Jump to content

The Cost of Free

Followers 1

Recommended Posts

So, ideally, Geocaching is a sport that you don't have to spend a dime on, but we all have spent money on our GPSrs, caches, stickers, bugs, gas, trips, and other miscellaneous equipment...


So...ballpark figure, how much would you say you've spent on Geocaching since you start? And the obvious question -- has it been worth it? (I don't expect much controversy from that one...)

Link to comment

I don't really want to think about it. The major cost is likely gas, and I'd be driving around in pursuit of some other outdoor hobby if not geocaching.


We used to cave dive, which I thought was gonna be a cheaper form of diving (sites are usually free or inexpensive to enter - as opposed to dive boat fees to get to reefs, or Caribbean travel). I was hugely wrong, as cave diving is massively addicting and massively expensive as a function needing of a lot of absolutely necessary gear. Geocaching is way cheap by comparison.


6 gpsrs, 3 or 4 PDAs, the 'yaks and the offroad bikes - all acquired as accouterments to caching. RAM mounts. Digital cameras. Untold numbers of ammo cans, matchsafes, lock and locks, swag.....Airfare to Texas...naw, I'm not planning to total it up.

Link to comment

Never thought of it as "free", since the initial outlay for the GPS is a big chunk of change. But here goes:


My first 3 years caching:

GPS(es) -- free, borrowed from people I knew who weren't using them

Batteries -- maybe $10

Gas -- who knows? Maybe a total of a couple tanks of gas for about $30 total at that time

Swag, etc -- $10?- used small toys found around the house, Mardi Gras beads, and an occasional wheresgeorge dollar


More recently:

GPS and mapping software -- around $300 total (was my birthday/Valentines/anniversary present)

Batteries -- free (using rechargables that I already had)

Gas -- maybe a total of a couple of tanks of gas, which now would cost more like $50 total

Swag, etc -- still don't buy any and don't really leave many wheresgeorge dollars anymore, so maybe a total of $5

PDA -- just bought this and don't have it up and running -- total cost looks like it will be around $25

Geocaching subscription -- $6 so far


Aside from the GPS and PDA, the costs have been minimal. I've been able to cache occasionally for well under $100. Works out to about $1 per find :blink: So if you already have a GPS or can borrow one, it doesn't have to cost very much.

Edited by niffir
Link to comment

5 GPS units since I started, total = $1,464

Mapping software = $210

Gas = Absolutely no idea

batteries = absolutely no idea

GC.com membership 5 yrs @ $30 = $150

Cachemate = $8

GSAK = $20

Real caches placed (conservatively estimated at $15 each, including containers, swag, camo paint/tape, Laminating materials, logbooks, pens/pencils, Ziplocs and other misc. costs) 183 = $2,745.00

Trading swag for caches found = est. $200

TBs/Geocoins purchased, 16 = $75

laminating machine (purchased and used strictly for geocaching) = $90

GC.Com apparel (hats, t-shirts, etc...) = $50


Total - $5,012


This doesn't include things like hiking boots/clothing, backpack, headlamps, digital camera, PDA and other things used extensively for geocaching that I probably would have purchased anyway.

Edited by briansnat
Link to comment

Wow lets see - just estimates here......


at least 1/2 gallon of gas for each cache found - rural area around here = 257 * $2.25 = $578.25

5 GPSrs = $1500

Swag for found = $500

Hides = $20 each * 118 = $2360

Hats, misc from gc.com = $200

Hiking staff = $100

Backpack, other bags, misc = $200

GC.com membership = $150

GSAK other software = $200

Tb's and items = $100

Batteries and rechargeables = at least $400

sig pencils = $45

1 pair of shoes (at least) = $90


Total is at least = $6,423.25 or about $12.50 for each cache I found or $10.16 for each cache found and hidden not including DNFs or $8.40 for each cache found, hidden and DNF.


Well worth every penny and moment!!!

Link to comment

Aw heck, who knows? A GPS, I've carried a Palm for years, some gas, (OK, lots of gas), swag, miscellanious stuff here and there, but it pales in comparison to other hobbies past and present. We have a travel trailer permanent in a campground, and a small motor home that drinks about 80 bucks worth at a fillup. Model railroading, now on hold about broke me. Computers swallow more than they should. The list goes on. Geocaching is cheap compared to other money wasters, and the best view I ever had of my boat was seeing it go down the driveway behind somebody else's pickup truck.

