By Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet
NEW YORK (
) -- If you're like me, you're probably wondering how people can spend hundreds of dollars on a device like the
iPad when they probably don't need it and a better version will come out next year. This kind of spending is frivolous, to say the least. Yet, even these techies pale in comparison to some of the different kinds of hobbyists and collectors out there.
The hobbies on this list
. These individuals have spent thousands to indulge their hobbies.
: Betsy from Germantown, Md., is addicted to ballroom dancing. One year she spent $15,000 on the hobby, and says that may be low compared to some extreme ballroom dancers. "I knew ladies at the first studio who put second mortgages on their houses to pay for ballroom lessons," she says.
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So how exactly do you spend that much money just to dance? It's all about the competitions. "Competition costs started around $1,500 and quite commonly went to $5,000, and $15,000 if going cross-country to a 'name' competition," she says. Dancing lessons in Knoxville, Tenn., where she lived, typically cost her $60 to $150 an hour. And that doesn't even take into account the price of ballroom dresses, which can run into the thousands.
Betsy recommends shopping for ballroom dresses on
and videotaping your dancing lessons when possible so you can get more for your money.
Comic book collecting
: When it comes to hobbies, few are as intense as comic book collecting. Earlier this year, a Batman comic from 1939 sold for more than $1 million. As if that weren't insane enough, the first issue of Superman sold for $1.5 million last month, shattering the record. So, who exactly are these people who spend millions on comics?
According to ComicsConnect, the company that auctioned off the Superman comic, many wealthy entrepreneurs today used to be big geeks when they were kids. Now all they want to spend their money on is comic books.
"The customer who bought the Superman comic was a big comic book fan. He's also bought valuable books, but nothing even close to that
price," says Stephen Fisher, the founder of ComicConnect. When he's not selling million-dollar comics, Fisher works on building up his own pricey collection. "I've been collecting comics since I was about 5 years old," he told MainStreet. "I've bought original comic art for around $100,000 and I own the world's most valuable movie poster, a 1931 Frankenstein 6-Sheet." Fisher did not say how much he paid for it, but he did say that today it is worth at least $1 million.
Fisher recommends that you just buy what you can afford and enjoy. "If you buy what you appreciate and hold onto it for a while, you'll generally do pretty well."
: Tornado chasing, like any pursuit that involves lots of traveling, can be very expensive. On top of that, many storm chasers spend a good amount of money on cameras and other equipment to get footage. Still, this hobby provides a thrill for adventure seekers. As one
points out, there is a small chance that a weather channel might buy some of the footage you capture while chasing the storm, but it's competitive and you probably won't make much money from this.
: Some people will do anything to get the perfect brew. Tony Harrison spends $2,000 or more a year to homebrew his own beer once a month (last year, he spent a little less because of the poor economy). Most of that money goes toward the equipment -- bottles, hoses and buckets to manufacture the beer. Harrison once spent $300 to brew "an imperial IPA," though that yields gallons of beer.
While Harrison's hobby might seem expensive to some, it's nothing compared to what it can cost to be a moonshiner. As we've reported, moonshine stills can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $250,000. If you are interested in brewing your own drinks, check out this step-by-step guide from
on how to do it cheaply.
: Skydiving may be the most expensive hobby when you divide what you pay by how long the activity lasts. On average, a single tandem jump costs about $150-250, and lasts for less than a minute. Some places will offer package deals of 7-10 jumps for about $1,500, which is a better rate, but still pricey. However, if you are really serious about this hobby, the best thing to do is become certified. It might take some time, but in the long run, it will save you money. We found
that charges $1,500. And after you're certified, jumps can cost less than $20 each. Plus, I'd assume it's a great conversation starter at parties. I wouldn't really know though - I don't skydive or go to parties.
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This article was written by a staff member of MainStreet.com.