Author Topic: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?  (Read 8671 times)

ajmers

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Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« on: December 08, 2013, 07:33:59 PM »
Starting in roughly April and lasting until December each year, I can think of one thing: snowboarding. I started 3 years ago and since then, I've gradually gathered all the equipment I need, and spent about 10 days a year on the slopes, up here in the northeast and out west.

For 3 years at my old job, my annual bonus covered all the costs associated with snowboarding (clothes, equipment, flights, lift tickets). I've had a "funding source" column in my budget and would separate out my 'normal', day-to-day expenses that I took from my paychecks, vs special purchases that I made from birthday gifts or bonuses. I thought this was great because I was still saving the normal amount of my 'everyday' income, and putting away half the bonus, as well, but now as I take inventory of what kind of down payment I'll be able to make on a house sometime soon, a few thousand extra here or there starts to make a big difference.

So I'm wondering who has passions and hobbies that could eat up as much of your income as you allow, and how do you budget for those? In my view, Mustachianism is about freeing yourself from the machine of consumerism so you can spend time on what you care about. What if your life's greatest joy happens to cost >$60 a day? :)
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 08:00:39 PM by ajmers »

iamlindoro

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Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Who has an expensive hobby? (hand raised)
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 07:40:46 PM »
Save up and buy your own mountain??

I'm fortunate in that the hobbies I have are free/cheap, so I probably can't be of much help here.  Have you considered a second job/side hustle to raise the funds for snowboarding?  That way, you specifically have to earn the money for the slopes. 

ajmers

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Re: Who has an expensive hobby? (hand raised)
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 07:55:02 PM »
Bruised
Save up and buy your own mountain??

Actually, I like this idea!! I'm adding another criterion to what I need in a house: 'has own mountain'.

Thanks for pointing out the other thread iamlindoro! Since that topic is more about sharing what expensive hobbies people have, I would still be interested in seeing specifically HOW people budget for these things.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Who has an expensive hobby? (hand raised)
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 08:11:19 PM »
I'm adding another criterion to what I need in a house: 'has own mountain'.

I saw a website the other day where you could buy your own small island, so maybe there's a similar site for this???

I guess the way I see it: to not feel the effects of your hobby in your budget, you either have to make more money to cover it, or save enough money in other areas to fund it.  A certain member of my extended family practices a "minimalist" lifestyle--notably, he doesn't buy anything he could possibly get for free--so that he can spend months/years bumming around in foreign countries. 

And, of course, there's always saving money on snowboarding itself.  I've never done it myself, but perhaps you can get better rates on slope time by going with a group?  Or perhaps you could become an occasional snowboard instructor?  I don't know how these people are contracted, but it may come in exchange with some free access. 

brewer12345

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 09:03:13 PM »
Cannot help you with snowboarding, but my sole hobby that costs money in any significant way is hunting. You can spend really stupid amounts of money on guns and other equipment if you like.  Since I am chiefly a small game hunter, the biggest expense is gas for driving to my hunting grounds.  The guns I own I can sell for about what I paid for them (a lot more in some cases).  Ammo has gotten a lot more expensive, but I stockpiled some and will start rolling my own next year.  If I came into serious money I would buy a chunk of land to hunt on, but that is pretty unlikely.

I think that you will want to figure out ways to keep your expenses as low as possible.  I suspect there are limited opportunities for doing so.  A bigger part of this is just enjoying your hobby and not worrying about it, within reason.  How much less rich would your lie be if you never snowboarded again?  When you get old and decrepit and cannot snowboard any more, will you miss the experience more than the money you would have saved by not boarding?  Money is not an end in itself unless you are Scrooge McDuck.

Jamesqf

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2013, 09:41:28 PM »
Specifically for snowboarding, buy a pair of snowshoes.  Then find local hills, climb up, snowboard down, repeat until exhausted.  I do the up-down with cross-country skis, since I love to telemark in untracked powder.

NinetyFour

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 10:13:12 PM »
I have been spending about $1200 per year on ice hockey. That includes traveling to a couple of tournaments each year and occasional new sticks, tape, and other gear.  Much of my equipment should have been replaced at least a year ago, but I keep pushing off those purchases.

