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Old 05-13-2019, 01:09 PM
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Please Help Me Find A Hobby, Preferably A Cheap And Productive One


I desperately need a hobby. All I do is work, do household chores, watch TV and smoke pot. This is not living my best life.

I'd like something that won't require much up-front investment (or indeed ongoing investment), and I'd prefer something that has a tangible result. Playing video games is a hobby, but after eight hours of playing video games... I've played video games for eight hours. Whereas if I took up, say, painting, after eight hours of painting I'd have a (partially- or fully-) completed work -- or a "tangible result," as I describe it in my thread title.

Learning an instrument is out; don't have the money to buy the instrument or pay for lessons. Gardening is out, too; my thumb is painfully brown. I also have no talent for art (painting, drawing, etc.) at all. And no modeling; tried it once as a teenager and after a few hours I was ready to throw the damn plane through the window.

One thing I've thought of is calligraphy. A starter kit, complete with a book, can be had for about $15. Another thing I've thought about is perhaps building an oven out of scrounged bricks (I know where I can find hundreds) and maybe trying to make wood-fired breads.

Any other suggestions?

Last edited by HeyHomie; 05-13-2019 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:28 PM
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Are you interested in sports at all? Or maybe take up jogging or riding bikes? There are groups that meet to do that.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:36 PM
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A friend of mine was saying he recently took up cooking for pretty much this reason. He wanted something to occupy his time that would produce a tangible result. It ain't for me, but hey you're going to eat every day.
Or, maybe crochet.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:38 PM
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Do you have a smart phone? You can work on your photography skills, thatís exactly what Iím doing. YouTube has endless tutorials on how to make better photos and videos.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:51 PM
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Don't build an oven out of random bricks. They can explode when they get too hot. You need special fire bricks that are heat-resistant.

Aside from that, bread making sounds like it might be a good hobby. There are endless variations, you can cook bread in a normal oven (do you have an oven?), and if you eat bread the cost is less than zero: bread you make is going to be cheaper than the bread you'd buy instead.

A few other productive hobbies that take little to no starting capital: writing, whittling, cooking, fixing stuff (if you like to take things apart and fix them, you can find broken machines of all sorts for free, fix them, then donate them?)

You could volunteer? It doesn't make something, but it still can be quite productive.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
...... bread making sounds like it might be a good hobby. There are endless variations, you can cook bread in a normal oven (do you have an oven?), and if you eat bread the cost is less than zero: bread you make is going to be cheaper than the bread you'd buy instead......
Exactly what I was going to suggest. I make my own sourdough, Mrs Trep makes soda bread. Cut food costs and show off to your friends.

j
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:19 PM
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If you have room, you might start a garden. Not very expensive, and you get great food as a result.
I have some links to paper modeling, which might be more fun than plastic modeling, if you are interested. The plans are free on line and all you need is paper and a printer. It looks easier than model kids.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:22 PM
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Is there something like a Men's Shed near you? That specific organisation doesn't appear to have any branches in Missouri but maybe their list is out of date or there's a similar organisation near you.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:29 PM
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Don't start baking homemade bread unless you are prepared to gain some weight. Been there done that.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:31 PM
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Dumpster Diving. Fun adrenaline rush. Free. Find cool stuff that doesn't need to be in a dumpster. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Fun for all!
Make sure there are no 'no trespassing signs' or city ordinance banning trash picking. It's addictive, beware.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 05-13-2019 at 04:31 PM.
  #11  
Old 05-13-2019, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
Do you have a smart phone? You can work on your photography skills, thatís exactly what Iím doing. YouTube has endless tutorials on how to make better photos and videos.
^This.

Once you have a digital camera, even one on a smart phone, all you need is time -- both to find subjects to shoot, and to develop your 'eye'.

