How much do you spend on your hobby?

By Stew

The dictionary defines a hobby as:

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

I originally took up blogging as a hobby. It still is a hobby for me, but the business side of this hobby is growing all the time. I earn a little income now – at least enough to have to report to the IRS. And, from time to time, I am required to meet a deadline or two. Is blogging still a hobby for me? I suppose, since I still enjoy it and I blog “outside” of my regular occupation, so I guess it still qualifies. My mom’s hobby is quilting, I am not sure how many she has made in the past ten years, but the number has to be quite large.

What is the world’s most expensive hobby? Well, the sky is the limit, I suppose. Especially if your hobby happens to be simply “shopping”. When I think of expensive hobbies, I think of car collecting or yachting. Except, I  am not certain if I have ever met anyone who actually participates in a hobby like that. Probably the most expensive hobbies held by friends of mine are things like back country four-wheeling or skiing. Golf might be another expensive hobby. In fact, I imagine that golf could likely be the most expensive middle-class hobby. I think there are men who spend their entire lives saving for retirement so that they can golf every day. Americans spend close to $30 billion dollars on golf every year!

I am not one of them. Ironically, I had more money to spend on golf when I was single. In high school and college, I golfed close to a dozen times a year, but when I got married and had kids, that was the first hobby to go. I just could not justify the expense or the time these days. Maybe when I retire . . . guess I am one of those guys saving up so I can golf in retirement. Anyway, I don’t really miss it all that much.

The one pure hobby that I practice on a regular basis is day hiking. We live in Colorado, so when I get a Saturday with nothing on the schedule, I have my wife drop me off at a trailhead and tell her that I will call her to pick me up when I get back. The last day I went for a walk, I was gone for approximately seven hours and hiked over eighteen miles. I have a small backpack that cost about $50, a pair of good sneakers and use refillable water bottles. My hobby might not have all the excitement of yachting or four-wheeling, but I when I get done with a long hike, I am tired in body, but refreshed in mind. Sometimes one of my children joins me in this hobby.

What are some of the things you do that you are passionate about that you do for fun? That activity that no one has to force you to do – the job you do for free? How much do you spend on it? Does it occupy a line in your budget? Maybe you have a really weird hobby like “noodling”. I would love to get a list  of inexpensive hobbies going in our comment section. As my kids are getting older, I am more and more on the lookout  for fun things to do with my kids that do not cost a lot.

Article by Stew

Photo by BruceTurner

7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “How much do you spend on your hobby?”

  1. Dan Says:

    Part of the idea of living a frugal life is cultivating hobbies which are not expensive to maintain. Hiking is one example. In today’s world, photography is a relatively inexpensive hobby after you spend the initial costs of equipment (not one of my hobbies).

    Craft work such as quilting can actually be quite expensive, which is ironic as that should be an inexpensive hobby. Craft stores have robbed the spirit of craft work to a certain extent and made what was inexpensive ways to stretch your dollar expensive ways to engage in conspicuous consumption. Unlike my grandmother’s generation, most modern craft workers spend far more in supplies they generally don’t end up using than they save by doing it themselves. Instead of saving scraps of fabric left over from sewing clothes for a quilt, they buy ready to stitch quilt kits, which probably cost more than a new quilt runs at Wal-Mart.

    My main hobby is one of the most inexpensive: reading. I use the local library as my own personal library and enjoy it immensely for free. I would rather give up tv before giving up reading.

  2. my2fish Says:

    have you considering small-boat sailing? Craigslist is full of small sailboats right now – you can get an old Sunfish (or similar) sailboat in decent/sailable condition for a couple hundred dollars. it can become expensive with upgrades, but you don’t need to buy those. my 1st sailboat was only $50, and you can sometimes even find them for free.

    cheers, my2fish

  3. Mike Roosa Says:

    I guess you could call boating my hobby, but it’s more like a habit. As you can imagine, boating is quite an expensive hobby between the boat, gas, snacks, time, gas, accessories, and gas.

  4. Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog Says:

    I definately agree with the hiking part. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and you always feel better when you’re done, no matter how tired.
    As far as free/low cost hobbies go, typically anything outdoors you can do for cheap, like camping, fishing, etc. as a word of warning, they can get more expensive if you enjoy them, but the money will be well spent.

  5. Skeemer118 Says:

    My spouse & I have the odd quest to hike every state park in our lovely Sweet Home Alabama. :) So far we’ve marked 3 off of our list. I’m sure it will get more costly the further we go to get to a park but for now the closest parks are wonderful & we put a little dot next to a list of all the parks.

    My biggest hobby is percussion. Musical equipment is an ever expensive thing to enjoy so my equipment rarely gets added to & I often ask family to chip in on a piece I’ve been wanting instead of many smaller gifts. My husband’s hobby of choice right now is Judo which he takes once a week for free through a city sponsored plan for it’s employees & their family members. So, checking chamber of commerce or community sponsored events is a big help to us.

  6. Stew Says:

    Percussion? not sure I want to be your neighbor :) although it does sound like a good way to blow off a little steam!

  7. DDFD Says:

    I like hobbies that provide other benefits– particularly frugal benefits. What hobbies fill the bill? Hunting, fishing, and veggie gardening– they save on my food bill. I like splitting wood too– good exercise and it saves on my fuel bill.