Author Topic: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?  (Read 6849 times)

PilotsWife

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Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« on: July 17, 2014, 11:11:01 AM »
Since finding MMM, I have become a convert & have changed my frivolous ways. But there are two sticky wickets in the budget & I just can't figure out what to do.

First off, my husband & I have expensive hobbies. We love to travel & spend about $4200 a year/$350 a month on an international trip (with pet boarding) plus visits to family. Husband is a pilot & spends about the same amount of money on fuel & upkeep for his plane.

$700 a month is a real budget killer & puts off retirement for more years than I like to think about. Neither of us are willing to cut out these hobbies entirely because we both derive a lot of pleasure from them. Any tips or suggestions on what to do here?

« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 11:56:12 AM by PilotsWife »

boarder42

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 11:22:38 AM »
thats what our travel budget is ... we dont have the airplane but i have a boat.  probably costs me 2-3k a year to operate that.  you have to keep some things you love in your life.  we plan to FI by 35 with a 7000 dollar travel budget at that time.  we may not retire then but we will have 4x our expenses.  4200 in travel can go a long way. i havent calculated what we have/will spend this year but we have done quite a bit for very cheap in my opinion. 

These are ball parks on what i think i spent

weekend Vegas in Feb - 400
5 daysMoab Utah in May - 800
Boston this weekend - 300
chicago next weekend - 400
week long Family trip to Michigan - 400
Cruise in Nov. (all inclusive balcony with booze) 7day - cruise cost - 1700 - activities will run us 4-600 so lets say 600

add that up all high side estimates and 4600 for all our travel this year. 

NOTE: i have 100's of thousands of SW points from work travel so flights are free everywhere we go and alot of our lodging is free due to HHonors. 

we will probably do a bit more than this but thats what has happened and is on the books to happen.

boarder42

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 11:25:21 AM »
we also plan to FIRE on 50-60k which is very unmastachian compared to most on here.  but we can hit it by 35 so it doesnt bother me to work 11 years to get to FIRE

dude

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 11:40:14 AM »


Neither of us are willing to cut these hobbies because we both derive a lot of pleasure from them. Any tips or suggestions on what to do here?

Get used to the idea of "put[ing] off retirement for more years than [you] like to think about"?

Sorry, but if you're unwilling to make the necessary changes, then you're unwilling.  The only other suggestion is to earn more money -- and not spend it.

PilotsWife

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 12:05:27 PM »
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that we're unwilling to make changes, just that we're unwilling to give up our hobbies.

I've already started dabbling in the miles & points game, which should help cut travel costs quite a bit. I think I've already gotten enough to pay for airfare & hotel on our trip next year. We've also discussed traveling internationally every other year & sticking to domestic trips for the off year.

Unfortunately, his plane costs are more set in stone. He could just fly less which would decrease the amount he spends on fuel, but he wants to stay current with his skills.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 12:11:41 PM »
Cut what you can that you can live with and stick too and offset the difference by making cuts elsewhere.

arebelspy

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2014, 10:20:46 AM »
If the hobbies are important to you, keep them.  Cut the stuff that isn't.

The wife and I plan to travel full time in FIRE, and will have a budget of between 40 and 60k.  It's worth it to us to work a few extra years to have a stache to support that, rather than what we could spend if we were staying put (25kish).

It's all tradeoffs and what your time is worth to you.  If it's worth selling more of your time to fund those hobbies, great.  As long as you're aware of what it's costing you.
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greaper007

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2014, 10:30:31 AM »
Since finding MMM, I have become a convert & have changed my frivolous ways. But there are two sticky wickets in the budget & I just can't figure out what to do.

First off, my husband & I have expensive hobbies. We love to travel & spend about $4200 a year/$350 a month on an international trip (with pet boarding) plus visits to family. Husband is a pilot & spends about the same amount of money on fuel & upkeep for his plane.