I've decided to dig out my 35mm SLR collection and shoot with all of the cameras. I'll start a thread on it sometime. Shooting on film is more expensive than using the digital camera on your phone, but it's not that expensive. Since everyone shoots digitally now, you can get 35mm SLRs cheap. Like $40 to $80 for a Nikon FE that figures the exposure for you, while allowing you a manual mode so you can take pictures old-school. Or you can start out manual on a Pentax K1000 or an Olympus OM-1. (The Pentax is cheaper, the Olympus is better.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Learning an instrument is out; don't have the money to buy the instrument or pay for lessons.
Harmonicas are cheap, and you can pick out tunes pretty much immediately. I desperately want to learn to play well, but my time is limited. Nevertheless, I'll sometimes play on my long commutes. You can get a Hohner Blues Band for seven bucks. I have several of them. (I keep them in the cars, just in case; and I have others elsewhere.) I've found that while the Blues Band leaks (as do all of the Chinese-made Hohners), it's actually playable. If you think you might want to keep playing though, I'd recommend a German-made Hohner Special 20. It's $32 in the link, but it's a much better instrument (and easier to play than the Blues Band). $32 is pretty cheap for a hobby, and you can take it with you anywhere.
  #12  
Old 05-13-2019, 04:56 PM
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If, as your location says, you're in Viburnum, you're in the middle of a national forest. Is there a volunteer group that goes out and cleans up the recreational areas or repairs trails & such? There might be some level of restoration work somebody with a brown thumb could do.
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:03 PM
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I'm just starting to get into paracord knotting. You can make bracelets and keyrings and more practical items for camping and such. There's tons of tutorials online for some cool looking knots. Resources for cord and accessories abound, too.

And I just discovered that the Dollar Trees in our area have about ten colors of paracord in stock. It's in 25 foot lengths (for a buck!) and I figure it's plenty good enough to practice with. If this interests you and you don't have a Dollar Tree in your area or they don't carry it, give me a PM and I'll pick some up for you.

Thread crocheting is pretty inexpensive, too. In my opinion, it's easier to learn than knitting and I find patterns with charts are easier to work from than written instructions. YMMV. When my eyesight was better, I made plenty of doilies and even a tablecloth. I also belonged to a group that made hats for chemo patients with donated yarn. Crocheting with yarn is fun but can get pretty expensive if you're making clothing or something large like an afghan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
If, as your location says, you're in Viburnum, you're in the middle of a national forest. Is there a volunteer group that goes out and cleans up the recreational areas or repairs trails & such? There might be some level of restoration work somebody with a brown thumb could do.
Or look for a foraging group in your area. There's more than just mushrooms to be had, as folks in such a group can show you (and be willing to tell you what to not gather, too.) Also, it's possible to make money selling your goods to restaurants and such. You may have to purchase a forager's license. I have no idea what that would cost but they would.
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:13 PM
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Exercise can be pretty cheap. Running shoes and adjustable weight dumbbells are a good start. I'm finding out that you might not even need shoes to run.

You might think it's foolish to call exercise a hobby but once you're over the mini-trauma of shaking your body loose from its shell, it will lift your mood, energy and focus.

Meditation can also be overall pleasant once you've mindfully practiced for some hours over a few months.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 05-13-2019 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:16 PM
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I write fiction. This is not something that everybody can do well - though from what I hear about fanfiction a person doesn't have to do it well to enjoy doing it. And it's as cheap as pretty much anything. If you already have a computer with a word processor it's completely free.
  #16  
Old 05-13-2019, 06:18 PM
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My hobby is writing. I do written internet roleplays that take place in a fantasy world on IRC's SorceryNet. The tangible result is expanding the world for everyone else, and having a great many logs to look back upon with fondness.
  #17  
Old 05-13-2019, 06:23 PM
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How are your conversational english skills?


A family member recently got started with cambly.com
People from around the world pay to practice their english skills on a Skype like video platform.
He has found it to be tremendously rewarding talking to professionals and the pay starts at around $10 US/hour.
Supposedly their support and pay practices are excellent.
  #18  
Old 05-13-2019, 06:23 PM
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Jigsaw puzzles. I've seen them in thrift stores, certainly at garage sales. If you want something permanent you can take a picture or even glue it down.
  #19  
Old 05-13-2019, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
Jigsaw puzzles. I've seen them in thrift stores, certainly at garage sales. If you want something permanent you can take a picture or even glue it down.
I thought about that as a possibility, but if I glued the puzzles I do down I'd be out of wall space. I know of thrift stores where you can get them for a buck or two.

