I did a project last month that cost me nothing! My mom gave me an old side table from her shed. I painted it with white paint that I already had and then distressed it. I thought it turned out pretty well for a beginner. Here is a before and after pic.
Another project that I distressed was a set of wooden spoons. They were originally brown but I painted them white and sanded to make give them the old distressed look. Again, I am a beginner.