How much does your hobby actually cost?
While hobbies can be a great way to explore interests and in some cases, test the waters for a future career, they can also put a serious dent in even the most well-intentioned budget. Between registration fees, equipment purchases and in some cases travel, a bit of R&R can span into P&L territory. Before you say yes to those swing dance lessons, read on to see just how quickly playtime can add up.
Hey, big spender. Care to spend a little cash on your music obsession? Let’s start on the smaller end of the scale, with individual songs (priced at 99 cents and up, each, on Amazon and iTunes) before moving on to albums ($15, depending on the artist). Noise-canceling headphones will help you hear every note crystal clear, and set you back about $150 plus in the process.
Care to imbibe live? Expect to spend about $60 for balcony seats to a moderately popular act, and two to three times that for A-listers. And if your inner Jimi is ready to make his debut, plan on forking over about $100 per hour for a private lesson, and $200 (acoustic) to $400 (electric) for an entry-level guitar.
Whether you call it football or soccer, one thing’s for sure: the world’s most popular sport comes equipped with a hefty pricetag. Adult league fees range from $200 to $300 a season, with uniforms tallying about $200 on average (and don’t forget your cleats, which will run about $90).
Soccer superfan? A week at this year’s upcoming World Cup in Brazil will net you about $4,000 for a roundtrip flight from Boston, hotel, and nosebleed seat tickets to a few preliminary matches (the event itself lasts for a month).
The running, the biking, the swimming, oh, my! Plus: the running gear ($300 from head to toe, give or take a few dollars), the bicycle (anywhere from $500 for a basic model up to $5,000 and more for elite styles) and the pool (a monthly membership to a gym with a lap pool averages $150 a month in the Boston area; you’ll need a wetsuit for the actual raceday).
Entry fees vary, from $75 for a sprint (or condensed) triathlon, to $500 for Ironman. Don’t forget: an athlete in training is a hungry athlete, with room for injury. Expect to see your grocery bill and potentially medical co-pays rise, too.
We’ll peg dancing the night away at a club as an occasional, affordable–and sometimes, necessary — luxury, sure. But while a night out on the dance floor might offer reprieve from the daily grind, becoming a prima ballerina doesn’t come cheaply. Drop-in fees for almost any discipline — ballet, tap, tango, and more — averages about $50 a class at traditional studios, plus registration and recital fees ($100 to $500) if you take it a two-step further.
You might make a mean marinara, but becoming a master chef will cost you. Drop-in cooking classes at places like the Boston Center for Adult Education average $55 each and $250 for a multi-week series, while a certificate from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts tallies almost $18,000 in total. Pots, pans, knives and, OK , aprons, range into the hundreds of dollars range. And don’t forget your ingredients, oh, budding gourmet. (Can you say “Lean Cuisine’’?)
While snagging a deal on a flash sale can feel victorious, watching the fashion finds of yesteryear pile up at the back of your closet is not. Amazon, Rue La La and even Craigslist might net you a bargain or two, but shopping for sport is a dangerous venture, doubly so if you’re spending with credit (often recommended when faring with sometimes hazy E-tail return policies) and browsing on your mobile device.
O, pioneer! We salute your efforts to take your free time outside, truly — even if it means dropping close to $1,000 to get properly suited up for a climb atop, say, Mount Washington, which includes things like boots, poles, backpacks, and, of course, snacks.
And with New England weather being seasonably unpredictable pretty much year-round, rock gyms seem like an ideal alternative — if you’ve got the annual $600 to pony up for a membership.
Etsy enthusiasts, beware: Taking a liking to tinkering in the tool shop has a nice ring to it (we think), but the act, err, art, of creation can quickly stack up.
First, the know-how: jewelry-making classes average $50 an hour, while budding Picassos can try their hand at the MFA in a series of classes at $250 a pop. Tools — paint brushes, easels, and everything in between — really run the gamut.
Plane, train, and automobile: Of these three, a car will take you far when it comes to short and local trips. But when you factor in gas ($50 for a full tank in a compact car), hotel ($90 per night on average, nationwide), and cash for sightseeing and other local activities, you’re looking at close to $500 for a quick weekend jaunt.
Nothing beats digging into the latest best-seller — especially within a like-minded group of people who want to discuss the plot over an ample spread. And that’s just it: With book clubs, you’re never just reading.
You’re buying (the book; hardcovers in the United States average $27 each), dining ($30 for a meal, plus beverage and starter at a mid-range restaurant) and traveling (a T-pass is still your best bet at $70 a month, but suburban destinations require gas money, or a Zipcar at $10-plus per hour).