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I was talking to an acquaintance the other day when he mentioned that his wife spends upwards of $500 per month on clothes.
Yes, I’m serious.
I immediately wondered how that was possible. After all, I probably spend somewhere near $500 per year on clothing for the four of us. Maybe a little more, but you get the picture. Spending $500 per month (or $125 per week) on clothing is insane.
But it isn’t out of the ordinary. Look around you and you’ll likely find people doing other crazy things with their money – like having an $800 car payment or eating at restaurants every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We all know how avoiding expensive hobbies like shopping can make a huge difference in your bottom line. Imagine what my friend’s wife could do with that $500 she’s spending monthly to cover her ass. Here is what I could do with that money:
- Put $6,000 in my health savings account
- Max out my Roth IRA
- Buy groceries for one year (spending $500 per month on my family of four)
- Put $6,000 in my kid’s college savings
The list goes on and on. For that reason, I think some expensive hobbies (like shopping) are incredibly overrated. For the amount of money people spend on pleasure, they could often retire years earlier, save for college, or save for some sort of dream goal.
5 Expensive Hobbies that are a Waste of Money
Of course shopping isn’t the only American pastime that breaks the bank. Here are five more expensive hobbies that are overrated:
WARNING: This post is full of sarcasm, but feel free to be offended.
Running in Organized Races
I’m going to slap the next person who tells me they paid $100 to run in the Color Run, Mad Person Run, Glow Run, Crazy Run, etc. (No, those probably aren’t the real names) Newflash: Running a 5K is free – you do not have to pay someone for the privilege. Just get out on the street and start moving.
And if you feel the need to roll in the mud afterward or carry a glow stick, please know that no one is stopping you.
Being a Sports Fan
Loving your favorite sports team doesn’t have to be expensive, but we often make it so. Let’s face it. Team Jerseys are what- $100? And heaven forbid you actually want to go to a game. If you do, you’ll likely have to hand over a hunk of change for that crappy seat in the nosebleed section. And don’t forget to set aside some money for tailgating with your friends before the big game.
No thank you.
I remember when people were convinced that Beanie Babies and Longaberger baskets were a good investment. Based on that lie, plenty of people I know spent thousands of dollars on casserole dish baskets, adorable weaved trashcans, and candy dishes. Now I often see Longaberger baskets at garage sales for a few bucks….and Beanie Babies are often free!
I admittedly love to travel, but it can be a huge waste of money if you don’t take advantage of credit card rewards. Some of the vacations I’ve paid for with rewards would cost upwards of $6,000 or more without points and miles. If those trips weren’t free or almost-free, those funds would essentially be wasted. Yes, experiences are worth money- but there is a limit.
Of course, some experiences are definitely worth more than others.
Going to Bars/Going Out to Eat
I recently paid $8.00 for a mixed drink on the Carnival Sensation and forked over another $6.50 the next week for a mango colada in Mexico. I shudder at the thought of how much money I have spent at bars since I turned 21, and how much money people continue to spend at them today.
Going out to eat can also be a huge waste of money if the conditions are right. I can’t tell you how many times we have shelled out $40 or $50 for a meal that wasn’t any better than something I could make at home. We try not to eat out very often, and part of the reason is because it usually is just not worth it.
5 Quick Ways to Maximize Your Money
Instead of blowing your money on silly hobbies, look for ways to maximize your income instead. Here are 5 quick ways to make the most of the money you already have.
- Personal Capital – This free app is home to our favorite money management tools. We’ve used them for years, helping us to get out of debt and build some serious wealth. Stay on budget with their free expense tracker, monitor the health of your investments all in one place, and watch your wealth grow by using their net worth tracker. The best part: They’re all FREE! Click here to join Personal Capital today!
- Free Retirement Account – Save for retirement and get your first $10,000 managed for free at Wealthfront. After that, annual management fees cost just 0.25% of your investment total. Wealthfront is a great tool for those who want a hands-off approach to investing. Just set up your account, determine your goals, and Wealthfront takes care of the rest. From tax-loss harvesting to portfolio rebalancing, Wealthfront does it all. Learn more about Wealthfront here!
- High Yield Savings Account – Want your money to work harder for you? Consider a high yield savings account at CIT Bank. Here, you may earn over 100x more than in your current savings account! Plus, you can open an account with just $100. How many brick and mortar banks allow that?
- Travel for Free – Don’t pay full price when you travel! Learn the secret sauce of using points and miles instead. Over the past few years, we’ve traveled to over 15 countries and made numerous domestic trips…all for pennies on the dollar. We’ll even teach you how to do it for FREE! Click here to get started on your FREE Travel Plan today!
The Bottom Line
There is nothing wrong with having a hobby (or several hobbies), but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your financial goals. If you have an expensive hobby you don’t want to give up, there’s nothing wrong with saying so. Just don’t pretend that it won’t hurt you in the long run.
If you can’t afford it, chances are it will.
What expensive hobbies do you think are a waste of money?