Choosing A Hobby

How Much Your Hobby Is Costing You

 

I realize that this is a very ‘personal’ matter. Some docs are more into sports, some into adventure and some prefer tinkering with things. I am going to scale hobbies from 1-5. Hobbies that are relatively inexpensive are 1 and those that can become very costly, 5.

Technology

Many forget this category, I will give it as a 3. It can become a huge drain on one’s finances. The tricky thing about it is that we are fooled into thinking we need it when in reality we just want it. The newest iPhone, the newest tablet, laptop, iwatch, iglasses, HDTV, sound system, fastest internet, best cable TV package etc. It’s not just the purchasing of the electronic device but the time needed to learn it, the headache involved when it doesn’t do what you want it to, the accessories that will be purchased, the ‘insurance’ that you will add to your monthly bill. Technology also tends to decrease your mind’s computing/thinking power because most technology is so ‘dumb’ that it requires a lot of user input. You could be reading a new book, socializing with friends/family yet you are sitting there trying to get your Samsung tablet to sync with your Samsung 3D TV and Samsung DVD player.

Home Renovation/Decorating

I give this a 4. Even though cost wise it’s probably a 3 there is a huge time factor and stress factor. Also, my hippy, tree hugging self thinks that most renovations and decorations tend to leave an ugly footprint on the planet. Us docs can get carried away with our homes. Some of these kitchens would make restaurant owners jealous. I don’t see a need to replicate a 5-star hotel’s bathroom in your own home. It’s far cheaper and a far better experience to just stay in that hotel every once in a while. The lawns and the landscaping can also get out of control.

Horses

I have friends who own them and then I have friends that ride. The former gets a 5 and the latter gets a 2. Once you decide to buy a horse you will also decide to purchase enough land to house the horse(s). You may instead rent the stable and buy the horse, that’s still expensive. Vet bills, accessories, the commute out to ride the horse, the time spent feeling guilty that you aren’t riding your horse etc. Instead, if you pay per ride or however the club functions that you go to you will generally come out ahead.

Boating

This is an easy one, usually 3-4. Most docs won’t buy a yacht so it won’t be a 5. But there is registration, dock rental, maintenance, cost of the boat, commute out to the marina and insurance. Also with boating sometimes comes the need to buy a Mack truck grade pickup truck which can get silly and out of hand quickly. Instead if one rents a boat on the occasion when a boat is desired it can be far cheaper, perhaps a 2. Renting can also be more environmentally friendly, less resource intensive and far less of a headache.

Canoeing

Generally a 2. If you end up buying some oversized SUV so you can transport your canoe or end up having to take really long drives to get to a place where you can use your canoe then perhaps a 3. If possible I say rent at the site that you like to canoe. If you are truly an avid canoer then try to make do with your regular car in which case purchasing the canoe makes sense.

Surfing

This is a 1. For the exercise, the equipment needed and the time commitment it’s probably one of the cheapest out there. Even if you go crazy buying surfboards which most people don’t you can transport them easily on the average family vehicle. There is a wetsuit that needs to be replaced every few years and besides the commute to the beach it’s a fantastic little hobby.

Biking

If you start competing then probably 2-3. If you are just doing it for fun or exercise then it’s a 1. I might even give this one a 0 which is cheating because we are using a 1-5 scale. If you use your bike for occasional commuting it saves you money, gives you free exercise, and  time to listed to an educational or mentally invigorating podcast. For more competitive folks there can be multiple $5,000+ bike purchases, constantly buying new gear and commuting far distances with a car to transport the bike(s).

Car Hobbies

I would say 4-5 if you are really doing it. If you just have a classic or clunker sitting in the garage that you tinker with every few months then that can be super cheap but that’s not really a hobby. Once you start looking for a house with a high ceiling garage, install a lift, get really good shop grade equipment, start constantly looking for the next classic car etc. you can easily have the cost get out of control. If you get into racing we are talking new tires, more expensive engine maintenance and of course the cost of the car. I will admit that the skills learned maintaining a car are very valuable but let’s not kid ourselves… most new cars are impossible for a home mechanic to work on.

Collecting

Some use the argument that this is a money-maker. In my opinion, if you think anything is a money-maker then it rarely falls under the hobby category and you should be able to produce a business plan for it. We are talking watches, stamps, toys, cars, jewelry, antiques etc. I would give this category 3-5. The time drain can be huge, it can of course get very cost prohibitive when you start dealing with $30,000 watches and similarly priced cars.

Woodworking

This one is a 1. Yes, it can become quite a bit higher but there is usually a space limiting factor. How many specialized saws and jigs can you fit in your garage after all? There is activity involved so that’s a plus. There is a lot of thinking and planning and learning going on… all good in my book. It’s always great learning a useful skill.

Traveling

Don’t need to really say much about this. If it’s a hobby then I would say it’s a 4. Even though with today’s credit card points games one can save some money you still have to make those regular purchases with your credit card to obtain those points. I’m also gonna go out on a limb here and say most traveling/vacationing that us Americans do are far more stressful and energy zapping as opposed to being invigorating or refreshing.

 

What are your hobbies?
Do you have a budget when it comes to it?

Share your thoughts...