But crossword puzzles and sudokus might be better mental exercise.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:01 PM
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If you want to write, you can write about anything. The financial markets, medieval history, or just what’s going on with your life. One of my friends graduated from college and isn’t exactly loving his job. He started writing a blog which was a more constructive use of his time than getting drunk every night.
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Last edited by dalej42; 05-13-2019 at 07:02 PM.
  #21  
Old 05-13-2019, 07:05 PM
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Learn how to code. There's a real rush figuring out how to solve a problem and see the solution immediately. It can also take up lots of time. Depending on your logical-thinking level, you can start with simple exercises like at Code.org and then see if you like that kind of thing. Of course, it could turn into a profession that's profitable if you stick with it.

And it's free (I assuming you already have a computer).
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:12 PM
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Jigsaw puzzles are great, but might not be enough of a "tangible result."

Seems like you are interested in the idea of doing something with bricks, and they are available to you. What about some landscaping/making a new patio? Setting them properly might require some expenditure though on tools and material like sand as a bed.

You rejected gardening but I urge you to reconsider. I used to think I was a brown thumb too but it can be done, and you can certainly break even with care (or lose a little, but the process is worth it). Start with some really easy hardy plants like rosemary--should grow like a weed even in Missouri. Smells great, great in food. You'll have to do a little research to figure out growing seasons and what plants work best in your area, but you already have an internet connection so no added cost! And there are probably gardening clubs in your area you can join for advice and socializing. Places like Home Depot and Lowe's and garden centers often have classes on growing various things that will also help get you started.

And if you get good, you can grow non-food plants as well.
  #23  
Old 05-13-2019, 07:19 PM
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I thought about that as a possibility, but if I glued the puzzles I do down I'd be out of wall space. I know of thrift stores where you can get them for a buck or two.
Just be sure to get different puzzles with the same cut pattern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
But crossword puzzles and sudokus might be better mental exercise.
I'm addicted to sudoku. My game is always open on my laptop.
  #24  
Old 05-13-2019, 07:21 PM
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I'll second fitness hobbies - hiking, jogging, bicycling, bodyweight exercises. All free or nearly so. Gym memberships are cheap enough ($10 a month at planet fitness) that you can take up weight lifting, too. I'm a huge proponent of the value of picking up heavy things only to put them down again. Very productive.

Sure, these may *sound* unproductive, but they're less about creating something in the world, and more about creating a better you, one rep and one run and one more gram of muscle and one less gram of fat at a time. And it's free, free! Or practically so.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I'll second fitness hobbies - hiking, jogging, bicycling, bodyweight exercises. All free or nearly so. Gym memberships are cheap enough ($10 a month at planet fitness) that you can take up weight lifting, too. I'm a huge proponent of the value of picking up heavy things only to put them down again. Very productive.

Sure, these may *sound* unproductive, but they're less about creating something in the world, and more about creating a better you, one rep and one run and one more gram of muscle and one less gram of fat at a time. And it's free, free! Or practically so.
Yeah, exercise will improve your whole day and over time, your whole life. If I remember correctly, OP has talked about possibly having BPD and smoking pot may be a form of self-medication against stress. Exercise is effective at reducing stress. You need to take it embarrassingly slow at first, keep turning it up a notch beyond your comfort zone and be ready to keep at it a few months to start seeing results.
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:45 AM
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You mention having no talent for art. I'd said the same thing about myself for years until I decided to just try sketching some things around me with a pencil, without worrying about how long it took, how realistic it was, or who was going to look at it. Within just a couple of weeks I was seriously surprised about the progress I made.

Give it a try, who knows?
  #27  
Old 05-14-2019, 04:46 AM
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Don't build an oven out of random bricks. They can explode when they get too hot. You need special fire bricks that are heat-resistant.
This. You could maybe get away with a 50s style BBQ pit with chance bricks but not a bread/beehive oven. A buddy has built two now and it isn't as cheap or easy as you would think these days. See:
https://www.post-gazette.com/life/fo...s/201809260134

I actually like the calligraphy idea. Once you get practiced and good I could see getting involved with doing some stuff for historic events/sites around you or even going into fraktur or something. I know a few people who have done things like that (from reproduction trade passes to fancy marriage certificates) and had a lot of fun at it.


