The Lost Art of Cheap Recreation

My buddy sent me an article from The Art of Manliness this morning.  Maybe it’s just because I was sitting at Juan Pelota Cafe this morning and watching a steady ant march of spandexed guys and gals getting off their $2000+ bikes to enjoy $5 coffees but I thought it was a good read and worth sharing.

First, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, since 2003 the amount of time Americans spend either attending or hosting social events has declined by 30%. And the drop is even steeper amongst the younger generation; those aged 15 to 24 are spending 40% less time hosting and attending social events than they did a decade ago. At the same time, the number of hours we spend both attending and participating in sports, culture, and arts-related events has held steady.

Yet even though we’re hosting and attending less get-togethers and parties, while participating in and watching recreational activities at the same rate, the portion of our personal consumption we spend on leisure pursuits has gone up 30% over the last four and half decades. In terms of dollars (adjusted for inflation), in 1970 the average American spent $850 on recreation each year, while today each person spends $2500. In other words, despite the fact that the overall time we spend on social/physical/cultural recreation is down, we’re spending 3X as much money on it than we did 45 years ago.

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