This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I like to brew my own beer. I haven’t done very much of it, but have found it is a pretty fun hobby which allows me to drink beer, something which I enjoy. Cost-wise, after 3 batches of beer I have essentially “paid for” my initial equipment investment, as I can make a 650 ml bottle of beer for around $0.60, compared to $2 at the beer or liquor store in Ontario.
The problem that I am having, which is similar to how most hobbies go – whether it’s golf or fishing or knitting (which my wife loves to do) is that at a certain point you want to specialize more, and this generally costs money.
My previous few brews have all been made through extracts, or those cans of stuff you can buy at some grocery stores. I would like to get into all grain brewing, which would allow me more flexibility to make my own recipes and to actually “brew” beer, rather than just dumping a can of stuff into a pot. Much like cooking food, I would rather make my beer “from scratch”.
In total, to upgrade my current setup to be able to brew beer right from grains (rather than the cans of stuff) will cost approximately $200 – for a place to let my beer “steep”, a big brew kettle to boil water and wort (the steeped grains), a stir table to propagate yeast, and a place to control fermentation temperature while the beer is brewing.
I have come across this sort of high cost hobby in the past (and present) through golfing. I really like to golf, but it is kind of in opposition of the rest of my lifestyle – it has a high per use cost through green-fees, balls, tees and equipment. I have found in the past that I essentially have to stick to a budget that I set out in the beginning of the season – if I budget $500 for golf for the year, I generally make sure that I don’t spend more than this during the year.
It is easy to get swept up in a hobby – to spend too much through excitement of the new activity you’re into. Part of the fun with a hobby like this is to get as much return out of as little investment as possible. This strategy generally means a lot of internet research regarding jury-rigging together equipment rather than buying it, causing a significant delay in start-up as it will take weeks or months to gather all of the materials together.
So, my brewing stuff will not look pretty but it should function just as well as store-bought stuff. The new equipment will reduce my costs (eventually) as well as allow me to learn to build the interesting gear needed for my hobby (which is part of the fun of doing something like this for me).
Do you have hobbies? Has a hobby sidetracked your financial plans? If not, how do you ensure the hobby does not alter your current or future financial plans?