The recession has hit us all: we’ve all had to scale back on nights out, limit the amount we spend on shopping trips and swap champagne for a bottle of Sainsbury’s own white wine. But if you think that you have to spend money to have fun, then you’d better think again. Here are some fun frugal pastimes.

  1. Running

Running might just be the king of frugal hobbies, its crown challenged only by reading and writing. You can do it almost anywhere and all that you need is some decent footwear. If you want to really keep costs down, check out eBay for some great second-hand deals or search through the treasure trove of shoes in a charity shop to see if they have any trainers to suit you. Challenge yourself to beat your personal best, explore the area you live by finding new routes or look at getting sponsored and entering a marathon to raise money for charity.

  1. Rollerblading

Skateparks have been purpose built for recreational skating, and your run-of-the-mill skate park is free to use. Buy a cheap pair of blades from eBay, whack on some wheels from Skate Hut as a cheap way of personalising them and you’re good to go. Fun, fashion and exercise rolled into one – and on a shoestring budget, to boot!

  1. Urban Exploration

Urban exploration is a great way to stimulate your mind and exercise your body, as it requires time spent planning, a lot of walking and sights which could fuel even the dullest imagination. It’s important to do a bit of research before you go, so that you know that you’re not going to be breaking any laws by entering a site. Once you’ve established that you’re not, exploring your city’s tunnels, oddities and bridges can be exhilarating – you’ll see fascinating sights, ruinous grandeur and hints of lives lived in times gone by. You’ll get a history lesson and a workout in one.

  1. Dog Walking

If you love anything with four-legs and fur, get involved. If you don’t have your own dog, find someone who will pay you to walk their pooch for them. Dog walking is great for getting you outside. Walk through forests and countryside, see new sights and hear new sounds whilst keeping fit on a budget. What’s not to like?

  1. Writing

Writing has been a favourite human pastime since 3200BC, and it has to be one of the cheapest hobbies around. There doesn’t have to be any initial outlay involved. It you have a computer or laptop, use that to write your great work. If you don’t, and you can’t afford to shell out for one, grab a pen and paper and you’re set. Whether you like writing angry tirades to editors, putting your views on politics down on paper or crafting the next Wuthering Heights in your downtime, you’re really not going to spend much money in the process (unless you quit your job or your studies to work on full time writing, which is really the antithesis of a frugal move).

Living on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to spend your whole life sat in a darkened room eating a Pot Noodle in front of a tiny television. Having a little fun in your life is nothing short of a necessity – luckily, it’s a necessity that doesn’t have to cost too much. Really expensive hobbies or pastimes might have to go out of the window, but cheap or free ones can be brought in to replace them. Even better, you might find a new hobby that pays!