So you want to find new hobbies for women in their 30’s? Preferably ones without too much initial spending upfront? You’ve come to the right place.
When doing research for this post a lot of seemingly random things came up as cool hobbies for women which I questioned. Is Budgeting really a hobby? “Becoming a Landlord”!? A HOBBY!? Nooooo, I scoffed. I also snorted when reading that “Keeping up with Current Events” was considered a hobby. I nearly shot water out of my nose when I saw “Binge Watching a Show” listed as a hobby. Weren’t these just things that people did? Surely this wasn’t right.
What is a hobby?
So I did what any self-respecting nerd would do. I searched for the definition of “hobby” and here was what I got:
an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.
“her hobbies are reading and gardening”
a small horse or pony.
Huh, who’da thunk it!? So basically anything that isn’t your job and that you enjoy is a hobby. Or you know, it’s a tiny horse.
Still, I don’t really buy-in to the general definition of common hobbies. I am a little hobby snobby if you will. Personally I believe that great hobbies should leave you with something tangible. Either a cool shiny, possibly slightly wonky, new thing that you made with your own hands. Having physically stretched your mind or body. Or having learned something new and grown as a person. Even something as simple as knowing that you did something that was nourishing and good for you.
I also believe that the best creative hobbies should be ongoing. Made up of lots of events or projects with each one building on the knowledge or experience of the last.
Yeah, like I said, hobby snobby! Mostly I just believe that people should have hobbies. Whether they are creative hobbies, art hobbies, craft hobbies, indoor hobbies, outdoor hobbies to me all hobbies are awesome hobbies. Possibly because of my snobby beliefs, I can really see the benefits that fun new hobbies can provide to you.
Hobbies for Women in their 30’s
The problem is that there are a lot of expensive hobbies. Also how will you know if you like a hobby without spending a ridiculous amount of money first? I have compiled a list of budget hobbies that you can start with a very small outlay of cash, so let’s get straight to them…
It couldn’t be easier to get started with one of my favourite hobbies. There’s a plethora of tutorial videos on YouTube and a veritable feast of free patterns posted all over the web.
I love crafting hobbies as they end with something pretty that you made with your own hands! Wool hobbies have a bad rep for being something older ladies do but this isn’t fair. It is one of the best hobbies for women (and men) to pick up.
You get to learn a new skill and creating lots of lumpy scarves to torture relatives with. Knitting has huge physical and mental benefits including slowing the onset of dementia, combatting depression and distracting from chronic pain. This isn’t just me shooting the breeze here, that was lifted from a report from “Knit for Peace”. A Harvard Medical School study from 2007 evidenced that Knitting lowered peoples heart rates on a similar level as yoga. Beneficial hobbies, eat your heart out.
Convinced? You just need a ball of wool and either knitting needles ¦ US Link to Knitting Needles or a crochet hook. Amazon has really cheap sets of Crochet hooks ¦ US Crochet Hooksand individual pairs of knitting needles. Alternatively, you can get a set of bamboo needles ¦ US Bamboo Knitting Needles in various sizes or an inexpensive set of circular needles ¦ US Circular Knitting Needles.
Wool can be picked up from places like Poundland here in the UK. I also love Wool Warehouse who sell complete Wool bundles to make Attic 24 patterns. In the US, you can get little starter wool bundles like this one including pompom makers and ebooks for beginners. I believe in Dollartree you can sometimes get yarn for a $1 too.
One other option is to check out the magazine section. Knitting and crochet magazines often provide starter kits with a small amount of wool and a hook or needle included. This might be a tiny bit more expensive than sourcing the items yourself. But they generally include everything you need to get started from wool to needles and a pattern. So they take some of the guesswork out getting started and hold your hand the whole way through.
YouTube is an absolute gold mine in terms of resources for learning to knit or crochet.
My favourite crochet channel is: “How to Crochet with The Crochet Crowd”. They do stitch along videos which are fun to follow, or a godsend when you are struggling with a pattern. Which is how I found the channel in the first place. Fluffy Meringue Blanket I am looking at you and all your Picots!!!! Mikey is definitely worth checking out if you are a visual learner.
If that wasn’t enough Mikey even has a lefthanded Crochet channel so all you lefties can get going too!
There’s a knitting channel called The Knit Crowd and it has all the same benefits of his crochet channels.
I’m clearly a Mikey fan but there are hundreds of other options for learning knit or crochet on youtube so look and find one you like.
In terms of patterns, you cannot go wrong if you head over to Ravelry. They have curated patterns from all over the internet and they have a fantastic search function. You can search by gender, age, paid or not, craft, item, fit, yarn weight and lots of other things. You have the ability to save things to your library and search just within it. Trust me, it is awesome! Go check it out.