I don't really budget for this hobby in any particular way.  It's very important to me, though.  It provides me with exercise, sometimes a place to take out hostility (I ended up in the sin bin for 2 minutes tonight), and a perfect amount of socialization (enough, but not too much).  It's both exercise and therapy, in a way.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2013, 10:46:40 PM »
This will at first sound not-similar, but it is! Our church shut down today because we (as a congregation) weren't donating enough to cover its expenses, which brought up for me essentially the same question:

How much to spend on something not physically necessary for me, but which brings wild amounts of peace, joy, happiness, clarity to my life? Where do we draw the line, and how?

Divvied up amongst members, every Sunday would require $30. I keep a reasonably lean budget, and skip luxuries like extra square footage, furniture, etc. So $30 for a one hour service and the option to request a pastoral care visit now and then sounds enormous to me. I've donated about half that amount over the year.

::Long pause in typing::  I just had a total epiphany. For a year I've been telling myself I don't have $30 to spend on something I know brings me clarity, joy, happiness, growth, etc. But I did spend $2000 on a personal growth class that I barely accessed (granted, this was before I found this church), and another $800 on a business support course that I also barely accessed.

So, apparently my thought process on funding my expensive hobbies is something along the lines of: Impulse spend on the growth courses that ask for it up front, thus leave very little for those I actually follow through on accessing. Argh.

Thanks for raising my consciousness with your question, ajmers! I see I need to reevaluate this piece, in order to entirely reverse my approach.

hybrid

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 07:30:27 AM »
The expensive hobby I came to MMM with is golf.  As in, 7K a year to be a member of my local country club (that 7K included a lot of food and beverage, at restaurant prices of course).  We dropped the club at the end of June.  Turns out though that the volunteer work I did for the club on the side over the years (IT related) was still needed, so the club and I have an informal arrangement.  I still do some work for them as needed, and I get compensated with greens fees (which I use at the rate of about one per month).

Perhaps the snowboarder has a skill he can barter at some of the local slopes?

MoneyCat

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 09:19:26 AM »
I enjoy going to professional soccer games, so I pay for my season tickets with credit card cashback that I save up during the year.  If it's something you are really passionate about, you can find a way to fund it without becoming anti-Mustachian.

Cinder

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Re: Who has an expensive hobby? (hand raised)
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 10:12:23 AM »
I'm adding another criterion to what I need in a house: 'has own mountain'.
And, of course, there's always saving money on snowboarding itself.  I've never done it myself, but perhaps you can get better rates on slope time by going with a group?  Or perhaps you could become an occasional snowboard instructor?  I don't know how these people are contracted, but it may come in exchange with some free access.

I was going to suggest this exact thing.  I still spend a decent chunk on snowboarding (~ $680 on season passes for both myself and my wife at our local ski resort).  We already have all of our gear (picked up at the once a year 'ski swap' where you can get great deals on peoples used equipment).  As a bonus, my pre-existing cold weather clothing make my winter bike commute less expensive since I don't need to acquire much new gear!

I knew someone who worked there.  They get free 'mountain money' which can be used to pay for things, their season pass is covered, and they make a bit of money on the side as well.  I don't know a ton of info about minimum hours required, etc..

If I were FIRE today, I would do that as a part time 'job' during the week.  Lots of times if you are an instructor there are no students/lessons, so you can just go play on the mountain.  Also... I've found that teaching is the best way to properly learn/hone your craft in almost any activity, so learning how to teach others to be successful can improve your ability as well!


Villanelle

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 10:28:22 AM »
I don't have a budget.  Never have.  And I'm not just referring to my hobbies; I'm talking all spending. 

I evaluate each and every purchase on it's own merits.  For me, that's not only easier, but I think it may actually keep my spending down. If I have a $500 annual clothing budget and I've only spent $275, then that remaining $225 is practically begging to be spent.  OTOH, if I've already spent $275 on clothes but I haven't given myself blanket permission to spend another $225, then I am going to evaluate each decision as carefully as I did the first $275's worth of decisions.

