16 Cheap Hobbies Retirees Should Totally Get Into

You don’t have to spend lots of money to enjoy your hobbies or find new ones when you retire.

senior couple working in garden together
Updated June 6, 2024
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Retirement means you have more time to pursue hobbies or try new things.

It may be exciting to consider picking up new hobbies, but it can also be daunting if those hobbies have a high price tag and you’re on a fixed income or retired early.

There are still plenty of options you can try on a fixed income so check out these cheap hobbies to see if at least one works for you.

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Walking

Lumos sp/Adobe senior couple walking in outdoor park

Set new goals for yourself to get exercise throughout the day with a practically free hobby.

You can walk around your neighborhood or drive to nearby hiking trails that are easy and fun to use to get some exercise.

The only expense you may have to consider is the cost of walking shoes to help you on your walks (and a little bit of gas if you drive to a walking location).

Genealogy

Ellionn/Adobe old picture of woman past concept

It can be fun to discover more about where you came from and your ancestors, and there are even free options to try.

Family Search, for example, lets you put your family tree together and research records for free to help you understand your history better.

Visit museums

Postproduction/Adobe multigenerational family visiting WWII museum

Museums can be a great way to explore and learn new things, but they can also get pricey.

The good news is some museums are free or may have senior discounts to make them more affordable for seniors. You can also check on free nights your local museum may have for guests.

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Drawing

DC Studio/Adobe senior man attending art workshop

Take on some artistic endeavors by trying to draw. You can watch videos on YouTube to get some of the basics, and a good sketch pad and pencils can get you far as you try new techniques.

Volunteer

sirisakboakaew/Adobe retirees helping to build community center

You may be surprised by how many volunteer opportunities fit your specific interests.

You can volunteer at the local animal shelter, help out at a nearby hospital, or get involved with local civics at city hall or the library.

Knit or crochet

Marko Domka/Adobe woman knitting using wool and needles

Knitting and crocheting can be as affordable or as expensive as you want it to be depending on the types of yarn you buy or tools you want to use.

Major craft stores are stocked with affordable yarn, needles, and hooks. You can watch tutorials online or get books at the library to learn how it works.

Cooking

StratfordProductions/Adobe senior couple making breakfast together

Retirement means you have more time to cook including reviewing recipes, buying groceries, and picking up affordable kitchen utensils.

Ingredients can get pricey, but you can also save money by cooking at home instead of always dining out.

Jigsaw puzzles

MNStudio/Adobe Senior couple playing puzzles at home

Jigsaw puzzles saw a resurgence in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and can still be a great option to spend some time.

You can buy used jigsaw puzzles for an affordable price, start a jigsaw puzzle swap in your community, or see if your library has a selection of jigsaw puzzles you can check out for free.

Exercise at the gym

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe senior people doing exercises in gym

Stay in shape as you get older by going to the gym.

It may not be as expensive as you think with some gyms offering senior discounts. Other programs offer free gym memberships such as SilverSneakers through Medicare.

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Read

bnenin/Adobe handsome senior man reading book outdoors

Reading can get pricey if you like to visit bookstores to buy new books, but there are some free or cheap options to try.

Check out the local library and get a library card that gives you free access to books. You may also find a used bookstore nearby that can sell you copies of books for a deeply discounted rate.

Scrapbooking

Jeanne McRight/Adobe Happy senior couple making scrapbook

Scrapbooking allows you to create different projects with colored paper, stickers, and more for cards or to make a scrapbook or photo album.

You can find affordable options for card stock and different embellishments to help you create unique projects for yourself or to gift to someone else.

Word puzzles

Richard Johnson/Adobe senior woman doing crossword puzzle

Word puzzles are a great way to test your knowledge and learn new words even after you’ve retired.

You can play online word games like Wordle or Spelling Bee on the New York Times website or you can pick up books with word puzzles that you can do with a pencil or pen including crossword books.

Taking classes

Yulia Furman/Adobe seniors learning to use computers

You can continue to learn as you get older, so don’t be afraid to go back into a classroom.

Community colleges may have free classes for all students including seniors, or you can check with your local university or college to see if it allows seniors to take classes for free or at a discount through a lifelong education program.

Blogging

pikselstock/Adobe senior couple using laptop at home

Blogging is a great hobby that can also be nearly free when you retire.

Perhaps you want to share your knowledge of a specific topic with people or maybe you want to write about what you’re experiencing now that you’ve retired. Setting up a blog can be easy and nearly free while you pursue your writing hobby.

Bird watching

Daisy Daisy/Adobe mature couple walking Countryside together

Bird watching is a great way to get out and explore nature while also learning about birds that may live near you.

You can also spend some money for a good bird feeder and seed to place in your backyard and have the birds come to you.

Gardening

Rido/Adobe Senior couple planting together

Gardening can be a rewarding hobby that can get you outside and also help you save money.

You can plant flowers and plants to beautify your space or start a herb or vegetable garden and grow your own food to save money on groceries.

Bottom line

Flamingo Images/Adobe Senior man preparing to play golf

Hobbies are a great way to spend time when you retire early or want something to add to your retirement routine.

Revisit your retirement budget to make sure you include costs for your hobbies or save your hobby money for something else if you find ways to do your hobbies cheaply or at no cost.

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Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.