But with many of us tightening our belts just to get by from day to day, are our leisure pursuits now becoming luxuries? And are there any ways to keep down the costs? Let's take a look...
The soaring costs of soccer
There's no doubt that watching football can be an expensive pastime, with 2011/12 Premier League ticket prices costing anything from £10 to £100. Even in League Two, England's lowest professional tier, a match day ticket can set you back as much as £21.00.
However, Virgin Money's claim that the total match day cost is now upwards of £100 could be a bit misleading as it includes the cost of a replica shirt as well as the price of pay-per-view television.
These two items alone account for over half of Virgin's estimated total match day cost but it could be argued that neither are actually a cost usually associated with attending a football match.
However, the basic point remains, that following a football team in an expensive way to spend your leisure time. Although the average cost of a match day ticket has risen by just 1% since last season, the cost of a replica shirt has gone up by over 15%, rising to £29.81 from £25.81 this time last year.
In addition, the
soaring price of petrol is well documented and the rising cost of rail travel, food and alcohol is also hitting football fans' pockets.
But there are several ways that you can cut the cost of the match day experience. If you regularly attend matches then it may be worthwhile getting a season ticket as this often works out cheaper than paying one game at a time.
In addition, many football clubs offer 'early bird' schemes that offer a discount of up to 25% for anyone that buys a season ticket before a certain deadline, usually at the end of April or the beginning of May.
As far as getting to the game goes, it may be a good idea to car-share with a group of friends instead of all travelling separately and meeting up at the match. Car sharing could also prove to be less costly than getting the train if you are part of a group that travels to the game together.
If you normally buy food and drink while at the match it may be a good idea to take your own snacks with you to save paying the inflated prices inside the ground. And foregoing the odd pre-match pint may also help your waistline as well as your wallet.
Can you afford a festival this year?
It's not just football fans that are feeling the pinch as music lovers are also being squeezed with tickets to the top festivals now coming in at close to £200.
For instance, a weekend ticket, including camping, for this year's Reading festival costs £197.50 after which you also have to add on the costs of food, drink and travel.
Compare this to 1997 when the same ticket would have set you back just £75 and you can see that ticket prices have increased by over 150% in just 15 years.
However, it appears that some music fans are voting with their feet as every year there is at least one festival that is called off due to so-called 'festival fatigue', the latest casualty being Sonisphere which has been cancelled after having its best ever year in 2011.
But if you simply have to get to a festival this summer, are there cheaper ways of going about it?
Unfortunately, there is not a great deal you can do about the ticket prices but you can cut back on travel costs by either car sharing with a group of like-minded gig-goers or, if travelling by train make sure that you book your train tickets as soon as they are released.
Alternatively, if you are thinking of attending a festival for the sake of seeing one or two bands then it may be a good idea to see if they are touring either side of the festival season and use the money you would spend camping in a muddy field on a ticket to their gig and a night in a top city hotel.
For more tips on how to save money on some of this summer's top events, read
Cathy Toogood's article on the TravelSupermarket blog. Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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