Let go and make cool (and uncool) shit with wool with one of the most amazing hobbies you could find!
Looking for completely free hobbies? Then look no further. Geocaching is essentially a giant, free, treasure hunt, so what is not to like!? You only need to have a GPS enabled phone. Essentially you use a free app to locate a “cache”. Once found there will be a minimum of a logbook to note that you found that bad boy. You can also choose to share your stories and photos online in the community if that floats your boat.
Bigger caches often have small items included in them. The rule is that if you take something, place something of equal or greater value in the cache. Anything you leave in a cache should be protected from the elements. So you should go prepared if you want to switch items. Oh, and you shouldn’t move a cache from where you find it. That’s about it for the general rules, I believe.
That’s geocaching in a mini nutshell however there are also other elements to it. There are things called Trackables which come in 3 varieties:
- Travel Bug – This is a Trackable Tag which can be called a “Hitchhiker”. Bugs have goals set by their owner which are generally travel-related. Eg. travelling to all the states in the US or travelling along a coastline. They move with the help of geocachers.
- Geocoins – Customisable coins created by individual or groups of geocachers which are left as a sort of calling card. They are the same as Travel Bugs in that they should be moved to another geocache unless otherwise specified.
- Other Trackable Items – These could be keyrings, patches or anything else. A trackable will have a unique identification code and a note highlighting that it is a trackable at geocaching.com
The geocaching website has a pretty extensive Geocaching Getting Started Guide
The only other drawback to this potential hobby is if you live somewhere rural, there may not be many caches. You could raise the flag in your area and start hiding caches yourself.
Otherwise, this is really positive and one of the cheapest hobbies to try out. It’s free, gets you off your butt and out into the community or nature. It has plenty of positives to make it worth trying out.
Although it doesn’t seem like it, Geocaching can be grouped with other collecting hobbies. As the aim, presumably, is to find as many caches as possible. I have actually downloaded the app and plan on giving it a go.
I think writing is one of the coolest hobbies. People say they want to write a lot but never actually get started with it? Why? It’s kind of scary. Beyond all those moot concerns about whether what you write is “good” or not. In a subjective world, who decides what is good, oh yeah… the people who read it. But what if no one reads it, does that mean it’s not good? Plus who are you to try to write a novel or express an opinion? You are just a nobody so no one will ever read anything you have to say….
I could go on with this diatribe of negativity for a while. Trust me, I’ve thought of every excuse and reason not to write, but in the end, my desire won out. I started because my opinion matters and yours matters too.
Plus J K Rowling was a nobody once too and now look at her. Who says that the story you have had floating round in your head isn’t an awesome bestseller. You’re just you, but you are damned important.
Honestly, though, you might suck a little to start, I certainly did. Do!? I’m still learning and will be forever.
The thing with any new skill, you have to learn what you are doing first and learning rarely looks good. Even people with natural talent have to learn. They don’t just pick up a pen and become Stephen King or create the Mona Lisa on their first canvas. Everybody sucks in the beginning and that’s alright. Please, please, please stop letting your own perfectionism stop you from starting. The world wants to hear them, you just have to let them out.
The best bit? The more you write, the better you will get and the more you will enjoy it. It is a thoroughly rewarding pastime. Also, it only gets better the more you do it, and therefore it ticks all my hobby snobby boxes.
As a bit of an add on, just the simple act of writing in a journal is massively beneficial and can be classed as a fun creative hobby!
Learn a new Language
I left this one kind of vague because there are two types of languages I am talking about here. Both of them are equally rewarding. So what am I talking about, French or German? No, I am talking about either learning a foreign language, or you could learn a programming language. Both are computer hobbies, at least initially.
With both of these options, there is a huge amount of help and free resources online. As you progress you might want to join a course or get a book. But these can be picked up relatively inexpensively.
With foreign languages, one of the best books I have read on the topic is Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner. His approach is a little unorthodox but it makes so much sense. He focuses on pronunciation first, then understanding. This way you shouldn’t sound quite so English when speaking in another language. He also goes over some basics about memory and how we learn and remember things which I found really interesting. His book is definitely worth a look. You don’t technically need it though. Gabriel’s website and TED Talk alone would be enough to get you started. There is also an app if you would rather learn on the go.
In terms of programming language, you need to first start with which language you want to learn. Really you need to answer the question about what you want to create to find this out?
Lifehacker has a guide about the top 10 ways to teach yourself to code, which is a fantastic start.