$700 a month is a real budget killer & puts off retirement for more years than I like to think about. Neither of us are willing to cut out these hobbies entirely because we both derive a lot of pleasure from them. Any tips or suggestions on what to do here?

Tell him to get his instructor rating, fly jumpers, tow gliders, start an aircraft moving business, aerial photography, vfr charters etc.    There are lots of ways to fly for free, or trade your time for time on someone else's airplane.    More ratings (especially an ATP if he doesn't have one) mean lower insurance rates also.    I was an airline pilot (which pretty much turned me off the recreational flying) and haven't touched an airplane for 5 years.    Still, I know I could get paid a nominal fee to fly occasionally with just a commercial rating(preferably combined with an instructor rating) doing a variety of tasks that owners need.    Some people just need you to fly their airplane once a month to keep the parts moving.

When you don't have to travel on specific dates because of work, it can get a lot cheaper.    You can do international travel in the off seasons and avoid the crowds and get lower rates to boot.    Check out things like repositioning cruises.

sheepstache

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 10:55:08 AM »
Reiterating a bit, but, yes, find ways to make your hobbies pay.  It definitely seems like being a licensed pilot should offer some freelance opportunities.  Your spouse could plan to make the freelance income cover the costs of the hobby once you FI, making your number smaller.

For vacationing, what is that you value about it?  You may find that once you're not working, you don't need the mental break aspect of getting away from daily life.  Or if it's the travel experiences, you could look into slow travel, house swaps, living abroad, etc.

Can you combine the two and be tour guides?  I'd think offering packaged travel itineraries with private flights could get you some wealthy clients and be a lot of fun.  Not competing with the international airlines, I mean, but within one or a few countries plenty of people are willing to pay for short jumper flights in order to make the most of their vacation time. 

arebelspy

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2014, 11:18:20 AM »
Reiterating a bit, but, yes, find ways to make your hobbies pay.

I personally don't care for this, as I'd rather enjoy, not have to monetize, those things.

So travel, for example.  I could start a travel blog, and try to monetize my travel.  I'd rather not.  I enjoy my job now, so I'd rather work more at this job to FIRE with a bigger budget to enjoy my hobbies without needing to make income from them.

I can see the opposite, of course, if you hate your job, and would rather monetize your hobby.  But I personally wouldn't enjoy a hobby as much if I were forced to try and make money from it.  Depends on the person/situation, of course.
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PDX Citizen

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2014, 11:22:25 AM »
Reiterating a bit, but, yes, find ways to make your hobbies pay.

I personally don't care for this, as I'd rather enjoy, not have to monetize, those things.


I agree with this sentiment.  I really love skiing, which of course, can be an expensive hobby.  So, I thought that maybe I could make a job out of it by becoming a ski patroller.  Fortunately, I tried it out as a volunteer for a few years.  It involved some great training, but at the end of the day, I realized that what makes skiing fun for me is the freedom of it - turning it into a job (especially one that only pays $12/hr) wouldn't make sense.  For me, better to save the money through a career job and then enjoy the freedom that it earns.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 11:24:37 AM by PDX Citizen »

sheepstache

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2014, 11:47:44 AM »
Reiterating a bit, but, yes, find ways to make your hobbies pay.

I personally don't care for this, as I'd rather enjoy, not have to monetize, those things.

So travel, for example.  I could start a travel blog, and try to monetize my travel.  I'd rather not.  I enjoy my job now, so I'd rather work more at this job to FIRE with a bigger budget to enjoy my hobbies without needing to make income from them.

I can see the opposite, of course, if you hate your job, and would rather monetize your hobby.  But I personally wouldn't enjoy a hobby as much if I were forced to try and make money from it.  Depends on the person/situation, of course.

Ha!  The funny thing is I totally remember you suggesting this to someone on another thread (I think the "what if you strike it rich" one?), someone who really liked surfing somewhere tropical and you recommended they just move there and become a guide.  I saw your avatar while scrolling to the bottom of this thread and though, 'Oh, ARS will already have said what I was going to.  Wait, no, he didn't." 

