Can You Afford It? 5 Hobbies That Can Cost Big

football sports

Everyone has different hobbies, and that’s what makes dinner parties so interesting. Or, depending on where you are sitting, perhaps some hobbies are what make dinner parties pure torture. Very few people have the same exact interests, and yet, many of us share at least one hobby, which allows us to make lasting friendships and relationships. While some hobbies are affordable and can be done regularly, other hobbies are so expensive that very few people can do them at all. Many people participate in hobbies at both ends of the spectrum: perhaps they crochet regularly, but travel around the world to various gorgeous and unique locations only once every few years.

While there are some hobbies that only the super rich can enjoy (think: private jets, race car driving, collecting famous art, caring for exotic pets, etc.), this article considers five expensive hobbies that are not absurdly out of reach to most Americans. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly an interesting one.

1. Buying Sports Season Tickets

Americans love sports, and often, the best way to truly enjoy a sport is to watch it live. Yet, attending even one professional game can be expensive, and the cost of buying seasons tickets can be astronomical. For the NFL 2013 season, the average cost for general season ticket holders is $82 per ticket. There are 16 regular season games per season, and that means that fans are paying an average of $1,312 per season (which doesn’t even count playoff games or pre-season games.) Season tickets to NBA basketball games can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and season tickets to the NHL can cost from $3,000 all the way to $20,000-plus.


2. Brewing Your Own Beer

There’s something special about brewing your own beer; it feels like an accomplishment, and perhaps an adventure into perceived masculinity. Many of us know friends who beer their own beer, so it may be surprising to know that this can be an extremely expensive hobby. According to Mintlife, a person who purchases a decent (but not amazing) six-pack of beer per week spends roughly $364 per year plus tax. On the other hand, a basic brew making kit costs $100 or more. Once you add all the extras — an ingredient kit, liquid yeast, bottles and caps — a batch of homemade brew will cost closer to $150 ($141.25 or $16.96 per pack according to MintLife). That is one expensive pack of beer!

Since you save money each time you make another brew, you can save money overall. But when you consider the amount of time you are using versus just buying beer at the store, this can become an expensive hobby. Plus, if you choose to invest in some of the wonderfully expensive extra gadgets, like a super expensive home brewing kit costing $4,000 or more, this hobby really does add up.

Parachuters, skydiving

3. Skydiving

Yes, this one does sound like a lot of fun. Many of us even have skydiving on our bucket list (before we turn 30, before we turn 40, 60, etc.) If this particular hobby is on your cross-off list, you will probably only be down a few hundred dollars. However, if skydiving becomes one of your frequent hobbies, you could be dropping some serious cash. There are actual skydiving competitions, including the U.S. Parachute Association’s National competition, USPA Nationals. The competition includes 14 different events, over 500 skydivers, and takes place over two weeks.

In addition to paying for training, in 2012, competitors paid a $50 registration fee plus jump fees for each event ranging from $22 to $150-plus. In addition, for those who participate in skydiving regularly and want to own their own gear, a complete parachute system with an Automatic Activation device costs between $2,000-$6,000 dollars.

Horseback Riding

4. Horseback Riding

There is something elegant, sophisticated, and beautiful about horses. Those people who learn to ride them seem to exist in a class of their own; it takes such dexterity and practice to achieve greatness when riding a horse. Initial lessons can cost $30-plus per hour for groups, and $80-plus for individual lessons. Regular lessons can really add up.

Once a rider is used to riding, they may choose to rent a horse from a private owner. Many owners will require a rider to sign a contract. The cost varies depending on the owner, but because most people who use a horse on loan do it regularly, this can be costly. Those riders who want to compete in competitions or shows will also have to purchase equipment, pay club membership dues, and pay for accommodations when traveling to shows.


5. Poker Games

From the $5 bet to the million dollar pot, poker can be as expensive or affordable as the players choose to make it. Over sixty million Americans play poker. Most people play for fun, and the pot rarely reaches a shout-worthy amount. Yet, a small loss to one person can be an uncomfortable loss to another. Poker has all the excitement necessary to make a fun night — whether it includes a few friends playing together or it’s a full out competition with heavy bets and multiple experienced players. When you mix cards, adrenaline, and often alcohol, you are sure to have a good time — at least until you lose more money than you wanted.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet: