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 Post subject: Paying for pleasure
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:21 am 
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This weekend, I played paintball for the second time in my life. It's fun, but expensive. I paid about $50 for nearly five hours of play time, or about $10/hour. (This does not count the mileage to-and-from the location. If I figure 50 cents a mile, that's another $30 or so.) This seems really high to me, but I'm willing to do it once every five years or so.

This got me wondering: What are some of the costs per hour of other recreational activities?

For example, I used to love playing World of Warcraft. I was addicted. That cost me about $15/month. If I played an hour a day -- which is what I limited myself to when I was trying to be good -- then I was paying 50 cents an hour. If I wasn't being good, if I was playing 90+ hours per month, then I was only paying about 15 cents per hour. If you computed the real-life value of my in-game assets, I was probably breaking even or making a miniscule profit. But I was wasting my life away, too.

I've already written how we pay about $1.00/hour to watch films via Netflix. This is much better than the $5-$7/hour to see films new in theaters, or the couple bucks an hour to watch television.

The most I've ever paid to have fun was the $100 I spent for a season of rec-league soccer. I ended up ripping out my ACL, which resulted in a surgery that cost me a couple thousand dollars, even after insurance. Let's call that $2,000 even for about 20 hours of rec time. That's $100/hour!

I wonder what other recreational activities cost.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:01 am 

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I do the same type of calculating for recreation like you're talking about.

As a family we decided not to join a pool b/c of the way the costs amortized out. (costs range from $400-800 a season for a family plan) We'd have to go every day for several hours to make it worthwhile and I'm just not a sit-by-the-pool kind of gal. The $30 baby pool from last year suits our needs just fine for this summer and we can alwyas pay a guest fee and go to our friends swim clubs.

I do this with just about all activities. We're going to an amusement park this week, $90 admission for 4 people but it's a once in a summer thing. I have fond memories of going to amusement parks as a kid and I want my children to have the same opportunities. That's a splurge for us.

Swim lessons equal out to $12 a half hour but it's teaching safety as well as fun so it's money well spent. Ballet lessons are cheaper but you have the cost of recital costumes. Then again, after the recital the costumes go in the dress up chest and are always a big hit at playdates.

We have little recreatrion without our children and when we do, we go out to eat. But we ask for gift certificates as gifts so that usually costs only a tip. Our netflix subscription was a birthday gift from a family member. Also, when asked about gifts for the kids, I suggest a few people go in together and get gift certificates for things like lessons, admission tickets to places like the Zoo etc. This only really works with family but it has cut our entertainment bill considerably. (also keeps a lot of toys out of the house)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:23 am 
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Interesting question. I'd never really thought of it that way but many of my hobbies are free or close to it.

Here are a few:

Rock Climbing: The equipment cost about $100 initially and was a one-time expense (until I start expanding to lead climbing and have to get ropes, anchors, etc.). To climb outside only costs the cost of gas and food for the day so that can vary depending on where you go. To climb inside costs anywhere from $12-$18/session and a session can be however long my arms can stand it - usually 2-3 hours.

Reading: Since I buy my books, this can cost anywhere from $2-$20 (usually on the lower end) and the time it takes me to read them depends on the book. But, I read them over and over so the cost of use goes down each time.

Road trips: I go on these occasionally - usually to the beach or the mountains. The cost involved is usually just gas and food (I try to take food with) and maybe an entry fee to a park, although I've purchased a national park pass which was $50 and good for a year (already paid for itself last summer).

Those are probably the things I do that cost the most. Most other activities are free or very cheap. It's an interesting way to look at it. It's also important to realize that if you're going to do something on a regular basis you're probably better off buying the equipment because it will be cheaper in the long run. That's why I purchased my climbing gear. I would have paid $5/session to rent uncomfortable stuff so I only had to climb 20 times to have it pay for itself.

I have a friend who plays paintball on a regular basis with his SWAT and Bureau buddies so he needed a high powered kit and he goes through hundreds of balls in a weekend. He got his own stuff because a) the stuff they rent isn't the quality it wants and 2) in the long run it was more cost effective to buy than to rent. Particularly the balls which he buys in bulk for really cheap getting a case for about what 100 costs at the range.

Same would go for sky diving which is a hobby I intend to take up at some point. The initial cost to get certified and buy a used rig is expensive - $2-$3k but once you are set it's only about $10/jump which isn't that bad when you compare it to the $150-200 per jump you pay to go tandem.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:13 am 
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Hobbies:

Swing Dancing: Normally 15 bucks for 3 hours, but we've gotten good at finding free dances or free music shows that we can just go dancing at

Fantasy Sports : About 50 bucks per year, and alot of hours spent on research, drafting, team management, and a great excuse to hang out with the guys at the bar watching games. I'm not sure if the bar counts as an expense of the hobby, but if it does, about 4 bucks and hour.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:20 am 
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sandycheeks wrote:
I do the same type of calculating for recreation like you're talking about.

As a family we decided not to join a pool b/c of the way the costs amortized out. (costs range from $400-800 a season for a family plan) We'd have to go every day for several hours to make it worthwhile and I'm just not a sit-by-the-pool kind of gal. The $30 baby pool from last year suits our needs just fine for this summer and we can alwyas pay a guest fee and go to our friends swim clubs.

I do this with just about all activities. We're going to an amusement park this week, $90 admission for 4 people but it's a once in a summer thing. I have fond memories of going to amusement parks as a kid and I want my children to have the same opportunities. That's a splurge for us.

Swim lessons equal out to $12 a half hour but it's teaching safety as well as fun so it's money well spent. Ballet lessons are cheaper but you have the cost of recital costumes. Then again, after the recital the costumes go in the dress up chest and are always a big hit at playdates.

We have little recreation without our children and when we do, we go out to eat. But we ask for gift certificates as gifts so that usually costs only a tip. Our netflix subscription was a birthday gift from a family member. Also, when asked about gifts for the kids, I suggest a few people go in together and get gift certificates for things like lessons, admission tickets to places like the Zoo etc. This only really works with family but it has cut our entertainment bill considerably. (also keeps a lot of toys out of the house)


Funny you should mention a pool, as we join a local pool (outdoor, so summer only) for around $300 and get huge value out of it... My wife and four kids go there to swim daily, and I accompany them on weekends and the occasional evening. If I were to work out an hourly rate, I guess it would look something like this:

5 days/week x 4 weeks/month x 3 months x 2 hours/day x 5 people = 600 person hours
3 days/week x 4 weeks/month x 3 months x 2 hours/day x 1 person = 72 person hours

$300 / 672 person hours = $0.446/person hour

Of course, I'm spreading that across family members, but if scale back up to the cost of a trip for the whole family (all six of us, two hours) we're still looking at under five and a half bucks for two hours of fun and exercise.

But I don't generally scale things like this.

JD: If you really enjoyed it, I can't believe that you'd limit yourself to once every 5 years given the relatively low cost. Would it kill you to blow $80 every year for something you seem to really like doing?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:31 am 

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nickel wrote:

Funny you should mention a pool, as we join a local pool (outdoor, so summer only) for around $300 and get huge value out of it... My wife and four kids go there to swim daily, and I accompany them on weekends and the occasional evening. If I were to work out an hourly rate, I guess it would look something like this:

5 days/week x 4 weeks/month x 3 months x 2 hours/day x 5 people = 600 person hours
3 days/week x 4 weeks/month x 3 months x 2 hours/day x 1 person = 72 person hours

$300 / 672 person hours = $0.446/person hour

Of course, I'm spreading that across family members, but if scale back up to the cost of a trip for the whole family (all six of us, two hours) we're still looking at under five and a half bucks for two hours of fun and exercise.

But I don't generally scale things like this.

JD: If you really enjoyed it, I can't believe that you'd limit yourself to once every 5 years given the relatively low cost. Would it kill you to blow $80 every year for something you seem to really like doing?


Yep, lots of people consider a pool membership a great value. If you have a large family and use it daily it sure can be. But for the size of our family and the amount we'd actually use it, it works out cheaper to pay a guest fee and be able to go to different pools.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:20 am 
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Quote:
Rock Climbing: The equipment cost about $100 initially and was a one-time expense (until I start expanding to lead climbing and have to get ropes, anchors, etc.). To climb outside only costs the cost of gas and food for the day so that can vary depending on where you go. To climb inside costs anywhere from $12-$18/session and a session can be however long my arms can stand it - usually 2-3 hours.


Yeah, I took up indoor climbing for about 6 months, spent about £120 in equipment and the cost was £7 a session. I think I went about 30 times for a couple of hours a go, so that works out to £5.50 an hour (approx $10?). I gave up when I split up with my boyfriend / climbing partner - I'm afraid of heights and I don't really trust anyone to be standing at the bottom ensuring I don't fall.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:42 am 
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When I was in Atlanta, there was this sports store called Galyan's out at Lenox Mall that had a 60 ft rock climbing wall w/ 3 difficulty levels.