And since this is where it is ------------ have you considered hookers and blow? Start small with a couple lines and some tired of ho and work your way up from there?
  #28  
Old 05-14-2019, 05:36 AM
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Any other suggestions?
Crochet or knitting. Definitely produces tangible results. I usually start people with scarves and potholders, eventually you work up to afghans, hats, socks, and sweaters. There's an outlet for donating your work to charity rather than filling up your house - everything from little hats for newborns to items for cancer patients to nests for baby birds in rescue/rehab

You can get started inexpensively, it's portable, and if you have the hand-eye coordination for video games you should be able to manage knitting or crochet.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:35 AM
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I'd suggest writing too. It's challenging enough when you're good at it, but there's also a certain crowd that fit within a range of mediocrity that seems to engender astonishing rates of output despite themselves. Maybe aim to be a part of that group.

Another option is 3D modelling/animation using the free software Blender.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:48 AM
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Juggling or magic.

Get three lacrosse balls and it will keep you busy for the rest of your life. Same with a deck of cards or several coins.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:58 AM
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Writing is a good cheap hobby. Doesn't have to be fiction -- you can write about your own experiences, your own philosophy, or anything else. Pour your brain out onto paper (or a computer screen) and see what happens.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:03 AM
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I third "exercise." You don't have to hit it hard and go out for any results (muscle gain, weight loss). Just get your body moving and try to get outside.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:05 AM
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I'll also chime in on the exercise front: Walking, hiking, bike riding, etc. All are entertaining and will improve your mood. Best benefit is you will be healthier. My family has a history of high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as diabetes. I'm 50 and have excellent cholesterol and no signs of diabetes. My BP is borderline, but has been since I was fairly young. No prescription pills for me and hopefully I can continue that for 10-20 more years.

Someone else mentioned cooking. My wife and I cook nearly everything we eat from scratch and it is all delicious. I think it also helps contribute to our low cholesterol. But, it does take more time.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:28 AM
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Hiking. Doesn't cost anything to get started. If you like it, then you can buy some trail shoes.
  #35  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:15 AM
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Well I made a delicious quick bread last night, sugar-crusted cucumber-lemon loaf, which was indescribably delicious. If I do this every night I will indeed get fat(ter), as one poster suggested.

I definitely need to up my exercise game.

I think there will be a calligraphy starter set in my future.
  #36  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
If I remember correctly, OP has talked about possibly having BPD and smoking pot may be a form of self-medication against stress.
Yes and yes.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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Also, I appreciate the heads-ups about the bricks. I well and truly had no idea that this was a thing that mattered. Could have wound up with disastrous results, that.
  #38  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:38 AM
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Coloring adult coloring books doesn’t require artistic talent, but it can be creative. Blending colors and shading to get a cool effect is a skill you can learn. If you’re looking for something relaxing that helps to manage stress, this might be a good option for you. There are many, many adult coloring blogs and YouTube tutorials if you want to check it out. You could start small with a book or two and small set of pencils, then expand your supplies over time if you want to get more pencils or try gel pens, markers or pastels.
  #39  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:43 AM
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And no modeling; tried it once as a teenager and after a few hours I was ready to throw the damn plane through the window.
I hear you. I have a cousin that is a model, all that standing around with pouty faces. Were you modeling for TWA or something?
  #40  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:22 PM
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Is there something like a Men's Shed near you? That specific organisation doesn't appear to have any branches in Missouri but maybe their list is out of date or there's a similar organisation near you.
I think the modern term for that kind of place is" maker space" (or makerspace).
  #41  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:52 PM
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I was searching on Twitter yesterday for jigsaw puzzles, and I found that. It's awsome.

Quote:
I'm addicted to sudoku. My game is always open on my laptop.
Have you tried Sudoku variants. I did this book which has five grid Sudokus each being a different variant. It was great. There are plenty of other examples.

I pointed the the Amazon smile site, which donates some of your purchase to charities, in my case Guide Dogs for the Blind.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:00 PM
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Volunteer as an EMT. It's probably the most productive hobby you can have, and once you buy your uniform, it's free! And even with the uniform, the station will often provide part of that for you and you just need to buy pants and shoes.
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