The Cost of a New Hobby

Most South Africans have some sort of hobby or pastime that helps them unwind and with the New Year rolling around again soon, some of us will resolve to take up something new and exciting – whether it’s diving, skateboarding, music, or camping. And that means doling out extra cash.

Although there aren’t many figures detailing exactly how much South Africans spend on their hobbies, the start-up costs are usually the heaviest, such as becoming certified as a scuba diver or buying the actual equipment. Most South Africans spend at least 3% of their monthly income on leisure activities not including alcohol, transport and food (according to Stats SA), whereas true hobby enthusiasts can spend up to 25% of their salary maintaining their passion.

Some hobbies have heavy running costs – such as golfing.  The Huddle Park golf range offers packages from R110, whereas Houghton Golf Club charges visitors R570 to tee off. Golf lessons can cost over a thousand rand to get started, while a starter kit of golf clubs costs R3000. Then then are monthly caddy and green fees to consider. Kiteboarders on the other hand can enjoy the waves for free, but have to shell out at least R17,500 for a starter kit plus extra fees for roof racks or trailers to tote their gear.

The best advice that can be offered to new hobbyists is not to start out paying retail prices, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Gumtree South Africa. “This also rings true if you are purchasing gear for your children – who might lose interest much more quickly than anticipated. Becoming skilled at a hobby takes a lot of time and money and they may well lose enthusiasm for their new project along the way,” she says. “Buying second hand equipment gives you access to quality items – sometimes at 50% less than the retail value – so that you can start the hobby but minimize the risk that you will shell out thousands of rands for items that ultimately gather dust in the garage.”

Cobbledick also advises spending some time browsing the community and services classifieds to cut costs. “There are plenty of SMEs who offer transport for your gear or have started small clubs that offers free advice or gear hire.”

Gumtree recently introduced an online Sport and Leisure Pricing Guide that compares the average selling price of secondhand sporting gear to recent retail prices. “The guide also allows you to view real items for sale on the page and contact sellers for information,” says Cobbledick. “It’s a great way to plan for your new hobby.”

Cobbledick says that close to 120,000 visitors browse for sports and leisure bargains on the site every month. “If you buy your second hand gear and find that you don’t enjoy or don’t have as much time for a new hobby, it’s very easy to log on, check the second hand selling price and resell the items. You will likely recover 80-100% of the value of the item if it’s still in good condition, whereas someone who has bought an item for the full retail price will usually only recoup 50-75%.”

As to which hobby will enjoy the greatest uptake in 2016, Cobbledick says cycling is likely to remain on top. “Cycling is by far the most popular vertical on our site at the moment, particularly in the Western Cape. Apparently it’s the new golf!”

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