Activities on a budget can still be fun and help you relax

The stress of long school days and endless hours of studying can wear us all out, which makes it even more important to take some time to relax, unwind and have some fun. More often than not, however, it's just too expensive to get away for the weekend or go bar hopping with friends.

Don't fear, hardworking, stressed-out college students; here’s a list of inexpensive hobbies and activities to help.

1.) Cook or Bake (or both for the overachiever)

We all have to eat, and we can’t just live on coffee, though I know most of us try. This means that learning to cook is a helpful skill for everyone. It can even be a lot of fun, and with the plethora of resources to pick from, it's easier than ever for newbies to get started. YouTube cooking tutorials and recipe-sharing, as well as websites like Food Network's recipe page, are great options from which to learn.



2.) Movie night

If you don’t have Netflix, there are other inexpensive ways to get your film fix. Netflix and Redbox are great, but did you know you can rent movies at the public library? The Tempe Public Library rents DVDs for free for one week at a time.

3.) Exercise

Exercise is a great way to kill stress, so take that next opportunity to fit in a workout and go to the recreation center. You pay for it anyway, so you might as well use it. Go with friends, play a game of basketball, run on the track or go for a swim. Maybe stop into a yoga class to really ease your mind. You can take it outside too and visit one of Arizona's numerous great hiking spots. You can choose to walk or ride a bike, though some trails are only for walking. Regardless, it’s always nice to get some fresh air.

4.) Photography

Having a fancy camera can be expensive, but it's not a necessary tool to take up photography. An iPhone camera or a small digital one can do the trick too. Plus, with apps like Instagram, Ultravisual and Afterlight, everyone can take awesome pictures and share them, too.

5.) Crafting

Getting crafty is easy, because there are so many options: You can scrapbook, spice up your dorm with hand-painted letters to put on the wall and even take up knitting or sewing. Take lots of pictures to create a scrapbook of all your favorite memories. With valentines day coming up, why not make a card instead of buying one? Paint an empty glass bottles to make a cool jar. Mason jars are another popular crafting trend. A great way to find inspiration is looking at crafting blogs like Dollar Store Crafts.

6.) Gardening

Gardening can fit into most budgets, and flowers make people happy. Plus, caring for plants can give your space some bright color, sweet fragrances and natural beauty. You can even plant herbs for cooking. Or, if you're dedicated and have the space, you can also plant fruits and vegetables. If you can relax and grow your own produce at the same time, it's a win-win situation.

7.) Create a book club

Reading history, biology or business textbooks get to be a drag, but reading can still be fun. Gather a group of people and create your own book club. You can do this with friends at school or family and friends at home.

Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @MercedesMS17

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