5 super expensive hobbies and how you can enjoy them on a budget

Ever wondered what the ultra-rich of Singapore do in their spare time? Here are the 5 top hobbies of the wealthy - and how you can join the fun without going over budget.


1. Golfing


If you're one of Singapore's wealthiest, you probably wouldn't bat an eye at Sentosa Golf Club's $30,000/year term membership fee, or even the $1,700 that golfers spend each year on equipment and merchandise. However, if you're not willing to spend up to $480+ on a single green fee, you cna still golf alongside the highest spenders.

Here are some tips to minimise the sport's impact on your wallet:

  • Check out wholesale stores and online marketplaces to pick up clubs and accessories at a discount. You can even buy lightly used goods on sites like 99golf!
  • Consider golfing on weekdays - the green fees are almost always lower. You can also golf up to 18 holes for under $50 at fairways like Executive Golf Course or Champions Golf.
  • Golf on your vacations. Green fees are often always at fairways in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Open a new credit card! CIMB World and Maybank World MasterCard both offer waived green fees at pretigious courses worldwide, and neither require you to pay an annual fee.

Whether you're an avid golfer looking for savings - or you just want to play the preferred game of the wealthy - you can easily enjoy golfing in Singapore without splurging.


2. Skydiving

sky diving

Have an extra $4,500 in your pocket? Hopefully you can find a few thousand more - if you're interested in skydiving, you'll have to leave Singapore as there are no drop zones here - and that's in addition to paying a substantial fee for ground school, jumps, equipment rental, and instructors.

Companies like Skydive Singapore offer a package for 9 jumps at this rate - but it doesn't cover air tickets, hotels, meals or transportation costs you'll incur by travelling to Thailand or Indonesia for your training. Perhaps the adrenaline rush is worth the price - but why not access the thrill at a lower cost?

  • Consider indoor wind tunnel skydiving. You'll get to experience a simulation of free-falling from 12,000 to 3,000 feet for just as little as $89 for 2 dives with iFly (associated with Skydive Singapore, the expensive alternative)
  • If you want the 'real deal', you can take a single tandem skydive for $450 - it's expensive, but more accessible than the larger package!
  • Tip: Use a travel credit card when booking your trip - most cards offer 10%-20% off on Expedia or Agoda.


3. Scuba Diving

scuba diving

Singapore is surrounded by some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world, making luxury scuba diving experiences quite popular with the rich and adventurous. At prices up to $10,000+ per diver, you can enjoy an extended, liveaboard trip with as many as 30 dives in 11 days, staying on an exclusive cruiser with trained chefs, massages, and even laundry service.

The downside is, this rate rarely includes travel costs, harbour fees, equipment rental, or even extra amenities - you'll also need to ensure you have the mandated dive and travel insurance. On top of that, it costs up to $600 just for an Open Water certification.

While this may seem a bitout of reach, scuba diving can still be financially accessible. Here are a few ways to explore the seas at a discount:

  • If you're willing to travel to Tioman, you can get certified for just $350 - $450 at a local dive shop! This may seem high, but the price includes 4 days of training and 4 open water dives. Gear rental is usually included, and you can book local accommodations for as little as $30/day.
  • After certification, consider shorter trips to nearby locations. The Dive Company, for instance, offers a 2D2N Tioman Weekend trip (including transport, meals, accommodations, and 6 dives) for just $399!
  • Check your travel insurance. Nearly all dives require coverage and recommend specific providers, but a select few credit cards actually come with free travel insurance that extends to leisure scuba diving. Be careful, though - some card plans may exclude underwater activities!


4. Fine Dining

find dish plating

There are 39 restaurants with Michelin stars in Singapore - how many have you tried? It's not the easiest endeavor. Take Waku Ghin, for example. Ranked 39th in the world and sporting 2 stars, it has only 25 seats and a 3+ week long waiting list! The 10-course menu comes at a price of $400+ per person - quite a bit more than your average restaurant, to say the least. 

While there aren't any easy shortcuts to skip the line in making reservations, there are ways to dine at top restaurants for a deep discount:

  • Credit cards are absolutely key - nearly all ofer standing discounts and 1-for-1 deals at exclusive restaurants, some of the most popular being Les Amis, Alma, Bacchanalia, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Labyrinth, Putien and more! Better yet, some of these cards also award cashback for dining.
  • You can also save money in more typical ways – forgo alcohol, split an entree or even dine on appetisers!
  • If you still want the full experience without cutting corners, lunch can be a cheaper alternative.
  • Fine dining isn't just defined by Michelin stars; consider checking out local restaurants where Singapore's top chefs go to eat. Ah Lim Jalan Tua Kong, Foong Kee Coffee Shop and Heng Heng Bak Kut Teh, are just a few examples recommended by executive chefs at Salted & Hung, Corner House, and Bo Innovation respectively.

If you want to skip the line altogether, you can even bring the concept of fine dining home by enrolling in cooking classes or community centre food workshops! There's nothing more accessible than your own kitchen.


5. Art Collecting

artwork on the wall

While Singapore's top collectors, liek Jackson See and Richard Hoon, own hundreds of valuable works in a variety of genres, not everyone can afford to spend thousands on artwork. In fact, average auction sales for Singaporean artists like Georgette Chen are as high as US$211,983!

If this doesn't quite fit your budget, there are still many ways to enjoy fine art without the high cost:

  • Why buy when you can rent at a discount? With websites like ART LOFT, you can rent paintings worth $5,000+ for up to 360 days (30 day increments) for a fraction of the cost! You can not only proudly display the work in your home, but also change your look with the seasons.
  • If you're looking to make a purchase, look online! Affordable Art Fair is a popular website for contemporary art sales that allows you yo filter by your budget. There's also an annual, offline component featuring top Singaporean artists and galleries. 
  • Alternatively, you can view everything from contemporary to modern art at one of Singapore's many free museums like Singapore ARt Museum, National Gallery Singapore, or National Museum of Singapore!


This article was first published on ValueChampion.