Maybe the difference is the surfer felt they could never get there and you were pointing out they could make choices so they could whereas the OP is saying she could do it just by working a bit more.  Or maybe I'm misremembering and it wasn't you.

I agree I wouldn't want to monetize it but I figure different temperaments differ.

arebelspy

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 12:18:35 PM »
Hah, that's funny.  :)

Yeah, it absolutely depends on the situation and person.  Choosing a lifestyle versus a hobby can also play a role.

It's good to think about it both ways - could I monetize it, and, if so, would that ruin the enjoyment?  Would I rather work more at my current job and not have to monetize it, or would I rather quit sooner but rely on income from the hobby?

Definitely a good thing to think about and consider both scenarios.
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greenmimama

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2014, 12:35:01 PM »
Or even monotinize it part time, sort of a hybrid.

It all depends on what kind of plane he has, but if he can carry 2 passengers, he can volunteer to fly sick children and a parent to the city where they will get care, it would at least make all the expenses tax deductible, and if you could go along if it was a desirable city, then you have just sit your travel costs too.

hybrid

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2014, 01:44:56 PM »
It's all tradeoffs and what your time is worth to you.

This. We gave up the country club membership (575/month) to buy time in the future, which is more important to us than the year-round vacation that the country club represented. I work side gigs now to buy time to be used later. It's all about deciding what your priorities are, and I'm not making any value statements here. Just be honest with yourself and if you can afford and are willing to trade the extra time at a job for the experiences now, then do that.

Scandium

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2014, 02:39:32 PM »


Neither of us are willing to cut these hobbies because we both derive a lot of pleasure from them. Any tips or suggestions on what to do here?

Get used to the idea of "put[ing] off retirement for more years than [you] like to think about"?

Sorry, but if you're unwilling to make the necessary changes, then you're unwilling.  The only other suggestion is to earn more money -- and not spend it.

Pretty much. If you want to do it keep saving longer.
I thought it would be extremely cool to fly a plane and even looked into schools and classes and stuff. Calculated it out to $6-8K/year, or more. But then I though; would this be worth it in time and money for the joy I would get from it, compared to doing something simpler/cheaper with my family instead? I decided no.

It's a perfectly valid hobby, and I'm envious. Just have to be aware of the tradeoffs. That being said we spend a lot on travel each year too. Because we decided that's worth it.

I would think there are ways to bring the cost of travel down though, easier than the plane thing. Go in off season, hotel/flight deals, eat out less, cheaper locations etc.

arebelspy

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 07:18:49 PM »
Reiterating a bit, but, yes, find ways to make your hobbies pay. 

Good article today on Lifehacker on considerations for if you should monetize a hobby or not:
Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business? Five Questions to Ask
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PilotsWife

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2014, 07:56:25 PM »
If the hobbies are important to you, keep them.  Cut the stuff that isn't.

The wife and I plan to travel full time in FIRE, and will have a budget of between 40 and 60k.  It's worth it to us to work a few extra years to have a stache to support that, rather than what we could spend if we were staying put (25kish).

It's all tradeoffs and what your time is worth to you.  If it's worth selling more of your time to fund those hobbies, great.  As long as you're aware of what it's costing you.

Wow! This thread suddenly got a lot of activity & I didn't even notice. Here are my thoughts:

I've started getting into travel hacking & have managed to cut the vacation budget down to pretty much nothing. This was super easy; I opened 3 credit cards & got "free" flights/hotel stays. Awesome! Hopefully I can start working a little bit of overtime to cover the rest of our costs, like activities & incidentals while we're there.
 
Success has not been so forthcoming with flying expenses. Husband has his ATP & his CFI, so he occasionally gets extra cash from working with a student. He's also been doing some freelance work related to his 9-to-5 job skills, but nothing that's very steady. I'm trying to encourage him to get more contacts so he can become self-sufficient, but he doesn't seem super motivated. I'll let him know about some of the other options people on here have listed. He has a little two-seater, so flying other people around isn't in the cards, but that would be an AMAZING thing to do.