With both language options, they give you really desirable skills, especially as you progress and become proficient. For now, do it for the love of learning and to take pride in having a productive hobby.
I know, I know. Stop glaring at me. Everyone and his dog is telling you to meditate and you just don’t get it. “How is this a hobby?” you ask.
I am sure you have heard it all a thousand times. But I’ll be quick, I promise. It improves stress, helps you concentrate, increases self-awareness and acceptance. It also increases overall happiness and if all that wasn’t enough, it also slows down the ageing process. So it’s one of the best healthy hobbies as it gives you an increased sense of wellbeing.
The problem is you don’t know how and when you try it seems silly? Yeah, I have been there. Unless I do a guided meditation with an app such as Headspace, I find meditating so hard.
Do you know what made it a little easier? Lowering my expectations. Someone once said to me that they were told that at its root meditation was just not doing anything. So if she couldn’t manage anything else, just sit and do nothing. Eventually, she started to get it, but at first, sometimes she just fell asleep. It is a form of doing nothing, after all.
Although whatever you do, please, start small. If you force yourself to jump into 30 minutes of meditation, you will be crawling the walls quickly. Start small, adjust, get better. Start with 5 minutes first and increase it when it feels good to you. Even if all you do is sleep!
If you find it helps utilise an app that has guided meditations. As mentioned Headspace is awesome but a tad pricey. His voice, though. They do a ten-day intro for free so you can give it a go. The sessions can be 5 or 10 minutes long and always left me feeling refreshed. Another app I have had recommended to me is “10% Happier“. It has a similar pricing structure, free to sign up but then you can buy a premium subscription.
So do you think meditation might be worth a try? If you are looking for after-work hobbies to help lower your blood pressure, I think this could be a winner.
Join an Amateur Dramatics Club or Choir
Amateur Dramatics is a fantastic social hobby for people wanting to get out more and improve their confidence.
There is something kind of magically about being part of a group of people on a stage. It gets you out of your shell and you get to try new things. In terms of Am-Dram, there is something very wholesome and lacking in seriousness about the whole thing. People can take it very seriously. Yet I think it is better to approach it with a sense of lighthearted curiosity and in the spirit of enjoyment.
As for the choir… Gareth Malone has been banging on this drum for a while. If you didn’t hear the Military Wives Choir then you must have been living under a rock. I love watching the programs where he puts together and then coaches choirs. I love how passionate he is about singing and the joy and community it can bring into your life. Apparently so does everyone else as there has been a resurgence of choirs since he has been promoting them. Singing feels good and you are probably better than you think.
For information on your local AmDram or Choir groups, the best place to start is to look online. Bear in mind that as a slightly old school and traditional pastime, google might not have all the answers. Gasp! I know, it’s shocking but it does happen on occasion. Check out local bulletin boards in the community centre, church or even posters up in coffee shops.
Origami, in its literal translation, means simply “Folding Paper”. It’s a therapeutic kind of art and craft hobby. Where you learn that the possibilities really are endless when you start with a square of paper. If you are looking for slightly bizarre hobbies to impress people at parties with, then this one is for you. Especially if you move onto more obscure little paper sculptures.
Indeed, I love paper and have often dabbled a little with Origami. I’m generally been mesmerised with even my slightly wonky results. I am always slightly wonky it seems. I accept that about myself! In fact, I still own a book on Origami that I bought about it when I was 10.
You can get a book about it from the local library, check out Youtube or buying an origami book isn’t too expensive.
The only starting point is that the paper needs to be square. This can be achieved by folding the paper diagonally and cutting off the bottom as demonstrated in this video about how to make rectangle paper square.
Alternatively, you can just buy little packs of square paper.
So why would you want to make small paper sculptures? Akin to colouring, it takes you out of the future mindset allowing you to focus in the current moment. Also though there is a lot of folklore and history about the power of these little mini masterpieces.
The most commonly known is the Japanese legend. If you fold 1000 origami cranes, you will be granted one wish. Whether it’s true or not, creating something three dimensional out of flat paper gives me a bit of a buzz.
Star Gazing/Night Walking
Done officially, or properly, stargazing needs to be done with equipment, specifically a telescope. What I am talking about is in no way official or proper. I am talking about getting to know your area at a different time of day than you are used to. Taking time to take in the natural beauty of it,. Which at night often means looking up, providing you do not live in an area with too much light pollution.
I used to walk with my uncle when I was a teenager. I marvelled at how different the streets around my house felt. The quiet was at times eerie but always serene. I loved learning anew about my yard so to speak
If you do want to see more and upgrade, you can also transition via a good pair of binoculars. You don’t need to jump straight in with a telescope.
