5 inexpensive hobbies that pay for themselves


Computer programmer

Want to get a job in something you like? Most folks will tell you to take a class in it. Right. Like taking a class in something is the most assured way of becoming an expert in anything anywhere.

You want to learn something? Go do it. The problem? A lot of those cool careers with sweet perks will require some sort of equipment or training manuals that will soak up extraordinary amounts of money to purchase.

Did you think about the time commitment too? It’s sizeable and very inconvenient for a lot of these gigs. In fact, college courses are supposed to help you get around those cost/time commitments by providing learning tools and instruction that will, supposedly, get you ready for your chosen career. You just have to take 10-20 other courses first you don’t care about that will cost $19,999.99.

Why not just save yourself the trouble and learn a skill that you can build on your own time? How about one with a low time and cost commitment? And what if it could actually get you paid?


1. Gardening

Growing your own fruits and vegetables is not hard. Plants can be finicky on everything from the content of the soil to the size of their root system to how much sunlight and water they want. But there is a multitude of information on how to grow your own grub from websites to gardening clubs. An all-natural salad consisting of homegrown loveliness is within your grasp.

Get really good at it and you can start growing your own herbs and spices. Then you can graduate to growing enough to sell at farmer’s markets. Build and build until you can populate your own yard with enough produce to put your kids through college.

And all of this can be started in your free time with no massive time commitments.


2. Catering

You like to eat, right? Then you won’t mind learning to cook well. Chef Gordon Ramsay had a television show in the UK where he taught British prison inmates how to cook and ended up hiring three of them once they got out.  If convicts can earn jobs at premium restaurants, you can learn to cook like a seasoned professional.

Learning to cook is as easy as buying your usual amount of groceries, looking up recipes online and logging some practice. Eventually, you can offer to prepare food for friends. Then friends of friends. And with word of mouth building you’ll be crafting a business before you know it.


3. DJ

You will need a computer go get started, but that will be your main expense for this venture. Already have a computer? Then you’re a step ahead as there aren’t too many things you’ll need to buy in order to improve your DJing skills.

You already have music that you’ve purchased through Itunes, Google Play or some other online music service. Free services like Pandora and Spotify help you discover new music and keep you up to date on songs that are getting a lot of attention. And with free dj software like Mixxx and Kramixer you can learn how to blend and mix tracks seamlessly and smoothly.

Start by DJing at your friend’s parties by plugging into whatever stereo system or computers they already have. Over time you can build your own equipment sets as you pick up more gigs.


4. Clothing Design

Making your own clothes isn’t that difficult, you’ve just never tried it. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For you, that single step is learning to sew.

A needle and thread cost less than a slice of pizza. But a slice of pizza can’t mend your favorite t-shirt. Practice on that first with the needle and thread. Practice until your mends look smooth on the outside and don’t annoy your flesh on the inside. After that, look up patterns online and start buying fabric.

You can hasten the speed of your work by buying a sewing machine, but even online that may be a bit pricey. Start out mending your friends’ clothes for a few bucks and you’ll eventually earn enough to get that sewing machine. Have fun with it and you’ll be buying business cards before you know it.


5. Computer Programmer

If you have a computer and an internet connection, you’re ahead of the game in becoming a computer programmer. If not, get yourself a library card.

Learning a computer language isn’t easy, but thankfully, it’s mostly free. You can learn programming languages from Basic to C++ to Java to PHP using resources you can find online. Take a look at Codecademy!

Computer programming is not easy. If you’re dedicated and focused for at least an hour each day (the time it takes to finish a few levels in Halo 2) for a month you could learn enough to get a side job working for a website. From there, your future will only be determined by how much time you want to invest and how much money you want to make.

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