30 Retirement Hobbies That Can Make You Money
When most people retire, they often have a lot more time on their hands. Many take up new hobbies or spend more time on favorite pursuits. Popular pastimes for seniors include genealogy, gardening, photography, cooking, painting or drawing, and fiber arts, such as knitting or quilting.
Some hobbies, such as woodworking, can be expensive and require an investment in equipment or supplies. Whether you want to make a new hobby pay for itself or to make money from it, we came up with a list of the top 30 retirement hobbies that can do just that.
Woodworking is a popular retirement hobby that helps improve hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Many retirees, especially men, have a workshop set up in their basement, garage or shed.
If you’re looking to earn some money from your hobby consider crafting in-demand wooden items, such as toys, coat racks, fruit bowls, picture frames, plant boxes or furniture, and then listing them for sale on Craigslist or eBay.
If you’re very experienced at using woodworking machines and tools, you might consider working part time at a local hardware or building store. You can share your knowledge and get a discount on your own woodworking supplies.
29. Video Games
Playing video games is a retirement hobby that is growing in popularity. Playing games helps to keep the brain sharp, improves eye-hand coordination and relieves boredom.
Hamako Mori is a 90-year grandmother in Japan, known as Gamer Grandma, who has more than 300,000 fans on her YouTube channel where she posts videos of herself playing popular games.
If you’re good at playing games, you can earn money as a quality assurance or games tester. You can also make money posting instructional or live play videos online.
Some companies will even pay people to play their games.
28. Teaching Hobbies Online
Do you love to teach others your favorite hobby? The shift to learning online has led to a huge demand for online teachers.
Many sites don’t require that instructors have a teaching background or formal qualifications, just passion and skills.
The Outschool website is always looking for new instructors. Outschool offers small, online classes for children. Instructors set their own curriculum, schedule and prices, and can make up to $40 per hour.
Other informal online teaching sites include Udemy and Skillshare.
27. Teaching Crafting Classes
If you are a skilled crafter, whether you work with fabric, yarn, paper, thread or other materials, you, too, can teach others your craft online.
Teachable and Ruzuku are two websites favored by craft teachers. Teachable offers a Quick Start webinar that walks a newcomer through setting up an online course or workshop on the site.
You can also take courses on how to turn your craft hobby into a side income.
Sewing is another popular retirement hobby and may help reduce the chances of getting arthritis.
If you’re seeking to make money from sewing, you could offer repair or alteration services or tailor custom-fitted garments. You could have a seasonal income making Halloween costumes or Christmas decorations.
You can set up an online store on a craft marketplace, such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade, to sell clothes or homewares, or accept special orders.
If you’re an experienced sewer, you can teach at a local fabric store and get a discount on your own sewing supplies.
If you enjoy shopping, especially in outlet or discount stores, or thrift stores, then reselling may be a good way to support your hobby and pay for your own purchases.
Savvy resellers survey what will attract a profit on sites such as Amazon or eBay, either by tracking certain products, researching past sales or getting apps, such as Profit Bandit, that does the work for them.
Facebook has chat groups such as Thrifting Divas where shoppers can swap advice and ask resale prices for thrift store finds.
You can also sell clothing and accessories on sites such as Thredup or Poshmark.
If you enjoy reading and have a smooth, pleasant voice, you might consider offering a reading service to other people. This way, you can share your favorite books or experience new ones.
People who might use your services include those with sight issues or those who are homebound and would prefer the company of another person rather than listening to recorded books.
You can advertise your services on websites such as Craigslist, or sign up for sites such as Angie’s List or HomeGuide that connect service providers with clients.
Quilting is a popular hobby that may help to stave off diseases such as Alzheimers or arthritis by keeping hands active and the mind engaged.
Many quilters seeking an income from their craft start by making and selling smaller items, such as table runners, placemats or hangings. Quilts are very time-intensive to make and some artisans prefer to make quilts on a commission basis.
You can also make your own quilting kits. Kits are an easy first project for beginners, with pre-cut fabric, instructions and materials.
Some quilters make a successful income selling kits online or at craft fairs or art markets.
If you’re a keen weekend potter, then you know that it’s not an inexpensive hobby. Potters need to pay for clay and glazes, renting or buying a wheel for throwing, and a kiln for firing.
You can often rent kiln space at local colleges or schools to have your creations fired. Once you have more time for your hobby in retirement, you’ll also likely make more things.
Consider selling your work by setting up a store on a craft marketplace, such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade, getting a stall at a local craft market or joining an artisan retail collective.
If you’re good at photography, there are a number of ways to make money from your shutterbug hobby.
You can sell stock photos to online websites, such as Adobe Stock or Shutterstock. You can also make prints from your photos and sell them at local art markets or craft fairs.
If you enjoy writing, you could set up a blog explaining to novices the finer points of taking good photos.
You can make instructional videos on YouTube to share your knowledge or teach classes online through websites such as Udemy or Skillshare.
20. Pet Care
Many people who work full-time aren’t able to walk or take care of pets during the day. If you’re good with animals, or have your own pets, consider offering pet care services.
You could work as a dog walker or pet sitter for a few hours or all day. You could also consider opening a dog day care center.
You can advertise your services on websites such as Craigslist or sign up for sites such as Angie’s List or HomeGuide that connect service providers with clients.
Dog walkers can ask as much as $20 for a 20-minute walk. Yes, you read that right.
19. Paper Crafting
If you’re into crafting items out of paper, you can easily find a market for your creations. Paper flowers are a popular seller.
Brides may decide to carry a paper bouquet or give paper flowers out at a wedding in lieu of real ones to save money or give guests a special keepsake.
Paper purses, wallets and origami figures are all popular items on online craft marketplaces, such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade.
You could also sell your paper creations at a local art market or craft fair.
If you play a musical instrument or are a musician, there are a number of ways that you can earn income from your music.
Set up a YouTube channel or a Facebook live page, and post regular videos. If you gradually build up a loyal following, or your videos are popular, you can earn money from people watching your videos.
You can also play at weddings, birthday parties or special events.
And don’t forget about offering online music classes or, if you’re good at writing, consider writing paid posts for music blogs.
17. Knitting or Crocheting
Knitting and crocheting are extremely popular hobbies. Almost 30 million Americans do some form of yarn art. There are a number of ways you can make money from knitting or crocheting.
You can sell your creations on online craft marketplaces, such as Amazon Handmade or Etsy, or accept custom orders. Another popular way for knitters to make money is by selling their own unique patterns on websites such as Ravelry.
If you’re an expert knitter, consider working part-time in a yarn store. You can share your knowledge with novices and get a discount on your own supplies.
If you enjoy making handmade jewelry at home, there are a number of ways you can sell your creations to earn money.
You can list items for sale on eBay, online craft marketplaces, such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade, or accept commissions for custom pieces. You can also sell at art markets or craft fairs.
You may find local shops that would be willing to buy your jewelry or sell on a consignment basis. You can also teach classes on creative course websites, such as Teachable and Ruzuku.
If you start to grow a base of local buyers, you could even consider hosting a jewelry party.
Hunting is another popular sport where you can easily monetize your skills and experience. You can work part-time in an outdoor sporting goods store or work as a hunting guide for a private company.
Guides earn high fees working for hunting and safari companies, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Experienced hunters can run their own guide or training service.
You can also participate in government-sponsored hunts and collect bounties on overpopulated animals, or sell wild hides to manufacturers.
You might even consider making training videos or writing articles or blog posts to inform less-experienced hunters.
14. Hair Accessories
Do you enjoy making hair accessories? They’re a perennially popular fashion item, especially with teens and children.
One Mom, Shunta Grant, even turned her side venture making bows and headbands into a million-dollar business.
Try approaching children’s clothing stores or local hair salons as possible places to sell your creations. You can list items for sale on eBay or online craft marketplaces, such as Amazon Handmade or Etsy, or accept commissions for custom pieces.
Or consider selling in your local area at art markets, craft fairs or flea markets.
Do you love to golf? If so, consider working at a golf course for some extra income or free access to the course.
Most courses have a pro shop and need experienced golfers to assist new players or those wanting to improve their game.
You could also work as a golf course ranger. This job involves patrolling the course and making sure that players follow the rules and observe proper golfing etiquette.
You may need to handle emergency situations, communicate between players, staff and management and make sure essentials, such as water or cups, are always available.
Genealogy is a popular pastime with retirees and is currently the second-most popular hobby in the U.S. Many people are curious about their family tree or where their family originated and, after retirement, have the time to pursue the study and research required.
Several websites, including FamiySearch.org, Genealogy.com or myheritage.com, allow users to search for information about their family.
Interviewing relatives and collecting stories and knowledge is another way to get family history.
You might consider helping other people and charge them for conducting interviews, doing research or making a family tree.
Gardening is a popular hobby with retirees. Being in nature helps reduce stress levels, and working actively in a garden or yard means that you are outside in the fresh air and staying fit.
A recent study showed that just two sessions improved stamina, mobility and brain function.
If you’re a skilled and experienced gardener, a great way to make some extra money is to hire out your services to homeowners or renters who don’t have time to look after their own yards or gardens.