Anyway, this is extended to my hobby budget.  Right now, my hobby is traveling.  When Dh and I found out we were moving to Europe, we talked about it and decided that we were willing to spend a *lot* of money on travel for the fairly short time (2-3 years) we will be here.  If it means working an extra year or two down the road, that's perfectly fine.  We try to make reasonable decisions on each trip (cheap hotels or apartments, public transport or walking whenever possible, looking for free tours or activities, etc.), and we often decide where to go based on where Skyscanner tells us we can get cheap tickets to, but we don't limit the number of trips or the things we really want to see based on money.  At all.

No idea what we've spent this year, but I am sure it is well over $5000.  That's 12 countries, probably 25 or so cities (some weekend or long day trips), and the best year of our lives together.  And we are still saving a significant portion of our income. 

Lina

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 10:58:53 AM »
I have done triathlons during the last three years. I haven't a specific budget for that but I have limited it to one competition per year. I also decided that because it is important to me I can spend as much as I can justify to myself. Because I have prioritized exercising I am basically never eating out when it is not required because of my work or I am traveling. I have also minimized my fixed expenses, telephone and electricity bills. I save some but I could save a lot if I didn't train for triathlon and traveled. I have also focused on growing my income.

So my advice is that you decide what is important for you and prioritize accordingly.

ajmers

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2013, 11:36:19 AM »
Quote
If I were FIRE today, I would do that as a part time 'job' during the week.  Lots of times if you are an instructor there are no students/lessons, so you can just go play on the mountain.  Also... I've found that teaching is the best way to properly learn/hone your craft in almost any activity, so learning how to teach others to be successful can improve your ability as well!

I would LOVE to snowboard instruct on weekends or when I retire. Most places require you to go through instructor training, right? If I could I'd try to do that weekend even this winter at a small local place.

I

nawhite

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2013, 11:38:59 AM »
Figure out how to do what you love more cheaply. I'm a big snowboarder. Got 26 days last year and I'm going for 40 this year. The trick is figure out what all of the costs are and figure out how to do them cheaper.

1. GET A SEASON PASS somewhere local! And then USE IT! Even better, buy it in June when prices are lowest. Most season passes out west pay for themselves in about 5 days of lift tickets. On the east coast it is closer to 8-10 days for the season pass to be more worth it. Every day after you have covered the cost of the pass is free. Your average price per day goes down incredibly.

2. Never buy new gear at full retail price. Ask for gear for Christmas. Check out sale sites like The Clymb (Its Groupon for gear. Feel free to use my invite if you need one: https://www.theclymb.com/invite-from/NikWhite). Go to "End of Season" sales with a plan in mind.

3. Take care of your gear so it stays in good shape for many seasons. I got over 150 days out of my last board and then sold it for $50. Learn how to wax and sharpen your gear yourself as you'll do a better job than most shops anyway.

3. Bring your lunch so you don't have to pay resort prices.

4. Carpool with friends or with people on craigslist (there are ALWAYS people looking to split rides on there in Colorado).

Following these guidelines I'm around $35/day of skiing including amortized season pass, amortized cost of gear, and car wear and tear. And the more I go the lower that number is. If you want to have a cheaper cost/day, you need to go more often (buy more to save more I know :-) )

scrubbyfish

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2013, 01:00:50 PM »
I don't have a budget.  [...] I evaluate each and every purchase on it's own merits.  For me, that's not only easier, but I think it may actually keep my spending down.

I found this very helpful, Villanelle. Thanks for sharing that. It's similar to (the good part of) what I do, and helps me tweak my approach further.

Empire Business

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2013, 01:57:23 PM »
My husband became a part time ski instructor and receives a free season pass as a benefit.

Fuzz

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2013, 04:16:26 PM »
Specifically for snowboarding, buy a pair of snowshoes.  Then find local hills, climb up, snowboard down, repeat until exhausted.  I do the up-down with cross-country skis, since I love to telemark in untracked powder.