Completely not-for-profit, they accepted donations. 3-5 bucks was the normal donation.

Compeletely fun and cheap way to do rock-climbing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:57 am 
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JerichoHill wrote:
When I was in Atlanta, there was this sports store called Galyan's out at Lenox Mall that had a 60 ft rock climbing wall w/ 3 difficulty levels.

Completely not-for-profit, they accepted donations. 3-5 bucks was the normal donation.

Compeletely fun and cheap way to do rock-climbing.


That's a great idea. I couldn't do it though. I've been to places like that and I feel like a spectacle because all the people in the store stop and stare at you! :shock: I prefer to fall when no one is paying attention. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:29 pm 
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If you really enjoyed it, I can't believe that you'd limit yourself to once every 5 years given the relatively low cost. Would it kill you to blow $80 every year for something you seem to really like doing?

Oh, I agree completely. Some of the guys out there did paintball every weekend, which I can't imagine doing. I only limit myself to once every five years, but that's all the sooner I can find a group to play with. It's a hell of a lot more fun with friends than with strangers, and it's somewhat difficult for me to find a group of 10-20 people who are willing to get shot at. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:26 pm 
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A lot of video games have a counter on them, so I know that my $3.50 rental of Super Paper Mario, we got about $0.17 cents an hour for the 20 hours we played it for the week we had it. (we're dedicated to the games that we rent) I dunno if I'll feel so god about rentals when our half price goes down to full price in a week or so.


But that doesn't take in accouhnt the price of the Wii, the Tv, the surround system, etc.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:15 pm 
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On the subject of paintball

http://www.warpig.com/paintball/recreational/trev/texrev.shtml

FUN TIMES

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:43 pm 
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Oooh---awesome, Stephen. I would have loved to do something like that.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 5:33 am 
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I've never looked at my entertainment expenses like this before.

Swim: One of the up sides of renting is that we have a really nice pool in our apartment complex we get to use. So the out of pocket, non-rent cost for us is $0!

Dance: $3/hour for ballroom or $5/hour swing if I can convince my fiance that we should really go. Lately, "we have to practice for the wedding" has been working really well. Ballet (which I haven't gone to in a little while), is $8/hour. Yikes.

Knitting: It really all depends on what I'm making - I could make a cashmere wrap with a yarn cost of $100 that takes me 2 hours to make, or I can knit a hat in 5 hours with $15 worth of acrylic. The sweater I made my dad for Christmas cost $98 (cotton/merino blend from knitpicks.com - which has fantastic prices for all of the knitters out there). Using my knitting machine to do the bulk of the work took me about 8 hours total: $12.25/hour. But at the end, I had a gift for my father that he really really likes. That's one of the things I like about having a hand craft for a hobby. When I'm done with it I have something I can use or give as a gift.

Moonlighting: I work at a Sur La Table (think williams-sonoma without the snobbery, but with more choices and better prices - surlatable.com) because I need the extra cash to help pay for the wedding, and I really enjoy helping people by talking to them about cooking stuff. Of course, there's the odd disgruntled customer, but people are generally nice because they see me as an expert (It's the magic of the apron...or maybe it's the manager hat I sometimes wear). There are definitely times when I don't want to go into work, but once I get there I get to make myself a cappucino or a virgin margarita if I like and if it's not busy, I just hang out and look at the new stuff we have. I won't work there forever, but it keeps me from getting too bored, and I really enjoy having the 40% discount. cost: +$12/hour (subtracting tax and stuff I buy with my discount)

Future Hobby: Once upon a time I took a martial art and I really want to start up again. It will have to wait until I stop working my evening job, but there are times I really wish I were going to the dojo instead of going to work. That cost will be about $6.25/hour if I do 3 hours a week, less if I go more often (still cheaper than ballet!).

Thanks for the post JD, this has been a really helpful exercise.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:48 am 

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I play open volleyball, which is $3 per night plus 40 miles driving. At 25c per mile, that's $13 for two hours of volleyball, which is great exercise--the only moderately high exercise I get. I suspect JD could calculate the savings due to better health in the future if I do this consistently...

If only there were more volleyball places closer to home on Mondays...

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