You can list your services and set an hourly or daily rate on websites such as TaskRabbit, Angie’s List or Homeguide.
If you love to fish, you’re probably aware that fishing equipment can be expensive. Consider working part-time in a retail store that sells outdoor sporting goods.
You can share your knowledge with less experienced anglers, or just hang out and talk about fishing. You’ll also get a discount on fishing gear.
Or consider working as a guide. Experienced guides, especially in specialities such as fly-fishing, can earn up to $125 a day in tips alone.
If you’re skilled at making lures, you could also have a side business selling them to people who don’t have the time or knowledge to make them.
Drawing or Painting
Many people sketch, draw or paint for relaxation and enjoyment, and to keep their eye-hand coordination and dexterity sharp. You have numerous options for selling your work if you choose.
You can sell your art directly in a local gallery or gift shop. You can also make your art into prints, cards or posters.
Print-on-demand websites, such as Sellfy, let you load up your artwork and have it printed on T-shirts, bags, mugs and more.
If you are highly skilled, you could also accept commissions for drawings or paintings of pets, children or houses.
8. Do It Yourself (DIY)
Do you like to do repairs, DIY projects or home maintenance? Do you spend a lot of time in your garage or shed workshop and use a range of tools and equipment?
If so, you might consider working part-time in a hardware store. You can share your knowledge and experience with others, and get paid to help people.
Best of all, you can get a store discount on supplies and equipment, which brings down the costs of your own hobby.
Cooking is a popular hobby with people who have retired.
Making your own meals has multiple benefits: It’s usually cheaper and healthier than eating out, and cooking may even help your mental health.
If you love to cook, you can easily find ways to make money from this hobby. Consider setting up a stall at a weekend farmers’ market. The Healthy Hands Cooking website also offers an instructor program that will allow you to become a paid teacher on their site.
If you enjoy writing, you could write for food blogs or earn money as a recipe writer or tester.
6. Collecting Antiques or Collectibles
Many people collect: everything from books, china and stamps to Pokemon cards, furniture and NFTs (crypto art).
While some may collect items that appreciate in value, such as art or minerals, many people simply collect for enjoyment. However, there are ways to turn collecting into a source of income.
Most auction houses resell valuable collectibles, such as vintage watches. You could also set up a stall or table at a local flea market.
Resale sites, such as Bonanza or Ruby Lane, specialize in selling vintage and antique items.
5. Coaching Sports
If you were a coach or played sports during your working career, or even if you were a professional sports player, you might think about offering coaching or training services to children or young adults.
You could also get a part-time job at a local recreation center that offers classes.
Pickleball, for instance, is one of the fastest growing sports among retired men. The game is played on a court with a low net and combines techniques from tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
If you’re proficient at playing this new sport, consider teaching others.
4. Candle or Soap Making
It’s almost impossible to peruse a gift shop without finding a $20 candle. So, if you enjoy making candles or soaps as a hobby, there are some simple ways to turn your hobby into an income stream.
You can set up a store on an online craft marketplace, such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade, to sell your soap or candles. You can also approach local gift or tourist shops and ask if they want to stock your items or sell them on consignment.
Don’t forget to also try local art or flea markets or craft fairs. Seasonal markets, held for Christmas or other holidays, are great places to sell these popular gift items — at an insane price.
If your hobby is calligraphy, there are a number of ways you can make money from knowing how to make elegant lettering. You can craft unique greeting or holiday cards and sell them at a local art market, seasonal fair or online craft marketplace, such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade.
Or what about making and selling inspirational quotes? If you do needlepoint, you could make a unique stitched frame for each quote.
You can also make invitations and seating cards for weddings or events.
You could even offer a calligraphy class online or through a local recreation or arts center.
Brewing as a hobby is gaining in popularity. While selling your beer or cider requires a state liquor license, there are other ways to make money from brewing.
You can teach a course in person or online, or sell your private recipes. If there is a local brewing shop, you can ask them to refer novices who may want to learn from someone more experienced.
You can also make home brew kits to sell. Many smaller commercial breweries offer tasting tours, and you could work part-time sharing your knowledge about beer and the brewing process.
1. Airbnb Experiences
Most people know Airbnb as a site that lets you rent a spare bedroom or space in your home to earn extra income.
However, Airbnb has added more ways for hosts to make money, including offering live or online experiences, such as cooking classes, local tours, musical concerts, dance lessons, whatever your hobby and skills might be.
You still need to register with the site as a host, and then you have the choice of either having paying guests stay in a property you own, rent or manage, or just offering the experience option alone.