And take the avalanche level 1 course ($300) and get a shovel beacon probe ($300 is a nice price) and find peeps to go with. If you like, get a splitboard, the right bindings, skins, and poles ($400 used), and...

I budgeted for a backcountry set up this year and am sort of regretting it. I think I'll get out in the backcountry ~10 times this year and probably spent $1000 on all the gear and the avalanche safety class. The rationale is that I'll use the gear for more than 1 year and more than 1 sport. I think learning the snow science is cool and worth paying for. In my ski town, if you don't know that stuff and haven't taken an avy course no one will go with you.  Wow, I sound a little defensive.

Anyway, I'm curious about MMM's snowboarding. He hasn't mentioned it as part of his annual budget, although he did do a breakdown of a pretty sweet trip to Baker.

It's hard to snowboard cheaply, unless you already know a lot, have all the gear, live in the mountains and want to work at the ski hill. I wish there was a better solution.


Cinder

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2013, 07:24:18 PM »
It's hard to snowboard cheaply, unless you already know a lot, have all the gear, live in the mountains and want to work at the ski hill. I wish there was a better solution.

When I first started, My brother had his board laying around not being used.  I just bought boots (his were eaten by mice), and I already had some cold weather gear (lots of wool) from tall ship sailing. 

I went to the local hill, bought the 'all day pass' special for $20, tried for 10 min and gave up... and got a personal lesson.  The instructor said I learned as much as most people do in 3~4 lessons.  I'm just glad I didn't have to unlearn any bad habits from trying to figure it out myself!

SwordGuy

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2013, 08:06:34 PM »
I'm learning to make jewelry.  I'm not satisfied with just buying some beads and wire and stringing them together, I actually like to make the items rather than assemble them.

The tools can be quite expensive and there are a lot of them if you want to be able to make most anything.

How do I justify it?  Well, we're not FI but we've socked away a goodly bit and we're upping our savings percentage every year.   We're pretty frugual on all the big expenses (house, cars, clothes, food, consumer junk), so that frees up a goodly bit for other types of fun.

The biggest reason is that I really enjoy it and it keeps me sane.   I like the community of artists, they are good folks to hang out with.

It will take a few more years of practice for me to get proficient at it and make items at a level of quality that will satisfy me.  I believe I'll be able to make money from this in a few years thru teaching classes and thru selling the items that I make.  If not, I'll still be having fun well into my retirement years. :)

I've already made some money from teaching intro classes which I used to offset the cost of some tools.  I've cut back on that simply so I can focus on spending more time making instead of teaching prep and teaching.  I think it will pay back faster that way.  I also know how to write well, particularly technical how-to material, so I'll be putting together some articles and a book as time goes by.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2013, 08:44:14 PM »
The expensive hobby I came to MMM with is golf.  As in, 7K a year to be a member of my local country club (that 7K included a lot of food and beverage, at restaurant prices of course).  We dropped the club at the end of June.  Turns out though that the volunteer work I did for the club on the side over the years (IT related) was still needed, so the club and I have an informal arrangement.  I still do some work for them as needed, and I get compensated with greens fees (which I use at the rate of about one per month).

Perhaps the snowboarder has a skill he can barter at some of the local slopes?
That's awesome, I hope to be able to find an arrangement of that sort in retirement.

Karl_H

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2013, 06:46:09 AM »
My expensive hobby is climbing/mountaineering/hiking/back-country skiing. 

As there is no real substitute that provides the same highs or better value for me, I consider this to be essential to my long term happiness.  In fact, my life long goals list is little more than a climber's tick list.  Therefore, nearly all of my limited vacation time (most precious resource) goes to these hobbies.

Once the decision has been made to engage in a new hobby, I ask myself the following questions:
- What is the minimum capital investment that I need to achieve my goals? (crampons, ice axe, rope, etc.)
- How can I minimize the recurring costs of these hobbies, while maintaining or increasing the amount of pleasure derived during each subsequent outing?  (buying more durable or versatile gear, moving closer to the mountains, obtaining specialized training, becoming more badass, etc)

dude

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2013, 07:32:49 AM »
Specifically for snowboarding, buy a pair of snowshoes.  Then find local hills, climb up, snowboard down, repeat until exhausted.  I do the up-down with cross-country skis, since I love to telemark in untracked powder.

