How much does an hour of fun cost you?

Tracy's blog entry yesterday about the cost of dining out caused me to reflect on the costs of entertainment, because that's what dining out is for me; a social occasion. As such, how does it stack up with other forms of amusement, on a fun/hour basis?

My entertainments roll like this:

Dining out: The carte for my wife and I usually hovers around $25-28 when we meet friends at a restaurant. Add 10 miles of driving cost to reach $30. We might be there as long as an hour and a half, if the waiter is patient and the place uncrowded, so our fun per hour is $30(.5)/1.5, or $10.00 per hour.

Reading. I recently finished The Assassin's Wife by Margaret Atwood (great book), which I bought at Half-price Books for $4.98-- plus tax, $5.35. Add a buck for the trip to the store, $6.35. It took me around 15 hours to read, so my f/h = $0.42 per hour. I could have shaved this to almost nothing via the library, but they don't like it when I write in the margins.

We watch a lot of TV, perhaps 90 hours a month (mostly baseball for me) and have about a billion channels on our cable package. Our monthly bill is around $90. The big-ass televsion set us back around $600, and should last four years, I hope, or $10.50. This puts our television f/h at $1.14 per hour.

We do go to the movies occasionally, a 10 mile round trip ($5 for each of us). Add an $8 ticket for a two hour flick, and our movie excursions f/h is $6.50 per hour.

I enjoy flatwater kayaking, and will sometimes strike out for an afternoon's paddle, 3-4 hours. Travel is a killer, though; 60 miles round trip is a good average. I paid around $800 for my outfit, and expect it to last six years minimum, with 15-20 trips per year, or $6.67 per trip. $30+$6.67/4= fun/hour cost of $19.67 per hour. Ouch!

On the other hand, I live next to a bike path. My favorite bike is 10 years old and cost $400. Add in another $200 for clothing and maintenance to $600. Divide this by perhaps 1000 hours of riding, and the f/h turns out a thrifty $0.60 per hour.

I used to golf a lot, and if I were still addicted, my costs might look something like this: $30 per round times 25 rounds a year, a $100 new club, $250 for golf balls, and 30 miles round trip drive to each round, for a total of $1,425. Divided by 100 hours total playing ing (4 hours/round) ,golf's f/h = $14.25 per hour.

As you look over you budget for money holes, you might consider the entertainment cost/hour of your favored pasttimes. You might be in for a shock.

Anybody want to buy a kayak?

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