idea of a good time, try fishing! A basic rod with lures and line won’t cost you more than $40. 

Cycling: You can probably get a used bike for free if you like. Riding around the neighborhood is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the weather. 

Geocaching: If you haven’t heard of geocaching, it’s basically a mix of hiking and treasure hunting. Follow clues to locations where you can leave notes or trinkets for others to find. And it’s free!

Star Gazing: Just in case you didn’t get enough of gazing into the night sky and contemplating your insignificance in college. 

Beachcombing: If you live near a beach, walking up and down the sand looking for buried treasure can be quite fun. A metal detector could run you upwards of $80 though.

Flying Kites: You don’t have to be a rambunctious 5 year old to fly a kite. You can get one for well under $20 too. 

(Outdoor) Yoga: If you’re looking for fun hobbies that help with hand eye coordination, yoga is a great choice. You can find free videos online, or join a gym. 

Foraging: Even in cities, you can forage for edible plants to bring home and cook (just stay away from mushrooms unless you’re an actual expert). 

musical hobbies for retireesMusic and Dance

Play/Learn Piano: Learning to play a musical instrument is one of the most rewarding activities you could do. Plus, you can get an actual piano for free on the internet if you know a few strong people to help you move it. (Or just buy a keyboard—the one-time cost will more than pay for itself in time.

Go Dancing: Most communities have plenty of opportunities to take free lessons in every kind of dancing from salsa to swing to ballroom. Or just put some music on at home and have a blast!

Go to Concerts: If you can’t play an instrument, why not watch pros do it? Most places have at least a few free concerts every year. Depending on where you live, you might be able to attend live music for free every night of the week!

Reading and Writing

Read: Once you’ve retired, you’ll have plenty of time to finally tackle that reading list you’ve been procrastinating since college. And, best part, books are super cheap!

Blog: If you’ve got opinions you just have to share, consider blogging. It’s free to start and you could even become internet famous!

Journal: If you have thoughts but they’re a bit more private, a journal is maybe the way to go. You could go old school (pen and paper) or type on a computer. 

Write Creatively: If your mind lives in a world of fiction, consider writing short stories or poems. It’s a great way to engage the mind and will test your problem solving skills too. 

Join a Book Club: Discuss and explore books with like-minded individuals. It’s usually free, especially if books are borrowed from the local library.

Write Letters: Everyone loves getting mail! (When it’s not junk, anyways…) Corresponding via letters is a great way to stay in touch with old friends. 

Learn a New Language: Pick up a new language using free resources like Duolingo or library books. It’s a practical way to keep your mind activated.

Cooking and Baking

Bake Bread: Spend quality time creating delicious bread. A few dollars for ingredients like flour and yeast will get you started.

Cook New Recipes: Explore various cuisines and enjoy spending time in the kitchen. The cost of ingredients varies, but creativity is free!

Making Preserves: A wonderful way to spend time and share the fruit of your labor with family members. Initial costs include jars and fruit, both of which are fairly inexpensive.

BrewBeer: A fun and rewarding hobby. Startup costs around $100 for basic equipment, but the ingredients you’ll use up each time are quite cheap. Plus it’ll be a big hit with younger generations.

Cake Decorating: Enhance your baking and spend time creating edible art. Initial costs include decorating tools and ingredients.

Make Chocolate: Spend enjoyable time creating sweet treats. A basic starter kit can cost around $20.

Pickling: A tangy hobby with minimal startup costs, mostly jars and produce. It’s great for sharing with family members.

Each of these hobbies not only allows retirees to effectively utilize their free time but also provides opportunities to bond with family members and pass on skills and knowledge to the younger generations.

Engaging Retirement Awaits

Choosing the right retirement hobbies can lead to a more fulfilling and joyful life, allowing retirees to explore passions they may not have had time for while working. From video gaming to martial arts, there’s no limit to the exciting and diverse range of activities available. These hobbies can not only help in building stronger connections with friends and family but can also offer substantial benefits to mental and physical health.

Maintaining an active lifestyle through hobbies can help regulate blood pressure and improve overall well-being. It’s important to find something that not only resonates with one’s interests but also contributes to a sense of accomplishment and happiness. Whether it’s diving into the world of video gaming, practicing martial arts, or indulging in more serene and reflective activities, the possibilities are endless.

Exploring new hobbies in retirement is a journey of discovering untapped potentials and talents, and it’s never too late to learn something new or to become proficient in a new skill. So, delve in, enjoy, and maybe even find a new passion in the world of retirement hobbies!


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