Actually caching is almost expense free, because we used to drive around aimlessly, just to be going.


Link to comment

All figures are approximate of course:


2 GPS units = $900 (thought the first one wasn't bought for geocaching it became it's primary use)

Mapping software = $100

GC.com membership 3 yrs @ $30 = $90

GSAK = $20

Swag = est. $150

Assorted clothing (e.g. blaze orange for winter caching) = ~$200

TBs, 4 = $16

laminating machine and associated supplies = $40


Total of known expenses = $1516


Gas, airfare, car rentals (yup, rented a car for a day on a business trip just to go caching) = I can't even begin to guess. But my tracking bug has logged over 27,000 miles.

batteries (probably a couple hundred of them)= no idea


Additional expenses I haven't kept track of = undoubtedly a few to several thousand $


But then, I've never had any illusions of geocaching being truly free. :blink:

Link to comment

I'm not sure I want to total it all up - 2 laptop's, 3 PDA's, 3 GPSr, 50+ containers, swag, 6600 mile three week cache trip ...


And probably add a couple of hundred more for all the "2 cents" worth of advice I've tossed out! :blink::blink::blink:


Worth it? Even at twice the price, you betcha!!!!!!!!

Link to comment

Oh yeah, it's a free game!


I started geocaching in August 2003 and it's been an expensive hobby ever since!


I became curious about where my discretionary money goes in 2005 when I set up Microsoft Money for family finances and did a bit of research on my bank records.


I use a debit card for everything, don't write checks and rarely use credit cards or cash, so it's pretty simple to see where, when and for what I spend money.


The category enitled "Geocaching Expense" covers everyhing that I would not have spent if not for geocaching.


I spent $17,429 dollars in 2005 on geocaching!


It doesn't get any cheaper, either!


I went out with 2 friends from a nearby town last Saturday, found 50 caches, and spent only my lunch and some batteries, around $20 total, since they bought the gas and my dinner.


I went out last Tuesday with a friend, found 16, spent a tank of gas ($45) and our dinner ($25).


I went to a lunch meeting of local cachers Friday, a cacher friend bought my lunch, we got one cache after, cost me maybe $5 gas.


I went to a CITO Saturday 100 miles from home, hooked up with friends after the event, cached from noon to midnight, the trip was 19 hours total, 465 miles, 1 CITO, 20 great caches, 2 virtuals, 1 Earthcache for ~$60 gas and 2 meals, ~$50.


Those are examples of my normal weekly geocaching.


Then, there are the trips!


I just came back from a week in California for GeocoinFest, am hosting 2 geocaching events in Birmingham this month, have a long weekend in Tennessee for GeoQuest at the end of the month, will be in North Carolina in May for a week for GeoWoodstock5, am flying to Berlin in July just to cache, then taking a train to Poland for more of the same!


Throw in the MidWest GeoBash, then I am hosting the AGAs 4th Birthday event (a 3-day huge event) in October, and the annual Christmas event I host, and I may well double my 2005 geocaching spending this year!


My friends have started calling me Gadgetman because I have every conceivable toy for geocaching, sometime multiples (Palm T5, 2 laptops, 2 GPS, 8 FRS/GMRS radios, 3 headset lamps, etc.) for when I take friends out.


I did cut back on my caches - at one time I was using an $8 dry-box container and putting $40-$60 FTF prizes and a bunch of $5-$8 trinkets in them... $80 to $100 per cache... put twenty or so of those out and you've tied up some money!


I used to give such caches away at events, probably gave away another 20 at that cost.


I had to get rid of my Suburban and Tahoe and start driving my BMW 525i to get my driving costs down (gets double the mileage but has half the room, and only burns premium gas, so a bum trade in hindsight).


Still, the last couple of caches I put out had a total of 70 unactivated geocoins in them (one is empty now, the other had 1 left when I checked last week - I won't do that again!).


Throw in $1700 for personal geocoins I gave away and $250 for Alabama coins I gave away at GeocoinFest.


God, I hope my wife never sees this post! (Kidding... she sees the MS Money reports!)


