Getting Started in Astronomy without a Telescope
Here is a nice column in the Boston Globe about getting started in astronomy without a telescope. One thing I can add to it is that many variable stars can be monitored without scopes. There is our old buddy epsilon Aurigae, of course. But there are tons more, too. At the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party last week I made 10 observations of variables without a scope. Six were naked eye and four were with binoculars. I only bring my trusty 10x75 "bear" binocs with me to star parties as I find them the most enjoyable way to cruise the sky, especially under dark skies where you can uncover faint fuzzies almost anywhere you look, especially along the Milky Way (I always imagine the countless and endless fuzzies in Sagitarrius as boiling water within the teapot).
Our 10 Star Tutorial is made up of stars that are viewable naked eye or with binocs. The AAVSO has a larger list of binocular stars here too. They also have some beautiful constellation finder charts. What I do is use the finder charts to ID the main stars in a constellation. Then I use the Variable Star Plotter to make b-scale and c-scale charts to star hop to the variable. (If you use the 10 Star Tutorial you won't need to do that as they are mostly bright, easy to find stars.)
So if you are ready to advance in the hobby beyond observing epsilon Aurigae, consider a pair of binocs!