Gardening is the only hobby where the costs aren’t growing

For those weighed down by money troubles, the spiralling cost of ?fun? activities can make them just another cause for concern. But there is one pastime that is bucking the trend ? gardening, according to the Daily Mail.

A review of leisure spending found that, while the costs of ten out of 11 activities studied had risen more quickly than inflation, the price of gardening had not. The average price of going to a Premier League football match, for example, was up by 184 per cent compared with ten years ago, to ?48.90.? This is more than six times inflation over the decade, at 29 per cent, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The review by the Halifax bank also found gym fees were up by 48 per cent in a decade, while a visit to the cinema will set a family back some 46 per cent more. By contrast, the average monthly cost of gardening rose by just 17 per cent.

The growing cost of getting to and from favourite activities had been a ?clear driver? behind the rising price of leisure, Martin Ellis, an economist at Halifax, added, meaning many were deciding to stay at home.

The study said high travel costs were ?hugely limiting? ? the cost of petrol and diesel rose by 89 per cent in a decade, to an average of ?96.95 a month, it found.

The Government?s decision to put up VAT from 17.5 to 20 per cent in January last year also contributed to rising leisure costs. It comes with the added benefits of providing the exercise that otherwise might come with a hefty price tag from the gym, plus food for the table. Just getting to and from favourite leisure activities has become so expensive that many people are deciding to stay at home.

The study said the cost of petrol and diesel is up by 89per cent in a decade to an average of ?96.95 a month. Those who opt for the train would be paying 61per cent more. High travel costs are ?hugely limiting?, according to the Halifax. The study found gym fees are up by 48 per cent in a decade, while a visit to the cinema will set a family back some 46per cent more, driven by the high cost of 3D film tickets. For the more adventurous, the cost of spending a day at a theme park has also risen by 46per cent and now stands at almost ?40.

The biggest cost of living squeeze since the 1930s means many families are giving up many leisure activities, gym memberships and hobbies.

Over the last decade, the study found the costs of eating out or staying in with a takeaway have increased at a relatively similar speed, up 42 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

Eating in is now an average of ?11.12 for a take-away compared to ?20 to enjoy a similar meal in a restaurant. Other reasons to entertain at home include sharp rises in the cost of buying a pint, which is up 51per cent since 2002, largely because of big increases in duty and VAT.

Economist at Halifax, Martin Ellis, said: ?There has been a significant rise in the cost of pursing some of the most popular hobbies and days out in the UK over the past decade.

?Rising transport costs have been a clear driver behind this, although all expenditure categories, apart from gardening, have seen a greater increase than that of inflation.

?Whilst the expected decline in inflation through much of 2012 will help to ease some of the current pressure on household finances, weak earnings growth is likely to constrain the amount families are able to spend in entertaining the family over the coming months.?


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