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"The Best Way to Make a Small Fortune in Racing..." - Live Like a Mensch
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"The Best Way to Make a Small Fortune in Racing..."

"Is to start with a large one, and work down from there."  --Unknown

Photo courtesy of Ryan Bayona

 

Yesterday afternoon, J was talking to me about high-end car racing (as he is wont to do), when he uttered the above racing aphorism. While I had heard the statement several times before, it really struck me for two reasons this time around:

1. Racing is ridiculously expensive.

2. When you get right down to it (and forgive me, J), it is ultimately pointless.

Much like Felix Baumgartner's skydive from space last year, car racing is something that people spend an inordinate amount of money on, basically for bragging rights.

Of course, I recognize that there is so much more than that to racing, sports, ridiculous sky dives, etc. If there weren't, we'd all just sit on our couches all day watching the Kardashians.

But, it does have me thinking and wondering about how much money one should be willing to invest in a passion. The people who invest countless dollars into racecars do so because they absolutely love it. They derive more joy from racing than I do from ice cream. If they've got the large fortune to work down to a small fortune, why not use it for their passion?

On a small scale, J and I do both have similar money-gobbling passions. He is restoring his 1976 BMW 2002.

(Pictured: Not J's actual car)

In the 10 years I've known J, the car has not run under its own steam. It is currently in pieces in our garage, and J loves to spend hours breaking it down into smaller pieces so that he can once again put it back together later on. Between the hours he's spent, the tools he's bought, the parts he's purchased, the moving expenses he has incurred in transporting it several times, and the cost of the body work he will have to farm out, the amount of money he has spent on this car is a heck of a lot higher than the car's worth--even considering the level of geeky car love this particular BMW engenders in car types.

I wouldn't ask him to give up this passion, or the money and time he has spent on it. But it is kind of illogical.

For me, I spend a ridiculous amount of money and time--well, not nearly as much time as I'd like--making quilts:

Even though I could purchase pre-made quilts for a great deal less than the cost of my fabric and sewing equipment--and reduce the number of heart attacks that threaten me whenever one of these quilts needs to be cleaned--I still prefer to do my own sewing and spend more than I have to for my warmth/decorative needs.

Thankfully, we don't live in a completely logical world (I imagine there's no racecar driving on planet Vulcan), or else there would be a lot of wonderful (but ultimately pointless) stuff we'd miss out on.

We should all have a passion that we're willing to spend money on--even if all it truly does is make a small fortune even smaller.

 

What passions are you willing to spend money on?
Published Sep 17 2013, 06:09 PM by Emily Guy Birken
Filed under: , ,

Comments

 

haverwench said:

Lydia Child, author of _The American Frugal Housewife_ (1832), said that quilting was like knitting: "it is sufficient to recommend knitting, that it is an _employment._ In this point of view, patchwork is good economy. It is indeed a foolish waste of time to tear cloth into bits for the sake of arranging it anew in fantastic figures; but a large family may be kept out of idleness, and a few shillings saved, by thus using scraps of gowns, curtains, &c." No doubt she would have said the same about rebuilding old cars, if cars had existed at the time.

September 18, 2013 10:41 AM
 

Emily Guy Birken said:

@Haverwench, I love this!

September 18, 2013 11:08 AM
 

kay in canada said:

To answer your original question, there are certain foods I would rather go without than buy, even though it may cost more to make them from scratch even without factoring in my time and the hydro.  Store bought jam and peaches in cans are gross.  That's the way things are in North America now.  Remember when worn clothes would be cut down and remade into smaller garments for smaller family members?  Yeah, me neither.

September 19, 2013 12:58 AM

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