So, besides the fact that he's not covering the costs of his hobby, I'm also kind of bitter about it because it's not worth the money to me. We both benefit from traveling because we both enjoy it, but I would happily give up his airplane if it meant retiring earlier. I'm a great wife, aren't I? Part of what really drives me crazy is that it comes with other added expenses; we need to keep a car so he can get to his airplane, he needs his iPhone because he uses it for flying, etc. I'm cutting the rest of our budget down to the bone (cooking a ton, stopped the gym, thrift shopping, renting out our spare room, homemade gifts) but I still can't get us to my desired level of spending! I don't want to turn into a bitter harpy about this, but I fear that's the way I'm heading.

greaper007

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2014, 01:15:06 PM »
If the hobbies are important to you, keep them.  Cut the stuff that isn't.

The wife and I plan to travel full time in FIRE, and will have a budget of between 40 and 60k.  It's worth it to us to work a few extra years to have a stache to support that, rather than what we could spend if we were staying put (25kish).

It's all tradeoffs and what your time is worth to you.  If it's worth selling more of your time to fund those hobbies, great.  As long as you're aware of what it's costing you.

Wow! This thread suddenly got a lot of activity & I didn't even notice. Here are my thoughts:

I've started getting into travel hacking & have managed to cut the vacation budget down to pretty much nothing. This was super easy; I opened 3 credit cards & got "free" flights/hotel stays. Awesome! Hopefully I can start working a little bit of overtime to cover the rest of our costs, like activities & incidentals while we're there.
 
Success has not been so forthcoming with flying expenses. Husband has his ATP & his CFI, so he occasionally gets extra cash from working with a student. He's also been doing some freelance work related to his 9-to-5 job skills, but nothing that's very steady. I'm trying to encourage him to get more contacts so he can become self-sufficient, but he doesn't seem super motivated. I'll let him know about some of the other options people on here have listed. He has a little two-seater, so flying other people around isn't in the cards, but that would be an AMAZING thing to do.

So, besides the fact that he's not covering the costs of his hobby, I'm also kind of bitter about it because it's not worth the money to me. We both benefit from traveling because we both enjoy it, but I would happily give up his airplane if it meant retiring earlier. I'm a great wife, aren't I? Part of what really drives me crazy is that it comes with other added expenses; we need to keep a car so he can get to his airplane, he needs his iPhone because he uses it for flying, etc. I'm cutting the rest of our budget down to the bone (cooking a ton, stopped the gym, thrift shopping, renting out our spare room, homemade gifts) but I still can't get us to my desired level of spending! I don't want to turn into a bitter harpy about this, but I fear that's the way I'm heading.

It's tough to freelance with your own plane, and since your husband has advanced ratings I'm sure he knows that.    There are LOTS of regulations that essentially prevent you from monetizing anything flying related with your aircraft without some very expensive certifications.    Angel flight, as someone mentioned, is one way to get a tax write off.

I'm curious, what type of aircraft does he own, a C150?    Is he the sole owner or does he have partners?    What is the monthly cost related to, hangar space, fuel, mx, finance payment?

Another option could be a home built aircraft.    There's quite a few models that come out much cheaper than a comparative certified aircraft that he could build in his spare time over a few years.    Once he's done, he has a brand new aircraft that he's allowed to do all the mx on without an A&P certificate (a huge cost savings for things like oil changes that pilots aren't normally allowed to perform).    The sale of his current plane could probably pay for the majority of the new aircraft.

Is he an airline pilot?    If so, travel should be really inexpensive for you guys.    Look up some of the interline websites for deals.   And you would obviously get free airfare (even if it is standby). 

Where do you guys live?    If you're near Denver I'd love to split fuel costs with him.   

