This weekend, while finally dealing with the giant pile of clothes that needed to be ironed, I caught up on my Suze Orman watching. I record the show every Saturday night, but don’t always get a chance to watch before the weekend’s out.
She’s always got something interesting and informative to say, even though a lot of the information is stuff I know. I still enjoy her show, and am often amused at the things people want to buy during the “Can I Afford It” segment. A $1000 sundae? Seriously?
One thing that came up in one of the episodes I watched was the idea of expensive hobbies. The caller wanted to buy an expensive digital SLR camera, and the caller commented that she had taken up and continued a number of hobbies that turned out to be fairly expensive hobbies. (But she was approved for the camera.)
So naturally, I started thinking about my own hobbies. I also realized that I’m not a huge hobby person. But the few that I came up with are:
Blogging is definitely time expensive, but not money expensive. And with the help of ads, I’m able to break even (almost) and also donate money to charity.
I’ve discussed my book addiction here before. I suppose it could be an expensive hobby, but I manage to not spend too much on books. I could spend less by going to the library, which is on the list of things to do once I get through my huge backlog of unread books acquired by friends and family passing them on as well as book swap sites. So all in all, not too expensive a hobby.
My yarnwork hobby has fallen off a bit in the past year or so. I’ve been very good about not buying any new yarn and just working from the stash I have. It helps that right now, I’m working on a giant afghan made with stripes of random colors in order to simply use up a bunch of yarn that I have. Over the past year, I have probably spent less than $80 on yarn, which isn’t exactly a small number, but knitters and crocheters know that amount is actually fairly low. Most of that money was spent on yarn purchased to make a wedding gift as well – without that, the purchases would have been very minimal and probably limited to a spur of the moment purchase at a craft fair that was ultimately turned into a very nice Christmas gift.
Singing could be an expensive hobby, but I have neither the time nor the money for voice lessons, so that helps. The yearly expenditures for this hobby are my choir membership fee and music for the four concerts. I suppose I should also add in the deposit for my choir robe, but that has been paid and will be returned to me when I leave the choir. I also drive to rehearsals every week, and while it’s a short trip, I’m still using some gas. And occasionally, I buy recordings of our concert music on iTunes. All in all, not a very expensive hobby. Probably still under $200 a year.
That leaves running, which is definitely my most expensive hobby. But wait, doesn’t running just require putting on some shoes and putting one foot in front of the other? Well, yes. However, I buy shoes specifically designed for running. I go to specialty running stores to be fitted for shoes and buy those designed for my gait. Think that sounds like a ridiculous marketing ploy? I did, at first. And then I read up on the subject and bought my first real pair of running shoes and felt all the pain in my knees disappear. I will never run in bad shoes again. I buy two or three pairs of shoes a year, though as I continue to up my mileage, I may be buying shoes more frequently. Running shoes cost, on average, between $70 and $100 a pair. Some are more expensive and you can find good running shoes for less. I also have found them on sale. Shoes are typically cheaper online, but unless I’m buying the same exact shoe, I like to try them on and take a little jog in them, something you can do at any good running store. I know some people test shoes in the stores and then buy them online, but this always feels wrong to me. If the salesperson takes the time to help me find the right pair of shoes, the least I can do is buy the shoes from them, even if it does cost me a bit more. I figure I’m paying a bit extra for the service.
I do try to wear clothing designed for running or at least for exercising. It doesn’t matter to me quite as much in the winter, but a shirt made of technical fabric is so much more comfortable than a cotton t-shirt while out running in the 90 degree heat. I don’t buy this type of clothing often – I have just enough to keep me properly attired between laundry days, and that’s all I need. As things wear out, I will likely replace them.
The other expense with running is race entry fees. I don’t race often. I’m not very fast, so I choose my races for the experience alone. Race entry fees range from $5 for small races to over $100 (or more) for big races, plus if you’re running a marathon in another city, there’s also travel and possibly lodging fees. I have yet to run one of these giant races, so for now, my race entry expense is low, but I expect it to increase over the next couple of years.
All in all, I can’t say that I have super expensive hobbies. My most expensive hobby is running, and I’m sure I don’t spend $500 a year on that, probably significantly less (especially in a year like this where I took 2 months off due to a sinus infection I couldn’t kick). Additionally, running is a hobby that’s good for my health, so it’s got that added benefit.
I admit that I’m often tempted by expensive hobbies, such as photography or picking up a new musical instrument and taking lessons. But thankfully, reason has won out and I’m just sticking with what I’ve got. Who has time for more hobbies?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.