What’s a hobby that just gets exponentially more expensive as you get deeper into it?

  1. Scuba diving

  2. Saltwater aquariums

  3. Cars, especially when it comes to rare cars. The insurance and maintenance costs must be insane.

  4. Astronomy.
    Naked eyes: free
    Basic backyard telescope: $100’s
    Something a bit less than basic: $1,000’s
    High end (plus backyard observatory): $10,000’s
    Mountain top observatory: Upwards of $1.5 million
    EVLA: $100 million
    Hubble Space Telescope: $2.5 billion

    EDIT: line breaks

  5. HAM radio.

  6. Travel… every place you go there are two more places beside it you didn’t visit.

  7. Knitting. You start with cheap acrylic shit yarn from the craft store and plastic needles. Then you discover fine wools. And silk blends. And local farm produce. And hand dyed yarny masterpieces. And rare fibers like cashmere and quiviuk.

    And then you need good tools to work with. You get an interchangeable set, and then another, and another. And a custom case to put them all in.

    After 14 years, I own about $700 worth of needles and have spent over $20,000 on yarn.

    I thought I’d save money by knitting my own sweaters for $10 each. That’s hilarious to me now – the last sweater quantity of yarn I bought is a cashmere blend and was over $250.

    And now I own a spinning wheel and associated accessories for it.

  8. Homebrewing. It started with ~100 dollars in gear and 20-30 dollars to make a few gallons.

    Now I’ve got a few grand tied up in kegging equipment, temperature controlled fermentation chambers, Kegorators, grain storage, growing my own hops, and my soon to be completed partially automated 20 gallon brewing system.

    Edit: Well shit, this blew up. I don’t have any pictures of my new 20 gallon system yet, but here’s my Hop plants, A little brew day action, Bigger pot and burner, Grain mill, Science!, delicious

  9. Recreational flying…

    You dish out 100$ on a ‘discovery flight’, the addiction strikes. So you figure, why not work on your private license? 8000$ later, you’re licensed and set to conquer the skies whenever you want! But wait, the rental rate is 150$ an hour? Ok, cut a few costs elsewhere to stay airborne. You build experience, why not go for your instrument rating? A few thousand dollars later, look at you go! Might as well be a well rounded pilot, and do some taildragger/multi/____ training for the experience. Those rental costs though, they haven’t improved so you peruse used aircraft advertisements. That gorgeous little Cessna 172 catches your eye, and all of a sudden you’re an owner. And broke!

    Edit: Thank you to whoever gifted the gold, certainly an unexpected occurrence! To everyone out there, don’t let the cost stop you – the general aviation community needs more pilots, I highly recommend taking the jump and trying a few flying lessons, even if you don’t go all the way through licensing.

  10. Horseriding / anything equestrian.

    As a beginner you’ll need a bonnet, jodhpurs and lessons.
    Next thing you know, you’re competing and need fancy clothes.
    And a horse to feed, house and groom.
    Several horses….

  11. Paintball. My first gun was like $100, and I’d use half a case of paintballs (maybe $40 worth) during a day.

    As of when I stopped playing, top of the line guns were $1200-$1500, and people I knew would usually dump a few hundred more on upgrades, and use 3-6 cases of paintballs a day. Plus, you know, they’d have 3 or 4 backup guns, and the competitive level players would go through more like 12-15 cases a day from what I understand.

  12. Golf. You can start out with a nice used set that cost maybe 200 bucks. You get better everyone is telling you the new Titliest will really give you those extra yards to lower that score. You’re shooting bogey now. You’re close game has been all over the place. I need a new set of wedges, of course! 300 bucks there even though you’ve bough those new irons for 799. How much is the new SLDR? 399. Not to mention a fairway wood and hybrids. 400 there. How much is it to actually play? At lowest 30-40 bucks per 18. 100 for nicer courses, and the beer. So much $20 dollar 12 packs.

    Edit: come join us over at /r/golf

  13. Audiophilia. Especially when you start believing you need magical pixie dust power cables.

  14. With two little boys, just rediscovering just how dang expensive Legos are.

    EDIT: A few folks have mentioned pley.com. We actually tried that out and… eh? We never got anything higher than #12 on our queue (Pley doesn’t tell you which sets are in high demand), and every set we got was either missing a couple of pieces, barely disassembled, or both.

  15. Beer.

    I remember my husband buying his first specialty beer, which cost like 3 euros. Then he joined a drinking team and started to attend beer fairs. Now we have 2500 euros worth microbrewery in our apartment kitchen.