+1 -- if you're in the Northeast, the Whites and Greens are fantastic playgrounds for backcountry riding.  Check out Dave Goodman's book series "Backcountry Skiing Adventures" which cover most of New England and New York.  Also, check out this website for some stoke by a group of guys in VT who get after it hard:

www.famousinternetskiers.com

and www.timefortuckerman.com for info on Mt. Washington bc riding info.

There is a huge playground out there for the properly motivated.  But don't venture into the bc unprepared.  Shell out the required $$$ for avalanche education and the gear (beacon, probe, shovel) and seek out beta from others who are experienced.

Cooperd0g

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2013, 07:48:34 AM »
I second the vote for going backcountry and also becoming an instructor or patrol. If you are unable to do those do to logistics then just consider it your indulgence and trim back in other areas. Hobbies can take time and money so I try and keep them limited or cheap. Ones with start up costs in equipment are better than ones with ongoing costs. Also, season passes are generally cheaper than paying for each lift ticket.

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2013, 08:03:33 AM »
Quote
If I were FIRE today, I would do that as a part time 'job' during the week.  Lots of times if you are an instructor there are no students/lessons, so you can just go play on the mountain.  Also... I've found that teaching is the best way to properly learn/hone your craft in almost any activity, so learning how to teach others to be successful can improve your ability as well!

I would LOVE to snowboard instruct on weekends or when I retire. Most places require you to go through instructor training, right? If I could I'd try to do that weekend even this winter at a small local place.

I

If they do require instructor training, I imagine it's not too arduous or expensive depending on the mountain. When I took a 30 minute lesson a few years ago, my instructor was a 16 year old kid. He wasn't even that good of a teacher. I'm sure they would have hired you.

kaetana

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2013, 01:08:49 AM »
My expensive hobby is languages. I've spent about $1500 in the last year and a half on Spanish classes, not including textbooks. I've bought Spanish books, Spanish graphic novels, Spanish magazines, Spanish food, Spanish everything. I also just came home from a two-week immersion experience in Spain where I went to school every day to learn Spanish. On top of these, I've also been paying for informal tutoring every week via Skype. A related expense is the master's degree I recently started (I've just finished one semester) in Linguistics, which set me back $2600.

To be honest, I don't regret spending as much as I have. Was it Mustachian? Probably not. But I got genuine pleasure out of learning the language, and I can really say that I put every dollar I've spent to good use. I now speak Spanish fluently (although not perfectly) and I would never regret the experiences I've had. Going forward, however, I've decided that I need to dial down my language learning-related expenses. I'm going to stop going to Spanish classes and instead continue the tutoring by Skype, which is drastically cheaper (at only ~$6-10 per lesson) and seek out cheaper and more natural experiences with the Spanish community here.

I'm also considering giving up the master's degree, or at least putting it on hold. Although I enjoyed it and aced my class, we can't really afford it at the moment without taking out a student loan to cover it. We're lucky here in Australia to have interest-free loans, but I keep telling myself it doesn't make sense to borrow for something that is clearly a luxury... right? I may need some facepunching here.

annaraven

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Re: Funding expensive hobbies - what's your thought process?
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2013, 01:52:10 AM »
I consider my fiber arts an expensive hobby. A loom, a spinning wheel, classes... they're expensive. The fiber themselves cost for decent stuff. OTOH - I can *make* gifts for everyone (kitchen towels and napkins, mittens for my grandson, a hat to keep my husband warm in the recent cold-snap, a fedora for my hipster daughter.) And now that I know how to spin, I can make the fabrics I want and have stuff that really truly fits and doesn't set off my allergies. (I'm the only person I know who is allergic to linen!)

So - yeah - expensive, especially for the startup costs. But soul-satisfying and more than just entertainment, because I can make stuff rather than buying it.