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How Much Is Your Hobby Costing You? Is It Worth It?

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Every single one of us tends to judge our friends’ spending habits. “They spent $3,000 on their weekend vacation? That’s crazy!” But, all the while, you may be spending $5 each day on our fancy Starbucks lattes, which probably isn’t the wisest way to spend your money either. No matter how irresponsible our friends are with their money, I am sure that there is something I can find in your bank transactions that is pretty stupid too. It is just human nature, and quite frankly, we all need to have some hobbies and they will ultimately cost us money.

Some Money Wasting Hobbies

  • Scrap-booking
  • Softball league
  • High-tech gadgets
  • Coffee/Lattes
  • Golfing
  • Dance
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Stamp collecting
  • Sports card collecting
  • Fashion (designer clothes, purses, accessories)
  • Home decor
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Shopping
  • Photography
  • Attending sporting events/plays/musicals
  • Bicycling/running

Did I mention a hobby that you can relate to yet? I hope so. Each one of us has something that we like to spend money on, and it gives us a little happiness when we do it. So it must be worth it, right? Well, maybe. For me, my favorite hobbies are golfing and bicycling/running, and I’m about to find out if the costs are worth it to me with a fairly simple calculation.

The Life-Long Costs of Your Hobby

What if I asked you if your latte was worth $5 to you? Some of you might say absolutely not, but most of you coffee lovers out there would say, “Absolutely!” After all, it wakes you up in the morning, that warm soothing feeling in your throat is to die for, and that smell just makes you smile every time! For a measly 5 bucks, you just can’t wait to buy the next cup tomorrow!

But, what if I asked you if that latte was worth $217,000 over the course of your life? Some of you die hard latte lovers might begin to reconsider your opinion. When you think of a latte as just $5 here and there, it’s easy to say that it’s totally worth it, but when you realize that if you would have invested that money instead that you could have had almost a quarter-of-a-million dollars…. now that is a little harder to swallow!

Now, don’t start to think that I’m looking down on your coffee drinkers. You might be stashing away $1,000 a month into investments and plan to retire on $5 million. For you, that latte still goes down smooth and you can’t wait to buy that next cup. I’m definitely okay with that. If, however, your retirement savings is only going to be $250,000 when you’re 65, you might want to make yourself a cup of coffee at home before driving off to work (instead of stopping for the premium blend on the way).

Like I said earlier, my weakness if golfing. For many, this is an expensive hobby, but for me, I am able to play for free (or actually, for the cost of gas, which equates to about $2 a week). So, if I spend $2 per week on golf for 30 years, how much money am I foregoing in my future? Put it in the calculator…. Looks like I am losing out on $17,000 over the course of my life. Based on the enjoyment I get from golfing and spending time with my friends and family, I’d say yeah, my golfing is definitely worth $17,000. If, however, this number came to $100,000 or more, then I may have pondered this whole golfing thing a little harder.

golf costs

Your Hobby Costs Calculated

What is it that you like to spend your money on? How much does it cost per month to participate in this hobby? Once you figure out your costs per month, open this investment calculator and put in the following values:

  • Your starting balance: $0
  • Annual Rate of Return: 10%
  • Monthly contribution: (enter your monthly cost here)
  • How many years do you plan to contribute: 30 years
  • How much will your investment be worth in: 30 years

Click on “Show Results” and you should see your number in big bold letters. Share your hobby and your number in the comments below! Do you think your hobby/habit is worth it? Why or why not?

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

7 Comments

  1. My husband absolutely loves classic cars especially old Volkswagens. Last year, he bought himself a 1968 Beetle and he spent a lot of time and money fixing it up for it to basically sit in the garage month after month. Luckily, he realised he was spending far too much money on it and not getting that much enjoyment out of it as he just didn’t have time to drive it very often. He decided to sell it and just about broke even on it.
    He now goes to quite a few classic car rallies throughout the year to indulge in his passion and gets far more enjoyment out of this and spends less money.

    • Sounds like a good compromise for himself! He doesn’t have to do any of the work, but gets to enjoy some polished classic cars. Nice!

  2. I crochet…when I added up what I’ve spent on yarn & tools in the last 18 months & then averaged it out monthly, it came to about $61/month. I only started crocheting again a year and a half ago (did it when I was a kid), and I’m turning 39 this year, so I put in 25 years instead of 30 for the calculator. My grand total? $79K. Yowza.
    I make things for myself and for other people when I’m crocheting. Most of what I make are gifts. Many things I make are wearable, and some items I donate. Also – I’m an introvert with obsessive compulsive tendencies, so crochet really is therapy for me. There’s nothing quite like sitting quietly and counting stitches to calm me and to wash away the day.
    SO. Even though $79K is a lot of money, here’s how I see it – multiple therapy sessions AND gifts and usable items for myself & others & charity for $61/month = TOTALLY WORTH IT! 🙂

    • I agree Dolores. It definitely sounds worth it – especially since you are crocheting for gifts and donations, and for the therapy of course! Plus, I assume that you are stashing away cash into your retirement fund at a pretty good rate anyway, right? 🙂

      • Yup! I get 5% “free” in addition to a 5% match from my employer (pretty damn awesome). I’m putting in 10% from every paycheck, so that brings me up to 20%. I also put in as much as I can to an IRA each year come tax-time, which turns out to be about 3% pre-tax income – brings me to a grand total of ~23%. I’m still young(-sh), so I’m relatively aggressive with my 403b investments and I’m getting good returns as well. (And yes, I’ll keep an eye on my investments & will adjust my strategy as I get older, but I’m going to ride the aggressive wave for now!)

  3. That investment calculator tool is pretty cool, Derek. Thanks! I don’t have any particular hobby I spend a lot of money on but one of my cousins LOVE collecting albums and merchandise of her favorite band. She’s spend hundreds of dollars on CDs alone and recently, she spent around $80 for VIP concert tickets and concert goods. I keep telling her she’d do better to save her money for her future but she wouldn’t listen, she keeps saying it’s just a hobby. I’m thinking this calculator will help her change her mind! 😀

    • You are probably right Alex, but I have learned that if someone doesn’t ask for your advice, then chances are they aren’t going to listen anyway. I stopped giving advice a while ago for that reason. If, however, someone comes to me with a question or would like some help, I am more than willing to let them know my opinions! 🙂


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