Alternatively, you might find yourself falling in love with the simple act of strolling about. Walking it is said, helps you think. A study out of Stanford showed that walking encourages creative thinking. In 2017 researchers found the impact of the foot when walking, increases the flow of blood to the brain. Impressive, huh?
Obviously there is a massive caveat on this one. Don’t be a silly sausage! You will potentially be more vulnerable at night. Do not go wandering the streets alone. Buddy up and always take appropriate safety measures. Don’t wear headphones if you do go out by yourself. No climbing mountains alone in the dark either. Obvs!
If star gazing is not sensible where you live, you could either sign up for an organised stargazing event. If you live in the UK, you can find a stargazing event pretty easily.
There are some cracking night time walking tours and events such as Ghost tours. These are especially prevalent in British cities since you know we’ve been around awhile and have plenty of ghosts… or history and a flair for the dramatic at any road. If you would rather do your own thing, the National Trust has a list of night walks. There were plenty of other suggestions after a quick poke around online.
Drawing is one of the cheapest artistic hobbies to take on. It’s creative and therapeutic at the same time. It’s portable and can be done in most places. You can draw for hours or just a couple of minutes if that is all the time you have. Plus, contrary to what you probably believe, you do not need natural talent to become really skilled.
Two things are required to become a skilled artist. First, you have to get better at looking. Then you have to learn to interpret what you see as opposed to what you think you see. That probably won’t make sense until you mess up a few times but trust me.
The second thing you need is practice. Hours with your pencil to the paper. Actually doing the thing.
Is natural talent a thing? Yes. Do you need it to get good? No.
Plus the best thing about drawing is that whilst you can spend megabucks on art supplies, you don’t have to. Start with a bog-standard pencil and some scrap paper. Even a basic beginner art sets won’t set you back more than a few quid.
I would advise that you use a sketchbook. Number the sketchbook and try to draw a little each day. Do not cross out, deface, or otherwise destroy even your most terrible attempts. And there will be terrible attempts even if you discover you have a natural talent. Even if others think they are amazing, we are, sadly, often hypercritical of our own work.
Why do I say not to do away with terrible attempts? Because by the time you have hit sketchbook number 3, or probably even way before that… You will be able to look back on your first attempts and see progress. You will be able to see tangibly that you are improving. Throw old sketches away and you lose that ability. It is very easy to feel like your progress is stagnant as you won’t be able to tell the difference. You might not remember how terrible some of your first attempts might have been.
If you want to make this a social hobby, there are lots of “Urban Sketchers” groups. Head to the Urban Sketchers website to find an official chapter near you. Alternatively, I suspect there are many unofficial groups you could find and go along to.
There are hundreds of awesome card games you can learn. No one to play with? Games like Bridge and cribbage have communities that you can join. Which turns this into a social hobby as well as a cheap one.
Cribbage is usually played in pubs and is quite a social game. Scored using a board with little pegs. It’s an absolute belter of a game. If you’ve ever heard someone declare “One for his Knob” in a pub, they were probably playing Crib. So join a pub league? Create a Meetup maybe? Or start a new league? What’s stopping you?
Bridge, as I understand it, is more formal and takes longer to learn. I have heard that it is a cracking card game and there are bridge clubs worldwide. There are also bridge events and holidays that you can attend. It has a bit of a reputation for being an old British hobby and not in a good way. I think this is because group activities like this are in themselves no longer popular. It’s definitely not something that should put you off though!
Games like these have a learning curve and I would advocate learning through a course. If you can’t afford it, there are lots of tutorials on YouTube. Also, my nearest Bridge club runs a “Friendly Friday” meet up for £3. This includes tea, biscuits and promises that you can “Enjoy Practical Lessons at the Table/s” which sounds great to me. In theory, you can learn and then get practical help to improve via an informal game night.
Are you not a joiner? I would still advocate Cards, even if just done amongst friends.
So how do you start? The Penguin Book of Card Games can be bought as a used copy for a pittance. It has a wealth of games to try out including working rules and variations. If things are still unclear, you can always jump online for clarity. The book is a fabulous start though.
Clearly I have been brought up playing games, card, board and console. I have a bit of a head start but I would say that it is one of my favourite pastimes. My only lament is that there is never enough people to play with. This would make it ideal to add to a list of cheap hobbies for couples. As you already have a head start on getting a full table!
What game would I suggest you try? My absolute favourite card game to play is actually for 2 players and is called Spite and Malice. Placebo even wrote a song about it, sort of! You should definitely check it out.
