Updated: Mar 30
By Julie Merrill
If you want to boost your brainpower to gain that extra edge that helps you succeed at school, work, or simply life in general, a hobby may just be the key you’re missing. Having a hobby is great for releasing stress and anxiety, but it can also improve overall cognitive function and creativity. Those living on a budget may be hesitant to jump into a new activity because of the start-up costs that come with it. However, these budget-friendly, money-saving options can feed the mind without causing you to go broke in the process.
Playing sports improves concentration, enhances leadership skills, and floods your brain with feel-good neurotransmitters. Joining an intramural league to play a fun sport means paying fees for joining, buying uniforms, and paying for after-game celebratory drinks every week. Instead of joining the pack, find pick-up games at your local park where you can compete for free. Pitch and putt golf, tennis, and ultimate Frisbee are all easy sports to learn, and groups are pretty easy to find.
Learn to Play an Instrument
Playing music improves math and reading skills, enhances memory, and can even prevent age-related mental decline. As far as brain-boosting hobbies go, it’s right at the top of the list. However, learning to play comes with many hidden costs. From lessons to travel expenses, you can spend a pretty penny on this hobby.
To save money, look for free music tutorials and lessons online. If you need to buy the instrument you want to play, look into rental options that allow you to practice while saving up for the model you want, or you can try and find a used version online via marketplaces like Craigslist.
Found Object Art
People who participate in visual arts as a hobby often end up spending hundreds on supplies at stores like Hobby Lobby. Instead of investing too much in acrylic paints and canvases, why not try found object art? This artistic style incorporates recycled materials and gives the artist some parameters that can inspire creativity. Furthermore, it is a lot cheaper than buying tons of classical art supplies.
Browse the shelves of a local thrift store and pick out an odd trinket that you can base your project around. Or, take your collection of old magazines to find interesting photos that can be incorporated into a collage. Experiment with different materials and don’t be afraid to fail — it’s so cheap, you can scrap a whole piece with a minimal loss.
Turning Your Hobby Into a Career
Our hobbies are more than just recreation for many — they’re a lifestyle that we take immense pride in. That’s why so many people are turning their hobbies into part-time or even full-time careers. For instance, people are willing to pay top dollar to ensure their precious pups have enough activity throughout the day. Dog lovers who want to get a bit more exercise while earning money on the side can do both by advertising dog-walking services to neighbors.
If you’ve never started a business before, the first thing you’ll need to look into is the types of business entities you can form. For example, you could establish a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or small corporation. We recommend that you start with an LLC since it offers so much flexibility and personal protection by separating your personal and business assets. After you’ve filed your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, the next step is to contact the IRS to get your EIN so you can open a business bank account. If your hobby deals with the sale of any goods, you’ll also need to register with the Department of Revenue before you can make your first sale.
All hobbies have the potential to boost your brainpower. In a similar vein, all hobbies take some sort of initial investment, which can be off-putting for those living on a budget. Save money while reaping the benefits of hobbies by being smart about how you pursue them. For instance, instead of joining an intramural league, find pick-up games to play your favorite sport. Or, instead of investing in classical art supplies, try your hand at found object art. You can even make money with a hobby like dog walking that combines the mental benefits of exercise with those of being around dogs. The possibilities are endless!