PilotsWife

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2014, 04:15:37 PM »
@Greaper, he owns the plane outright with one partner & they split maintenance costs/tie down fees. That all comes to about $200/month over the course of a year. He spends another $150/month (on average) on fuel. Based on the number of hours he flies every year, keeping this plane is much cheaper than renting from local businesses. He is not an airline pilot so we don't get any discounts there.

I'll let him know about the home built; I know he's been interested in that for quite a while, but I don't know about the financial aspect. We'd have to rent a place for him to work on it & then spend $ on gas to get him up there. I know he's got some friends interested in flying, though, so maybe one of them would consider building a plane. Plus, not having to pay for maintenance would be such a savings!


greaper007

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2014, 05:05:07 PM »
@Greaper, he owns the plane outright with one partner & they split maintenance costs/tie down fees. That all comes to about $200/month over the course of a year. He spends another $150/month (on average) on fuel. Based on the number of hours he flies every year, keeping this plane is much cheaper than renting from local businesses. He is not an airline pilot so we don't get any discounts there.

I'll let him know about the home built; I know he's been interested in that for quite a while, but I don't know about the financial aspect. We'd have to rent a place for him to work on it & then spend $ on gas to get him up there. I know he's got some friends interested in flying, though, so maybe one of them would consider building a plane. Plus, not having to pay for maintenance would be such a savings!

That's really not bad for aircraft related expenses.   I think non-pilots have a hard time understanding the desire to fly, I'd say just go with it and he can just keep a job that pays for this expense on his own.    You can't really ask someone to stop doing something that gives their life purpose and meaning if it's reasonably priced and they pay for it.

You can build a homebuilt in most 2 car garages.    They really don't need that much space.

Also, make sure he's throwing at least 10 bucks an hour into a kitty for engine overhaul.    Otherwise it's going to suck when you get a $25,000 engine overhaul bill.

PilotsWife

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2014, 05:30:15 PM »
@Greaper, he owns the plane outright with one partner & they split maintenance costs/tie down fees. That all comes to about $200/month over the course of a year. He spends another $150/month (on average) on fuel. Based on the number of hours he flies every year, keeping this plane is much cheaper than renting from local businesses. He is not an airline pilot so we don't get any discounts there.

I'll let him know about the home built; I know he's been interested in that for quite a while, but I don't know about the financial aspect. We'd have to rent a place for him to work on it & then spend $ on gas to get him up there. I know he's got some friends interested in flying, though, so maybe one of them would consider building a plane. Plus, not having to pay for maintenance would be such a savings!

That's really not bad for aircraft related expenses.   I think non-pilots have a hard time understanding the desire to fly, I'd say just go with it and he can just keep a job that pays for this expense on his own.    You can't really ask someone to stop doing something that gives their life purpose and meaning if it's reasonably priced and they pay for it.

You can build a homebuilt in most 2 car garages.    They really don't need that much space.

Also, make sure he's throwing at least 10 bucks an hour into a kitty for engine overhaul.    Otherwise it's going to suck when you get a $25,000 engine overhaul bill.

They just got a new engine (3 or so years ago?) but I'll check to make sure we're saving for that. I'm glad to hear that this is a reasonable amount for an airplane. I guess I'll just have to suck it up & learn to live with the expense.

yddeyma

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Re: Best of both worlds: FIRE & expensive hobbies?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2014, 05:35:47 PM »
Didn't see where anyone mentioned this, but why not sells shares of his plane or at least share operating expenses.  I've had friends that have done both.  Having a "partner" to share the cost and ownership of a plane with can be tricky, but ultimately cuts your expenses the biggest. 

My other friend would allow multiple folks onto his insurance provided they paid equal shares of the maintenance and insurance costs.  Every body who flew paid for their own gas.  Its an easy way to maintain ownership of your plane, but share the operating costs.  Lots of folks paid and would only fly once a month or so.  You just have to have a system for determining who gets first dibs for scheduling (my friend was always up front that HE got first dibs on holidays!).