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In Search Of: Cheap Hobbies

Old 07-15-21, 12:47 PM
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In Search Of: Cheap Hobbies

The thread title says it all. I'm looking back at every pastime I've ever enjoyed, and every single one comes with a heavy materialistic price tag attached to it.

I love fishing, but over the years I have wasted a small fortune on rods, reels, and tackle.

Bicycles. N+1. Need I say more?

Seems like anything that I like involves money in one form or another. How did I (we) get like this?

I suppose I could be happy scratching portraits of dead presidents into Snapple bottle caps with a sharpened nail. That would be cheap. Portable too.

Origami? Nah.

Water colors? Oils? Acrylics? BTDT. I suck at it.

Hey, I know! I could go mushroom hunting! Hmmm... what would I do in the winter...

I like to read and listen to music, but I do not regard those as hobbies. I've tried many times in my life to learn an instrument, but I've failed because I never took the initiative to get myself into a formal class of any kind.

Please discuss. Maybe something cool will pop out at me!
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Old 07-15-21, 12:52 PM
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Hiking boots are cheap.
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Old 07-15-21, 01:44 PM
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Take up vegetable gardening... the rewards are in the produce.
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Old 07-15-21, 01:47 PM
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Bird watching isn't too expensive. Pair of binocs, couple books or Cornell University's apps, and you're good to go for quite awhile. I recently discovered Cornell's app that identifies bird calls, and I find it to be pretty cool.

I've been in the expensive hobby maelstrom too. Audio? Puh-leeze. Astronomy? Not quite N+1, but it can get breathtakingly expensive. My bike hobby hasn't been too bad. Several of my bikes were gifts or barter for services rendered. I hear people who get into woodworking say it's pricey.
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Old 07-15-21, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Hiking boots are cheap.
I fully and wholeheartedly agree. Wife and I love hiking. We do trails that we can take Polly, our lab. I do try to walk with her almost every day. She is a better pup for it. She looks forward to it more than me!
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Old 07-15-21, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Take up vegetable gardening... the rewards are in the produce.
We grow all of our own herbs, and we have berry bushes on the property. Other wise, I really do not have a suitable area for any sort of tilled garden. We've been discussing the removal of some trees to make room for a garden. Again, what to do in the winter? Build a greenhouse? Love to, but again, we're looking at some significant investment.

No, I'm looking for a hobby that is relatively free and portable. This hobby should have some sort of natural progression to it, but not to the point that I'd need savant-level skills to do it. My son's mother-in-law makes clay miniatures of people, pets, animals, and buildings. She's very talented. I'd never be able to do that.

I also want to do something that is well beyond my capacity for boredom. I have a history of doing something until I master it, then move on to something different. Take custom knives for instance. I used to make a lot of knives when I had a full machine shop at home. I got pretty good at it, but I got bored with it.

Some of you have seen this pic before, but I have more if anyone is interested.

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Old 07-15-21, 02:42 PM
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Thing is, I sold off all of my machinery and knifemaking supplies. I regret it immensely, but it was step in the right direction to facilitate my wife's retirement and our downsizing efforts. Sometimes we just wind up with more material possessions than we need or want.

Speaking of which, How do we wean ourselves off of this materialistic teat we've all been accustomed to for so long? I dont want to live like a monk, but why cant I seem to enjoy the simple life? Does anyone else feel the same way?
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Old 07-15-21, 02:47 PM
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Have you thought of teaching in a community college or mentoring?
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Old 07-15-21, 02:48 PM
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Whistling?
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Old 07-15-21, 03:28 PM
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Do some volunteer work in a community non-profit! My limited, but important to me, volunteer work and support has allowed me to connect to my community in a positive way and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a difference in the lives of people and organizations in need and more importantly it can be a positive/fulfilling goal!
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Old 07-15-21, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Hiking boots are cheap.
Slightly off topic, but I once knew a US Marine who said P.T. (physical training) was free. I said something about running shoes and he said, and I quote: "Hell no! You can run P.T. butt nekkid!"
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Old 07-15-21, 03:54 PM
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Rubber power free flight model airplanes
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Old 07-15-21, 03:56 PM
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I guess I'm not the best one to give advice given my perspective. Aside from N+1 bikes I have N+1 old cars. Talk about expensive hobbies! Its good you are already hiking as that is a great pastime. Have you considered chess or other games? How about meditation or yoga?
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Old 07-15-21, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
Bird watching isn't too expensive. ....
...until you wake up one morning and find out you bought a $2,000 Pentax spotting scope.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:13 PM
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Cycling is very inexpensive as a hobby if you ride instead of buy. Been riding a long time and never found cycling an expensive hobby at all. Spend maybe 50 dollars a year on consumables.
The big issue most people have with cycling is they buy, buy, buy. Gotta have the latest and greatest. Anything touted as better, lighter, easier, etc. Keep it simple, stupid. Buy a bike and ride it for the joy of the experience. Just ride it.
I don't do group rides because talk always turns to parts, parts, parts. Such nonsense. Just ride it.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:19 PM
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No, I'm looking for a hobby that is relatively free and portable. This hobby should have some sort of natural progression to it, but not to the point that I'd need savant-level skills to do it.
...buy yourself a sketchbook, and either start with graphite pencils and gradually progress to ink, or jump right in the deep end with some various width line points black ink pens of the sort that engineers and drafters use. The best ones come with replaceable ink cartridges, but there are some pretty nice disposable ones available now, too.