Let's go caching, it's free! :blink:

Link to comment

Ah yes, coins. I've bought a few, but stopped myself. I've never been a collector and didn't figure i needed to start. But periodically I consider making a coin. I wouldn't sell any so it's just out of pocket. Something else to spend money on and then just give away. Will I do it? I don't know, haven't yet. I owe some to people, like TheAlabamaRambler, who have given me theirs.

Link to comment

Let's see..... two GPS.....


One Magellen (that's too slow, not all that accurate and I can barely see the screen on) $350 something. One Garmin $450 something and worth every penny.

Mapping software - $100

Premium subscription - $30

Random swag - who knows?

Messing with cammo stuff - $15.

Bandaids, ace bandages, dry boots, asprin, advil, etc- $300

Sunblock, snorkel gear - $200

Jeep, used - $4500

Parachute gear, small plane - $80k

Private Island to have new places to hide caches - $4M or so, depends on final deal

Plane tix - lots of frequent flier miles


See new places, meet lots of interesting folks, look at a whole lot of rocks and shrubs.


All in all, seems like a pretty good deal! :blink:

Link to comment

Ah yes, coins. I've bought a few, but stopped myself. I've never been a collector and didn't figure i needed to start. But periodically I consider making a coin. I wouldn't sell any so it's just out of pocket. Something else to spend money on and then just give away. Will I do it? I don't know, haven't yet. I owe some to people, like TheAlabamaRambler, who have given me theirs.

You don't owe me a thing! I am proud for you to have one! It's the people like you that make this game great!

Link to comment

My contribution to the cause:

GPSr = Free (Christmas present)

Batteries = Free (already had a bunch of rechargables)

Trackable stuff = $30ish

Gasoline I don't really count, because I'd use it for something stupid, otherwise

Software and subscriptions = $15 (so far)


I see most people here have no idea how much they spent on batteries over the years. Why don't you use rechargables? I've got 2 sets for my GPSr, that I wasn't using for anything else. That right there could save quite a bit of money, if you're interested in that.

Link to comment

This log says it all for me. I always drove sports cars until I discovered caching. I still have my last sports car -- it sits in the garage, not even registered and inspected. It was in perfect working order when I abandoned it in favor of a more suitable cachemobile, memorialized in that log.


So I definitely think I can say $30,000 plus in my first year of caching alone. That's before I took a dozen or so out-of-state cache hunting vacations, bought laptops and PDA's and two more GPSr's, etc.

Link to comment

I would like to thank everyone that has applied to this post. I can now print it out, hand it to my wife and say "See, I'm not spending a fraction of the money that I could...).


Perhaps $200.00 on the GPS and maps (210 Outdoor Bundle), a $20.00 older palm from e-bay, $8.00 for cachemate, $30.00 membership and some gas. Nowhere near what I could have paid. Everything else I already had, computer, ammo cans, decon containers, rope, climbing equipment, outdoor equipment (hiking, etc.), rechargeable batteries (couldn't live without them)... So all total for caching I've spent $258.00


Expect to spend more in the future...

Link to comment

I'm what they call a "quick deployment" kinda guy. I like a jump kit for every purpose. Which means I buy dupilcate equipment instead of exchanging equipment amongst kits. For geocaching, I have two jump kits. One for long range deployments, and one for short grab and go type caches. But both must have GPSrs and flashlights and xtra batteries, pencils, swag, etc. I am one of those that rush through life, trying to witness and experience all I can. So I just grab the kit necessary (knowing it is complete with the gear needed) and go. I've been into this now for about 2 maybe 3 weeks, and I have about $700 invested so far. But I expect the toll to rise very soon. :D


Link to comment


gps...could not remember the cost but I uses it for other reason

gas...almost don't want to know

map software....a rip off price but had to

two geocoin...20 bucks total


obviously the gas is the worst....I drove 35 thousand miles in one year (not incluing driving/flying without my gps on)...some with my car...some with friends..some in my company truck.


other than that....I'm too cheap to get anything else

Link to comment

Gee, I guess we were lucky. After reading some of these totals, it makes you think. Since I work in IT, I have a work laptop, work pays for my home internet and I use their map software. The only out of pocket is gas and a used GPS from eBay. But like most have said, we would have spent the money on another hobby if we hadn't been introduced to the best hobby going.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Followers 1
  • Create New...