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4 Expensive Hobbies that Regular Singaporeans Enjoy

expensive hobbies singapore

Joanne Poh

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Just because someone has a full range of Leica cameras doesn’t mean he can take pictures better than the guy with the dinky second hand film SLR from the 90s. The guy with the $100,000 Fender Stratocaster guitar formerly owned by an aging rock star can’t necessarily play better than the boy who’s practised till his fingers turned blue on a Yamaha.

But some hobbies, no matter how much you try to economise, are expensive, plan and simple. And we’re not just talking about cruising the skies in your private jet or adding to your diamond collection. Turn to the person next to you and there’s a high chance he indulges in one of the following expensive hobbies.

 

1. Golf

While golf used to be mainly the domain of wealthy country club members, a surprising number of Singaporeans are golf fans. Maybe it’s the allure of “businessman chic”.

At the very cheapest golf courses, you’ll be paying about $30 to $45 per session.

Country clubs are far more expensive. Just for one afternoon of golf, you’re looking at about $140 if you’re already a member of a particular club. On weekends and public holidays, the price can increase to $200 to $300.

On the other hand, memberships at golf course-equipped clubs generally start from $7,000 and go all the way up to almost $200,000.

 

2. Scuba diving

With so many fantastic tropical dive sites off Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, scuba diving is a popular Singaporean past time, and many people vanish over the weekend to go on dive trips.

To begin with, learning to dive and getting certified costs at least $400, but usually $550 to $600 on average. You’ll be made to attend classroom and pool lessons, and then travel to a dive site.

And because nobody really wants to dive in the murky waters off Singapore’s Pulau Hantu, every dive trip you go on will involve your travelling to a neighbouring country. You can either join an organised dive trip or travel independently to a location like Tioman.

Whatever it is, a single dive at, say, Tioman, costs about $50, and most people try to get in at least two or three dives per trip.

A typical (but no frills) 4D3N dive package to a Malaysian destination such as Redang Island costs around 500 SGD, including accommodation and equipment rental.

 

3. Casino gambling

In the US, kids want to grow up to become just like Superman or Batman. In Singapore, they want to become the God of Gamblers.

If you occasionally indulge in some Chinese New Year blackjack, you can’t really count gambling as a hobby.

But for local players who are serious about gaming, entry into the local casinos is a must. If you’re Singaporean or a permanent resident, that means you pay $100 each time.

At the swanky Marina Bay Sands casino, the minimum bet for most card games is $25. That means losing a single hand of blackjack, which will be over in, oh, all of 2 minutes, will cost you a full $25. At Resorts World Sentosa, the minimum bet can be as low as $10, which explains why it’s more popular with the uncle-auntie set.

In general, given the high entry fee, even the most conservative of gamblers will give themselves a budget of at least $400 to $500 to play with, so they have a shot at winning back the $100 they’ve spent to get in.

On the other hand, many average joes (i.e. people who are neither tycoons nor high rollers) come prepared to win or lose $1,000 to $3,000 every time they visit.

 

4. Motoring

No, we’re not talking about you and your Toyota Corolla with the child seat installed.

We’re talking about those people who take motoring seriously as a hobby.

If you’re not sure whether you’re a motoring enthusiast, one surefire way to know is to ask yourself if you’re a member of one of those motoring clubs that organise outings where their members drive their cars, usually of the same brand, en masse.

Whether you’re part of the Lancer Club, the Audi Club or the Ferrari Owners’ Club, being a car enthusiast in Singapore is not cheap.

First, there’s the obvious cost of owning a car, which will, together with the COE, probably set you back at least $100,000 and then need constant maintenance and petrol injections.

Then there’s the cost of prettying up your ride so it’s presentable enough for the next car club meeting. Might or might not include outrageous mods.

If you’re into drag racing, you’re going to have to factor in the costs of getting your car all kitted out for the track, which might include new tyres and gear for yourself.

Do you have an expensive hobby? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.