I will give serious answer. The first obvious thing you noticed is that the gear is priced as much as your car. That's a key area where I save money. I tend to drive my cars for about 10 years. When I am not paying a car note, that money goes to audio. My salary is modest by the guy's on this forums standards. Some have actually chuckled when they hear that I make about 125k
. However, that 125k comes with an additional 6 weeks paid vacation and about a week, 58 hours of sick time. I am able to take as much time as I want and sell the rest. Typically I sell some the time each year about $8000, about 5k and some change after taxes, and take only 2 weeks vacation. Each week I also save just about 60 dollars toward my hobby. My wife is cool with it. I was doing it when she met me. Not all of the money is spent on audio. It goes into a savings account which grows at about 8k per year unless I buy something. Additionally I save 10% with a joint saving fund between my wife and myself, 18% into my 401k until it maxes at $17.5 of contributions and a about 5k yearly into some small investments. My wife earns about 60k and we have one child. We are fortunate to have a VERY good public school system in the suburb where I live so educational expenses are minor. I do have rental property as well that has also contributed about another 20k of income depending upon status, some was damaged by hurricane Katrina. My job also includes a pension of about 4k monthly upon retirement, an amount that has also gotten some chuckles from the big shots around here. It means they I am not quite as concerned about retirement savings for my lifestyle.
Because I chose wisely when I purchase and a lot of my gear is purchased used, I am able to use some of the value in current components when I upgrade. For example I have a pair of $20k speakers, Mcintosh XR200s. With a lot of web searching I was able to find them on the internet for 11.8k as a demo pair. The previous pair of speaker that I owned, Mcintosh LS360s were sold for about 3k, so I was out of pocket for about 8k. Right now I would say I have gear with a retail value of about $80k. My audio gear purchases date back at least 25 years and some of the value of each component still remains because I sale to upgrade.
In college I learned from my fraternity brothers, to do automotive repairs. My wife does not drive cars as long as I. It would just be too much of a hassle for me to maintain both. To give you a clue of how much I save there however, I will describe a recent brake job on my wife's BMW. The dealer cost to do the job was about was 2k for all four wheels. Instead I purchased the parts online and for $500 or so, from a BWM dealer out of state and did the job myself. It's not as hard as it might seem as I have an uncle that owns a repair shop with lift to which I have full access and likely will inherit. The following week I repaired the brakes on my Jeep for about $150.
For many years, my wife and I take trips so that she can shop on Black Friday. Here too I save money. At the large outlets in Houston, Dallas, and Miami area, I am able to buy all sort of clothing, especially expensive leather shoes at great discount. There is typically a summer trip as well to these large outlets.
I do all of this because I am a fanatic when it comes to audio. The savings are not to allow me to retire early, go on expensive vacations. or anything that noble. The saving are for one purpose,so that I can have the best stereo possible. I have no other expensive hobbies.
Let's hope this very candid answer, from one fanatic has been of some help to you. Often, guys ask me how can I afford to buy such expensive gear yet they drive cars with at least $6k of annual car notes. Best help I can give is whatever you do, don't spend all of your money on cars. My most wealthy close friend, multi-millionaire, heir to once third larges steel cable manufacturing company in the world once told me," How can I buy a new car? What kind of business man would I be if I entered into ANY deal where I took a 20% loss upon my signature?" I'm sure not all agree but the money lost on cars alone by the typical consumer is enough over a period of years to buy most of the gear on this forum.