Improve Your Handwriting/Learn Calligraphy or Handlettering
Ever look at someone’s gorgeously neat or beautiful cursive handwriting and lament the state of your own chicken scrawl? Do you sometimes wonder if you secretly should have been a doctor as your handwriting is so bad? Yes? Then add this to your creative hobbies list to try.
The bonus to this cheap crafty hobby is that it can cost nothing to start. If you uncover a passion for writing then you would have to invest in some, initially cheap, writing supplies. Mostly you just need time, youtube and a desire to improve.
I was bitterly unimpressed with my handwriting when I started to journal seriously. So I put the practice time and my hard work in. It paid off when my brother asked who wrote his birthday card. When I told him it was me, he didn’t believe me. How is that for validation?
Here are a couple of hastily chosen free youtube courses to get you started:
Once you feel ready, you can take your learning further with a calligraphy or brush lettering. Brush lettering, in particular, has become really popular in recent months. There are so many courses on SkillShare and on youtube that you can take.
The best part, you don’t need expensive supplies to get started. This brush pen set can get you started.
This mini calligraphy starter kit is also enough to get you going. For an extra bit of money, the maxi set includes ink cartridges so you can hit the ground running.
Become a Pen Pal
This one could be linked to the previous suggestion. Becoming a pen pal, you practice your handwriting and learn about someone new. Letter writing is becoming a bit of a lost art and it is a shame. It’s worth the effort I promise. Plus you get some breathing space as replies take time to arrive.
Another fun cheap hobby here. All you really need is a pen, paper and envelope and the cost of a stamp. It can also double as a collator hobby too. You’d be surprised by how cool some of the stamps are from different parts of the world.
There are numerous websites dedicated to finding pen pals. As well as mini versions in various Facebook groups that I am a member of. If you are a stationery nerd like me, and then join groups to do with journaling, stationery and planning. If you do, you will find that some of them run pen pal groups as well.
In regards to websites, the three I’ve seen be most recommended are; Global Pen Friends, Interpals and Pen Pal World.
Some pals are happy to correspond via email. So there is no barrier or cost if you are not the letter-writing type. I would encourage you to put pen to paper, as sometimes magic happens. It is so much more therapeutic than typing could ever be.
I couldn’t write a post about budget hobbies without mentioning reading. Especially when I am a huge bookworm. I squeeze reading into every available bit of my day, which isn’t much. Yet I manage to get through 30 to 50 books a year, so it all adds up. This isn’t a hobby you can claim lack of time to ignore.
You can pick up cheap books from charity shops and if you have a kindle, so many books are free. I had my kindle about 5 years before I ever actually paid money for a book on it. If you are feeling flush you can now even sign up for Kindle Unlimited, which gives you books on tap for a subscription fee. Also, there are these things call libraries, they are kind of old school now but still freaking awesome.
I nearly didn’t include it on my list of fun interesting hobbies even it ticks so many amazing hobby boxes. So why did I nearly not include it? Well, because I kind of assumed that you are already doing it.
If you don’t read, why the hell not? It’s kind of a given! I would say that reading is a life necessity and not a hobby. Books are a wondrous source of joy for me. I seriously cannot even begin to imagine who I would be if I didn’t read. I feel a bit sad when someone says that they don’t read as I feel that they are missing out.
So yeah, if you don’t read, please start. Stephen King says “Books are a uniquely portable magic”. So put a little magic into your existence and turn those pages!
Bonus – Start A Side Hustle
I was in two minds as to whether to include this as a hobby. The connotation with a side hustle is that you intend to use it to earn an income. Even if it’s only a few pennies, I feel like the onus on money takes some hobby status away.
If you think about it, side hustles are actually hobby gold mines for a hobby snob like me. Why? Because they force you out of your comfort zone, to try something new and above everything else, they encourage learning.
Starting a side hustle will almost inevitably involve learning a new skill. So I decided it definitely fit the bill as a hobby, at least initially. Even if it later evolves into something much more akin to a job or a calling. But hey, that’s even more reason to give it a go now, isn’t it?
So where do you start?
Side Hustle Nation has this cool list of 99 potential side hustles to get you started.
There is also a short, snappy podcast called “Side Hustle School” featuring stories from all over the world. Of people who started out with an idea and now make decent money from it. Find it on your favourite podcast app or check out the episodes at the Side Hustle School website.
So there you have it. My list of hobbies for women, chock full of useful starter information for you to get cracking. Even if you feel totally clueless. So are there any hobbies you think you’d want to try and why? Or have I missed something awesome and frugal that I should include? Email or comment below telling me what your favourite hobby is.