Fo­cus­ing your hobby spend

Kapiti Observer - - CONVERSATIONS - ROB STOCK MONEY MAT­TERS rob.stock@fair­fax­me­

Ev­ery­one’s got friends who spend a for­tune on the thing they love: be it mo­tor rac­ing, parachut­ing, ski­ing, sport, mu­sic, boat­ing, or col­lect­ing some­thing.

Hav­ing en­thu­si­asm for some­thing is good for you.

Spend­ing money on ‘‘ex­pe­ri­ences’’ cre­ates hap­pi­ness and is the pur­chase of mem­o­ries.

But it’s im­por­tant not to lie to your­self about how much you’re spend­ing on your hobby life.

Bik­ing the Karanga­hake Gorge sec­tion of the Hau­raki Rail Trail on Labour Week­end com­bined three of my favourite en­thu­si­asms: Be­ing on a bike, be­ing out­side, and this coun­try’s long, rich his­tory.

The sec­tion I rode went 24 kilo­me­tres from Paeroa to Waihi and took me through the drip­ping 1km-long tun­nel just next to Mack­ay­town, and then through the ru­ins of the old gold work­ings at the Vic­to­ria Bat­tery.

I can’t say I cut a very flash fig­ure.

I bike to work, so my ride looks


Food comes out of your lunch­box Wa­ter comes out of your bot­tle Cof­fee comes out of your flask well bro­ken in.

I sport the same com­fort­able baggy shorts whether on a rail trail or head­ing to work. Ly­cra’s not my thing. My old rain­coat re­mains trusty and wa­ter­proof, but you wouldn’t wear it for the Tour of South­land.

My fel­low trail-rid­ers were quite a con­trast in their new, flash form-fit­ting bike-wear.

They looked fine sit­ting in the Waikino Sta­tion Cafe sip­ping their mid-ride lat­tes and fork­ing up mouth­fuls of cake.

Their rides looked pris­tine ... sus­pi­ciously so.

I’m hap­pi­est when my leisure spend­ing is di­rected at my hobby, not the in­ci­den­tals like look­ing the part.

I also think fo­cus­ing on cost­per-use can help you avoid frit­ter­ing money to fill your garage with un­der-used toys.

Buy a $1000 bike and ac­cou­trements (hel­met, pump and tools), and use them 10 times, and your cost per ride is a lu­di­crous $100.

Use them 100 times and the cost per ride be­comes a much more ac­cept­able $10.

I once had a friend who failed con­stantly on the cost-per-use test.

His garage was filled with rarely-used stuff.

The mantra of ‘‘He who dies with the most toys’’ helps no­body pros­per.

Hob­by­ing can be ex­pen­sive, so avoid­ing ‘‘in­ci­den­tal’’ spend­ing

‘‘The mantra of 'He who dies with the most toys' helps no­body pros­per.’’

while hob­by­ing makes it eas­ier to bal­ance leisure spend­ing with the other im­por­tant things in life, like pay­ing off debt, and lay­ing down sav­ings.

One of the big­gest in­ci­den­tal spends peo­ple en­gage in is buy­ing food and drink while out.

My rules for a day out in­clude that cof­fee comes from your flask, drink comes from your wa­ter bot­tle, and food comes from your ruck­sack.

Some peo­ple claim there’s a magic rule-of-thumb to how much of your in­come you should ded­i­cate to your hob­bies.

I read once that 10 per cent is the right amount.

Non­sense. Rules of thumb are for chumps.

Life is all about bal­ance, and each of us has to de­cide what that bal­ance is.

Peo­ple need fun and hob­bies, but they also need sav­ings, an emer­gency fund, in­sur­ance, and a debt-free home.

Un­less you have a hu­mungous in­come, that means hav­ing a plan.

It also means not turn­ing a blind eye to the real cost of your hobby, but fac­tor­ing it into the fam­ily bud­get.

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