How to control spending on expensive hobby?

In my previous article, I talked about comic investment. The truth be told, I was more interested in comics as a hobby. Coming from an investment angle just gives me an excuse to openly spend lots of money that might be worthless to anyone except me! This brings up a bigger topic: expensive hobbies and how they can impact our early retirement plan.

As a hot blooded male, I understand the need for our species to engage in mindless obsession with expensive things that have no relevance to our life. Despite this understanding, I cannot control the urge to open my wallet everytime a shiny object in my hobby comes along. The worst thing is that we have so many things that can distract us: cars, fishing, toys, and for me comics!. None of this are cheap especially when you go into the high quality stuff.

The challenge here is how to balance our obsession with controlling spending to make sure we don’t waste every single cent on our expensive hobbies.The hopeless solution is to say that we will quit our hobby. That will never happen. All the pend up demand will eventually explode into excessive spending.

The trick is what I called controlled spending.

Every month, I set aside a certain budget to spend on my hobby. Interesting, the moment you have a budget, the buying desire actually decreases. My hypothesis on why this happens is that our brain switches from ‘not being able to buy something’ to ‘now I can take my time to choose what I want to spend on’. This subtle difference makes a huge impact on our consumption pattern! I strongly believe in this saying: the more you cannot have it, the more you desire it. By setting aside a fixed budget, it releases us from such mindset that might explode our spending more than we like.

How much that budget is really depends on the individual. For me, it is a percentage of my online earnings. Using this formula actually motivates me to work harder on my websites that takes me closer to fulfilling my early retirement plan. With a single stroke, I can enjoy my hobby and reaches my early retirement goal.

You are what you measure. That is an important fact of life. Things that don’t get quantified always ends up worse off. Marriage is one good example. Most of us don’t track how much time we are devoting to maintaining our relationship, which is why most marriages end up becoming less fulfilling as we grow older. So, if you know how to tie your hobby spending with something that you want to achieve in life, that relationship can help you a lot as you go about daily life.

2 thoughts on “How to control spending on expensive hobby?

  1. Aaron,

    Really enjoy reading your Comic Investing articles and this one regarding controlled spending is something I REALLY needed to read!

    Thank You!

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