10 Affordable, Stress-Relieving Hobbies for College Students

Photo by Rui Dias

College can be stressful for many students and it may seem overwhelming at times. As a busy (and broke) student, you may feel there’s no time or money for hobbies. But taking up a hobby could prove beneficial, not just for your mental and physical health but for your academic performance. Although some hobbies are time consuming and/or expensive, there are plenty of affordable past-times that don’t require lots of time to master.


Unlike many exercises and sports, yoga doesn’t require tons of expensive equipment or clothing. A simple yoga mat is all you need to do the basic moves. According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga not only reduces stress but also increases flexibility, protects from injury, improves muscle tone and aids in weight reduction.

Jewelry Making

Jewelry making not only makes for a fun and creative hobby, but it can generate a side income if you choose to sell your creations. You can find a jewelry making kit for less than $40 online or at your local craft store. Take pride in giving handmade jewelry as birthday and holiday gifts for friends and family. As you become more advanced you can scout materials outside of a basic kit and make more elaborate and customized designs.


If you eat out a lot or buy pre-made meals, learning to cook can save you money and improve the quality of your diet. Many cookbooks cater to those on a budget, including college students. You don’t have to always follow cookbook recipes – try your own dishes by experimenting with ingredients.

Knitting or Crocheting

Knitting and crocheting have become increasingly popular hobbies among young people in recent years. You don’t have to stick to blankets or scarves –¬† a variety of objects can be created with yarn including decorative items. You can purchase a 73 piece crochet kit for less than $50.


Don’t dismiss puzzles as a fun and relaxing hobby. A large jigsaw puzzle can prove challenging enough to keep you interested while allowing you to unwind from a hectic day. If you don’t have a large space to do puzzles, try a roll-up puzzle mat for easy storage when you’re not working on your puzzle.

Indoor Gardening

A green thumb isn’t necessary to take up gardening. A small indoor garden is easy to manage and fun to watch grow. Whether you want to grow your own herbs or bonsai trees, you can take pride in caring for your small garden without the worry of outdoor pests and weather conditions.


Painting is a surprisingly affordable hobby. Paint sets can be found online for less than $30. You don’t have to be artistic to enjoy painting. Try an adult paint-by-numbers kit to get started. Once you’ve got a feel for painting, you can move on to creating whatever you like.

Hand Lettering or Calligraphy

Both hand lettering and calligraphy involve the art of writing but differ in a few ways. Lettering involves drawing or illustrating letters while calligraphy is the process of writing letters. For hand lettering, you don’t need a specific tool. Calligraphy generally requires certain pens and paper. Either way, writing or drawing letters can be a very relaxing and easy hobby.


Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. One can create a variety of complex sculptures from a simple sheet of paper. Learn more about origami here. An origami starter kit can be found for less than $20.


There are many options when it comes to journaling, whether it be bullet journaling or keeping a gratitude journal. Whatever option you choose, journaling is a simple daily hobby that can make a huge impact on your life. Make it more fun with different colored pens, photos and stickers.

When choosing a hobby, consider the same things you would consider when choosing a career – lifestyle, personality and interests. You want to pick a hobby you will stick with and enjoy. And with the low costs of the hobbies above, you can try out a few hobbies to see which fits you best.