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Did you ever track your astro related expenses?

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#1 joelin



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Posted 21 May 2019 - 11:48 PM

I have a spreadsheet with everything I spent in this hobby since August 2016 when I had a reawakening in astronomy. I'm curious what you spent and here is mine rounded to the nearest sig figs:


Astro books (general) - $200

Astro books (imaging) - $200

Stellarvue Refractor and accessories for imaging - $900

Astro Tech Refractor and accessories for imaging - $800

DSLR expenses (a few lenses + star trackers + 2 camera bodies + DSLR accessories) - $4200

SCT Edge 8" imaging (Hyperstar, f/10, f/7, ASI1600 mono + color cameras, LRGB and narrowband imaging filters, dew heaters, auto focusers, Takahashi EM-200, ASIAir) - $9300

Everything for auto-guiding (OAG, guide scopes, guide cameras) - $1100

Power Setups (everything I need to power an imaging setup) - $800

Visual (everything for visual observing, eyepieces, diagonals, coma correctors, filters) - $2100

Binoculars (3 different pairs of binoculars and their mounts) - $500

Tools/Accessories (storage boxes, tools, memory cards, finders, cleaning supplies, visual backs) - $900

Apps for Astro Imaging - $800

Astro Apps General - $120

Non Astro Supporting Gear (desktop computers, tables, laptops) - $2500

Solar (Ha scopes) - $800 

Miscellaneous (memberships to clubs, art, toys, prints) - $1200

Trip Expenses (trip to southern hemisphere to observe, gas/fees for local trips) - $4500


There you have it, a rundown of it all. I left out a few small things but I'm at around 30K damage for it all. 

Edited by joelin, 21 May 2019 - 11:50 PM.

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#2 happylimpet



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Posted 21 May 2019 - 11:52 PM

Yup, I have a spreadsheet! on £11,500, and i dont include travel and that sort of stuff, just hardware. Of course this is over many years.


I was talking to a music friend the other day about this and he thought he'd probably spent a comparable amount on odds and sods. There's only one item above £1000 (mount) in all this.

Edited by happylimpet, 21 May 2019 - 11:52 PM.

#3 otocycle



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:00 AM

No, I have never tracked my astro expenses, but my wife sure has !

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#4 scadvice



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:11 AM

What I've told the wife or what they really have been?

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#5 csrlice12



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:16 AM

Around 20K...

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#6 greenstars3


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:22 AM

Me, no

My wife is an accountant, me I'm retired, I just spend money, I don't count it.



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#7 Allan Wade

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:14 AM

I keep track of what I have spent. The figure is probably twice what I would have guessed had I not kept track of all the spending. I’m sure most people have spent more money than they think. I look at my main eyepiece case and there’s over 20k in there, it adds up quick. The big dob was my largest purchase, and on top of that was 25k for the roll off roof observatory. Then I have my 16” SDM on its way that’s turned into the worlds most expensive 16” dob. Good components add up real fast too.


My astro property was a couple hundred thousand, but it means far more to me now than just a place to go observing. Unlike the rest of my astro gear, at least it has gone up in value since I bought it.


All I can say is the big figure at the bottom of the spreadsheet is a rather sobering number. But I’m having a heck of a great time.

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#8 Jond105



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:16 AM

No, I have never tracked my astro expenses, but my wife sure has !


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#9 Redbetter



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:22 AM

Yes, I keep track. 


How much have a I spent?  Less than if I had bought a boat instead.   

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#10 Cometeer



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:34 AM

I’ve tracked down every single purchase to the penny. My spreadsheet I use to keep track is several hundred lines long.

I’ve spent quite a bit over the past 5 years, but I’ve also sold a decent amount of gear. If I were to sell all my remaining gear right now, I would actually come out richer than when I entered this hobby. Helps to almost always buy used.

Edited by Cometeer, 22 May 2019 - 01:34 AM.

#11 m1618


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:48 AM

This is one of those forum threads that I can show my wife:

   Me- "See hun, I'm not alone. This guy spent 3x what I spent!"

   Wife- "omg, y'all crazy. You better not buy more stuff else you about to see some stars from me."

Do it for the economy. Shop on astronomics.com and sell it to me next year...trickle down astronomy.

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#12 sg6


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:06 AM

Don't keep a count of it, also it is over several years now, first was 18-19 years ago. Purchases are now sort of rare. I have talked myself into living with the items I have, I would not like to start on buying say Delites as an eyepiece upgrade. My arguement for this is my scopes, my eyes and really my usage.


Equally I look around and see several sea fishing rods I have and get little usage - one was custom made. Also the walls has assorted art work collected over years (really do not want to add that lot up).


Astro equipment was often bought at a good time. I bought one of the first GT-81's, they are now 2x to 2.5x the original cost here, my Megrez 90 was another. If I ever decide on a better mount will be the likely the next large purchase, but all mount reports bother me.

#13 cuzimthedad


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:10 AM

After my Teeter arrives this fall, I'll have close to $20K invested. Over the years I've rotated gear and although it was mentioned jokingly, the fact is, the used market is a wonderful tool when you don't want to buy new. I've always used discretionary funds and always have had the full support of cuzimthebride along the way. Although $20K is a large sum of money for a lot of people, compared to other hobbies, it's a bargain price. Horses, the aforementioned boating, golf, photography, shooting, can all be just as, if not more, expensive than astronomy. For me it's not about the cost but rather having the best equipment I can afford to buy inside my envelope of discretionary funds to provide me with the observing satisfaction I am looking for. We were gentlepeople farmers on top of having full time jobs. It was like a hobby too and farm equipment isn't cheap!


