Affordable Hobbies for College Students: How to Have Fun Without Going Broke

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It's no secret that college comes with a pretty hefty price tag, and oftentimes, this doesn't leave much extra money for fun. In this post, we'll explore some affordable yet worthwhile hobbies for college students that won't break the bank.

Budget-Friendly College Hobbies

As a college student, you might be wondering, ''What can I possibly do for fun that won't end up costing me an arm and a leg?'' Thankfully, there are several hobbies - beyond the typical going out with friends or joining college clubs - that are not only budget-friendly, but also enjoyable. Keep reading for more details.

1. Get Moving!

We know that physical activity is good for our bodies, but it may be especially beneficial for college students. In fact, according to one meta-analysis of several other studies, roughly 2/3 of college students experience weight gain during their freshman year of college. So, what does this have to do with affordable college hobbies? A lot, actually!

The fact is that most forms of physical activity are relatively cheap - some are even free! Take jogging, for example: all you really need are some decent athletic shoes, and you're good to go. Biking is also affordable, especially if you already own a bicycle. If not, look for one that's reasonably priced, or even a used one.

You might want to consider asking a few of your friends or acquaintances if they'd like to join you for weekly or twice-weekly sessions to make things more fun and/or competitive. Here are some other budget-friendly physical activities to consider while you're in college:

  • slacklining
  • swimming
  • walking
  • yoga
  • basketball
  • disc golf
  • rollerblading

slackline

2. Geocaching

Another affordable and exciting hobby that may interest you while you're in college is geocaching. It's like a real-life treasure hunt, and you never know what you might discover! All you need is a GPS device, or one that is equipped with GPS such as a mobile phone, and a free membership to the geocaching community, for which there's even an app. Once you're a member, you can enter your location, and a list of nearby geocaches will display.

Okay, but what's a geocache? It's a container that may be filled with any number of different items, depending on the type of geocache and the person who created it. All geocaches contain a logbook that allows each finder to log his or her discovery. Items in a geocache can be removed, but only if things of equal value are left in their place. You can also take it upon yourself to create and hide new geocaches for others to discover.

geocache

3. Blogging

Do you happen to enjoy expressing yourself through writing, or do you have a particular area of interest or expertise that you'd like to share with your college peers and the world? If you answered ''yes'' to either question, you may want to consider starting your own blog, which is essentially just a website. And luckily, it only takes a small amount of money to get up and running.

Basic steps to starting a blog include deciding on a blogging platform (WordPress is very popular), choosing and registering a domain name (website address), and purchasing web hosting services (so your website is accessible to others). GoDaddy is a very popular, useful website that provides you with all the tools and literally walks you through the whole blog creation process. Once you become more experienced, you can even make money via your blog through affiliate advertising. Basically, this is where you advertise and promote products on your blog and earn money every time someone purchases them.

blogger

4. Cooking

It's easy to understand why many busy college students turn to quick meal options, such as that new triple deluxe burger at the local fast food joint. However, continuously eating these types of meals can really start to hurt your wallet - and your waistline. Instead of running through the drive-thru on your way home from class, why not pick up some groceries and learn how to prepare your own nutritious meals instead?

At first, it might seem like you're spending more money, but once you build up your supply of food staples, you can actually eat for less than what it costs to eat out at restaurants over and over - especially if you purchase items that are on sale. Plus, by learning how to cook, you're gaining some valuable life skills. College Recipes offers a good selection of college-friendly recipes and cooking tips that can help you get started.

cooking

5. Board Gaming

Who says board games are only for kids? Not anymore! Nowadays, there are tons of fun adult-themed games that you and your college buddies are sure to enjoy.

You can make board gaming a hobby by organizing a weekly game night for you and a small group of your friends and using your new cooking skills to make them a ''wow'' meal. If each friend purchases a game or two, your group will have a good assortment that is sure to keep the entertainment level up. And the best part? Board games are relatively cheap investments that keep on giving!

By Erin Riskey
September 2017
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