Four Frugal Hobbies You Might Not Have Tried

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Blogging started off as my hobby job.  Before I knew that I wanted to do this full time, I had been skipping around to different money-making part-time activities in an effort to find a hobby that I’d like and that would give me some extra cash to boot.  I personally worked in a local bookstore on the weekends for a few months, then tried petsitting for about half a year, and even babysat for a few weekends.  Here is a closer look at these hobby job ideas.

Local Bookstore

Working in the local used bookstore could be considered relaxing or boring depending on your personality type.  I made about $8 an hour in 2007 to work 16 hours every weekend.  I shelved books, helped customers find the perfect picks, and was trained to price out the books that customers wanted to sell.  I started in September but was bored to tears by December, so I made about $1500, which ended up paying for Christmas and padded our savings account a bit.


I actually loved petsitting.  I started in the beginning of 2008 but stopped about 6 months later since we adopted Mr. Pug and a two dog household was definitely enough.  I charged $15 a night for dogs that weighed less than 50 pounds and $20 a night for the big babies. I started off by posting my services on Craigslist but received most of my business overall from word-of-mouth.  I only had a dog about 3 days a week, so I ended up making about $1000 before I “retired”.  If you like to take care of a certain animal, I would highly suggest looking into this yourself.


This was a short hobby job for me.  I babysat a lot in high school and thought I could try again.  I once again listed my services and experience on Craigslist for $7.50 an hour for one kid or $10 for two.  I ended up getting called 3 times a week but kept getting cancelled on at the last minute.  The few times I actually got a job, the children were so bratty that I mostly wanted to run away by the time the parents got home.  When I was a kid, I loved babysitters and was on my best behavior so they’d come back.  The kids I took care of were like little princes and princesses that thought I was the help.  It was pretty bad.  I only made a couple of hundred dollars over a month and decided I was not babysitter material.


Blogging was my most recent hobby job attempt.  I started commenting on personal finance blogs in October 2009 and started Budgeting in the Fun Stuff in February 2010.  I actually started this as a hobby and only realized its income potential a few months later.  It wasn’t until October 2010 that I decided to try to pursue it as my main career.  By the end of 2010, I had made about $6000 and have already brought in about $18,000 in 2011.  I should be working full time from home by August 2011!  Best hobby job ever!

What hobby job experiences have you had?  Which ones have been your favorites?

{ 19 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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19 Responses to “Four Frugal Hobbies You Might Not Have Tried”

  1. No Debt MBA says:

    I did pet sitting and babysitting while in high school and have since moved on to blogging (it doesn’t make much money but it doesn’t cost much either). Another frugal hobby is gardening.

    • billsnider says:

      if you think gardening is frugal, meet my wife for a different prospective

      Bill Snider

      • Shirley says:

        You brought back the memory of my very first try at backyard gardening. 🙂 I’m sure I spent more than I would have paid at the local grocer for the same amount of edible veggies and I was nearly convinced that I had a ‘purple thumb rather than a green one’. Each succeeding year got better and now we have surplus for family and friends. The more you learn, the better it gets!

      • skylog says:

        thank you for the laugh bill. my aunt would also very much fit into this category.

  2. STRONGside says:

    I think there is a lot of money to be made through pet sitting, or even better, pet walking. if you have acess to a large neighborhood, you can really rack up. I have a friend who makes close to $800 per week walking dogs in his neighborhood. He makes money, meets his neighbors, and gets some great exercise for a very part time job!

  3. Jeroen says:

    This post really gave me new insight. It never occurred to me to see jobs as a hobby. I’m also blogging as a hobby, but not making any money out of it. So I guess you are probably both lucky and very skilled. Your suggestion of petsitting is also I’ve never heard of, I’ve heard of ‘animal hotels’ but never thought about “having a dog over”. Might try this!

  4. Dan says:

    I’ve made a hobby of convincing my lazy friends to let me see their old stuff on eBay for them. It’s mutually beneficial so I don’t feel too bad taking a cut for minimal work on my part.

    • skylog says:

      this is a great idea that i also have done from time to time. my only concern is one of the oldest in the book, don’t mix friends and money.

  5. cdiver says:

    Scuba Instruction…in order to pay for the hobby!

    • Shirley says:

      When I was much younger I loved to sew and did mending and alterations for friends. They, in turn, would bring me scraps of material (precut to specified size and usually from memorable clothing) to be made into quilts which they then bought. It didn’t make a lot of money, but it was enough to buy material for clothes for my own children.

    • Crystal says:

      Hahaha, the only way I could ever afford that hobby, lol.

  6. Shirley says:

    I have a friend who’s 5th grade son raised chickens for a 4-H project. While tending his brood the ripple effect was more time for dad to get other ranch chores done and mom to get more in-house chores done.
    The boy was encouraged to recruit customers and sell the eggs, which were delivered to buyers weekly. That money took care of the feed plus some for his savings.

    Eggs that were left over were given to neighbors and friends who, in turn, supplied the family with surplus from their gardens. Many new friends were soon made and egg cartons were gladly saved and donated to him.

    There were far more lessons learned than dollars earned here, but it was certainly a worthwhile project/hobby.

  7. Jay says:

    I’m not currently blogging but used to and would love to start again. How are you making money at it? I would love to make money with something I love. thanxx for the advice.

    • I sell ads on my blogs, staff write, run the advertising for more than 20 other blogs, and perform blogging tasks for others for an hourly rate. I’m also blogging about all of that at my new site, 🙂 Good luck!

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