On a personal side note, I have PTS and I've found, as have others, that observing helps get me out of myself and appreciate the significance of many things in my life that I should appreciate. It has calmed the savage soul within me through the years and allowed an avenue to see things in a different way and to solidify the things I knew to be true and believed in as such. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it does to me. And for that, I'm grateful. Sorry for the ramble!

Edited by cuzimthedad, 22 May 2019 - 02:12 AM.

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#14 Piero DP

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:23 AM

Yes I do keep track, but am also a careful buyer. It takes me a long time before getting something. In addition, I dislike accumulating things that do not get used. To me, equipment is a tool to observe, not a hobby in the hobby.

Edited by Piero DP, 22 May 2019 - 02:24 AM.

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#15 DMach


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:43 AM

No, I have never tracked my astro expenses, but my wife sure has !

A slight variant on this: no, I haven't ... and if my wife ever does, I'm a dead man!

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#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 04:09 AM

I do not track my astronomy related expenses.  Estimating what they might be depends on how one defines expenses and astronomy related.  I buy nearly everything used and I always pay cash. If the money is not in the bank, I am not buying.  Back when the three boys were at home, buying three Celestron "Halloween Plossls" was a big decision and represented a year's expenditures. 


Things have changed.  The youngest is in his 40's, all three have teenagers of their own, I have retired and life is comfortable.  My wife has as good an idea as I do regarding my Astronomy related expenses. Whenever I am considering making a purchase, I discuss it with her.  She always encourages me to go ahead, I am the reluctant one.  We both were raised by parents who grew up in the depression so even now when basically we can purchase anything we want, those depression era values are still very present.  


Exactly what is astronomy related and what is not, what is an investment and what is an expense, it is hard to say.  Our place in the high desert is certainly astronomy related, we would not have bought it if it weren't for my interest in astronomy but it is not really an expense, it's an investment and when my wife are no longer around, it will be sold.  On the other hand, the expenses incurred in it's operation, the property taxes, the electricity, the propane, the repairs, is non trivial, in the thousands every year, I think the taxes are around a grand. 


Another example:  We have had our motor home since 2004, it was 18 years old when we bought it, it's 33 years old now.  It's use is nearly always related to astronomy.. Next week we will be heading out on a trip.  Just the fuel for those 18 years represents something like $15,000.  Certainly that could be construed by a bookkeeper as an astronomy related expense.  


And then there is the equipment, which probably represents a small fraction of the above. but when all is said and done, this is something that is part of my life, part of my wife's life, if it weren't spent as it is, it would be spent in some other way on something else.  So, it is just part of living, an investment in happiness and joy.. 


Like I said in the beginning... we don't track my astronomy related expenses, it just part of the cost of living. I don't have the fanciest equipment, just good equipment well suited for my own particular style of observing.  I feel blessed to have the opportunities I do have to enjoy this passion that I have.  



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#17 csa/montana


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:51 AM

Moving this to Equipment for better fit of topic.


General Observing is for non equipment topics. 

#18 vdog



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:39 AM

Oh man, I can so relate to these posts. . .


I plan what to spend on, how much to spend, how little I can spend while still getting the best possible quality, etc., but once it's spent, it's spent and I let it go.


The one time that conversation occurred where the cumulative expenses were brought up I pointed out that the cumulative expenses for anything (say, wi-fi or satellite TV) over the course of time would be a lot of money. 


Hobbies can be expensive.  I could be into many more expensive ones than this.


And I have enough sense to not spend more than I can actually afford.  You have to spend some money on enjoying life. It's worth it.

Edited by vdog, 22 May 2019 - 09:43 AM.

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#19 NMBob


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:44 AM

I have all of the receipts, but I don't dare add them up. I'm not THAT crazy.

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#20 Binojunky


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:51 AM

A rough mental tally over the years resulted in GULP, shocked.gif  I,m a sick man, D

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#21 pregulla


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:33 AM

I do. My expenses quickly exceeded my scope's value, so I bought another scope :D.

Now I stand on about $800 for used 8" and 12" dobs and about $850 for eyepieces, various accessories and tweaks, not including gas costs.

#22 WadeH237



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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:09 PM

No, I do not track my astronomy expenses.


And I never, ever even try to estimate the cost per completed astrophoto.

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#23 starman876


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:15 PM

is this some new type of requirement to be in astronomy?   I thought the rule was spend whatever you can afford.

#24 OldManSky


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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:26 PM

Maybe it's the engineer in me, attention to detail and all, but...

Yeah, I keep a spreadsheet with details about everything purchased -- date, serial #, who purchased from, cost (base and tax and shipping), manufacturer's website and e-mail, etc. etc. etc.

And there's a total function.


I find knowing how much I've spent helps keep me from ignoring the actual cost of things (all the add-ons and accessories), makes for a good base for an asking price if I decide to sell, and if anything ever happens to my house or things get stolen, it'll be useful for insurance purposes. :)

#25 Myk Rian

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:16 PM

I have a spreadsheet with everything I spent in this hobby since August 2016 when I had a reawakening in astronomy. I'm curious what you spent and here is mine rounded to the nearest sig figs:

If I kept an accounting of stuff I've purchased, that would be a paper trail for wifey to find. grin.gif

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