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4 Hobbies that Cost No Money, but Have an Invaluable ROI

Contrary to popular belief, it is not excessively expensive to live in the United States. Most people think that you need to spend $30+ per day on food, and your neighborhoods average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment to live a fruitful and meaningful life here in the greatest country on planet Earth.

Well, my man-children, I assure you that those people are wrong.

Not only can you spend less than $2000 per month to live in a solid neighborhood in an expensive city, but you can also engage in certain hobbies that will set you ahead of the pack and expand your earning potential.

I am sure we could name a Gazillion more hobbies that don’t cost a dime and bring you ultimate satisfaction in life. But these are the main ones that I like to engage in when I’m bootstrapping and need to up my savings rate ten-fold.

There are a couple of assumptions I making here.

  1. You live in a major city.
  2. You have transportation to get to most places in your city.

Sound like your life? Good, read on.

Standup Comedy

Standup is quite possibly the oldest art form known to man. Ironically, it is the one that is the silliest and most ridiculous in this country. Crowds gather in groups of anywhere from as little as 50 people in a small, dimly lit room to packed 50,000 person stadiums in South Philadelphia to see a man-child (or woman-child) act completely silly and deliver clever, hilarious, and well-thought-out jokes on stage.

Most, if not all standup comics start at open mics. If you live in a large US city, there is most certainly a mic (short for open mic) near you that you can go, sign up, and act like a jackass on stage for 3-5 minutes. If you are a silly-goose like me, you will be thinking ridiculous and absurd thoughts all day.

If you have ANY interest in trying stand up some day, write those thoughts on a notes app in your phone. At the end of the day, come home. Sit down and formulate your goofy thought into a story, or a joke, that has a Setup and Punchline.

Do that for 30 days. At the end of your 30 days, you should have 30 jokes that you can tell on stage that will each take thirty seconds to a minute to deliver setup and punchline. Guess what though? Most of them, if not all of them, will suck. But who cares? One thing that a man-child doesn’t apologize for is acting like a silly jackass if it makes him happy. Now if you have a healthy level of narcissism, you will believe that at least 5 of those jokes that you created will be funny and make people laugh! Great, you now have a set list!

The next step is to locate your nearest open mic in your local area. There a few sources I use, the main one being the website BadSlava.com. There is also a site called Free Mics for folks in the Northeast. If you are in LA, check out the Comedy Bureau. Go to any of those sites and you will find a comprehensive list of cities and mics within each of those cities in the country.

Find the one that is closest to you that coincides with your schedule.

Go to it. Sign up. Tell those goddamn jokes and report back to us…

….did you do it? Great! You are now a comic.

The beautiful thing about all of this is that cost you no money. You created something. Did you get any laughs? Probably not. Who cares. You are now not only a comic, but an artist. You are creating and producing art, and not consuming Oreos while watching a pointless, yet wildly entertaining documentary series about the sexual promiscuity of Bonobos on your laptop.

This is a great step in your journey to being a true, well rounded, man-child!

Street Basketball

Most team sports are great man-child activities. The great American sport of Football requires you to collaborate with your fellow man, and put each one of your egos aside to work towards a collective goal, which would be the end zone.

Unfortunately, we men-children have gigantic egos, so that is out of the equation.

The great American sport of Hockey requires grit, and skill on the ice. Hockey players are some of the toughest athletes in the world, and the amount of punani that hockey players receive is insurmountable.

However, not all of us men come from the maple syrup kingdom that is Canada, and so not only is it hard to find fellow hockey players, but ice time is extremely hard to come by on a short dime.

Ah, but we have baseball! America’s past time!

snoreswaking up….sorry I fell asleep at the mere thought of sitting through 27 “outs” over in left field with absolutely no human interaction.

That leaves us with one major team sport. Yes! Basketball, or as they call it down in the salsa dancing streets of Latin America, Baloncesto!

Basketball is a perfect sport to engage in for the man-child. It is the ultimate athletic sport, and if you find the right courts, a great place to hone your shit talking as well which we all know is a nice man-child skill to cultivate.

Basketball is the USA’s version of soccer also. Around the world, poor kids play soccer and for many kids one of the only vehicles for them to accelerate out of poverty. Basketball is similar in that sense. All you need is someone else’s ball, and the best players are made in the streets. In any major city, pick up games are going on at public courts.

So find a good court and learn how to ball in your off hours at no cost to you.

Bar Hopping

Probably the most primal instinct in a man-child is to engage with the opposite sex. In this day and age of dating apps and DM’ing girls on Instagram and even Facebook, physically going out and meeting females is a lost art.

Contrary to popular belief (once again) you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be social at bars and clubs. In fact, you can go out and enjoy the local bar scene at the cost of nothing and make people believe you are actually drinking.

Now as with our earlier man-child hobby, stand-up comedy, this isn’t the easiest thing to do for most men. You have to muster up the willpower to get yourself out and talking to strangers.

My suggestion would be to talk to everyone to start. Doesn’t matter if they have a male or female private parts, the goal is to go out every night and talk to at least 5 strangers. Start slow and

Many would also argue that this isn’t a hobby. And they are wrong. Upon a quick Google search of the word “hobby”, this is what we get for a definition:

Now if you are to argue that what I am discussing in this article has nothing to do with a small horse or a pony, then I would have to say, fair-point good sir or madame.

But the first definition accurately describes any of the topics discussed here, including bar hopping to socialize with strangers. It’s fun. You meet all sorts of people and get all sorts of viewpoints on lifestyle and pop-culture within your community. And that is part of what it is about, building community.

In my opinion, community building has become watered down in our digital age. People all over the world are using social media to replace the bonds that they would have created in their community in real life a couple decades ago. And what they find is that it comes up short in what they get back from it. There is an emptiness you feel inside when you spend all night on Facebook or Instagram with no social interaction.

Nothing wrong with social media

Cant replace building a community

A story about moving.


Another healthy hobby for the body. Depending on where you live, hiking is a great way to reconnect with nature and do some deep thinking about your life. It is can be either relaxing or rigorous depending upon what you are looking for. Most of the major cities I have been to have hiking trails within an hour of the inner city. For you folks in the sprawling cornfields of the Midwest, a good hiking trail could be a tough thing to find. Or not. I don’t know many people from that part of the country.

But I can speak us city folks. I never used to appreciate hiking until I was in my mid-twenties and I had spent many years living in cities. When you are surrounded by noise and activity for months at a time, it is almost a necessity to get away from the city and out into nature at least 2 times a week. Even here in NYC, there are great hiking trails upstate with about an hour to an hour and a half train ride. It is great to go up there and screw around in nature for a good few hours, throwing around large tree branches and hopping from rock to rock, then come down and drink relaxing sour ale at a place like Beacon Brewery.

Hiking does a number of things for the mind as well. The type of meditative thinking you do on a hike is of the highest quality. I have come to many realizations when I am removed from all the noise that have brought me peace and clarity in my life that I couldn’t imagine coming to with all the distraction that New York City presents.

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