You can carry it around easily, the startup costs are negligible, and no matter what anyone else tells you, you can learn to draw. And you can spend a lifetime getting better at it.

The biggest advantage is that there is no real market for contemporary drawings any more. So you won't be tempted to try making money by selling your framed originals. I once spent two weeks in Tobago, and besides hiking and birdwatching, all I did was draw.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Bicycles. N+1. Need I say more?
Please discuss. Maybe something cool will pop out at me!
Yes say more about why you can't enjoy the hobby of bicycle riding when N=1? Unless your hobby IS constantly spending money on additional bicycle stuff, endless cycle of "upgrades," and/or impressing yourself or fellow "enthusiasts" with the racing pedigree/provenance of your bicycle stuff/upgrades, I'd say you have been bamboozled.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Sometimes we just wind up with more material possessions than we need or want.

Speaking of which, How do we wean ourselves off of this materialistic teat we've all been accustomed to for so long? I dont want to live like a monk, but why cant I seem to enjoy the simple life? Does anyone else feel the same way?
New hobby: reading everything on the Mr Money Mustache website? mrmoneymustache.com

Sounds like if you really want a hobby with (almost) no cost, and no accumulation of equipment, you're limited to intellectual pursuits. Have you ever studied computer programming? Website creation? Graphic design?

I don't suppose in the wilds of NH you are near a bike-coop where you could spent time volunteering (or in a population center that could support a co-op if you started one)?

If not, I'm sure you could find some kind of volunteering opportunity. Is there a retirement home nearby that would welcome a nice person dropping into the common room to chat or play cards with residents? Ask a school nearby, do they have a tutoring program where you can help kids with their homework?

Also learning music is a great idea. What instrument are you most interested in? Or would you rather sing? Or compose? If private lessons don't fit within your conception of 'cheap' hobbies, I bet you could find a decent start-from-scratch tutorial series on utub.

Those knives are really sweet-looking. Are there knife-adjacent things you'd be interested in making that wouldn't require too much equipment? My retired dad spent a few years making laminated recurve bows, and flemish bowstrings, and making/fletching arrows, but then got bored and moved on to constructing a guitar from a kit.
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Old 07-15-21, 05:34 PM
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Coffee roasting. Ten years in here. There's no point in going back.
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Old 07-15-21, 05:37 PM
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Running. All you need is a pair of shoes and shorts.
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Old 07-15-21, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by skijor View Post
Coffee roasting. Ten years in here. There's no point in going back.
I'm not sure coffee roasting is enough to make a whole hobby, but Cooking more generally...
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Old 07-15-21, 08:46 PM
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Join an acapella choir.
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Old 07-15-21, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Rubber power free flight model airplanes
if you have the room. I did rc helicopters for a bit but I ran out of room and did not want to travel and may hands did not have the precision. haver up on models my hands just suck too much. lego but I ran out of kids they cost way too mcc hand after I am done they just sit and collect dust. Cycling is it now. about a hour commuting come home eat then hop on the tandem for a hour or two. then longer rides o the weekends.
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Old 07-15-21, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fooferdoggie View Post
if you have the room.
Pistachio scale! 8in wingspan, flies indoors
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Old 07-15-21, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Pistachio scale! 8in wingspan, flies indoors
I tried balsa planes like I used too and I kept breaking stuff. man my hands suck for anything delicate. sometimes I have lego explode putting them together.
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