I agree prices have gone up. To stretch a bag brew session beers.
I justify this hobby like any other: I can’t justify a financial ROI on enjoyment.
Likewise, an avid golfer doesn’t think twice about paying $30-50 each weekend for greens fees. It could be R/C airplanes, or wrenching on old cars, you name it. $30-50 every three weeks for a batch of beer doesn’t seem out of the question because I enjoy brewing.
It’s a hobby. Hobbies aren’t meant to be economical.
Edit: Just to see what the cost would be, I threw together a 1.052 classic APA with 84% Pale, 9% Munich, 7% C60, 41 IBU Centennial (2 oz), and a pack of Cali yeast for $27.66+ shipping from MoreBeer. ~$3 a 6 pack.
Crush finer, sparge more, squeeze out every efficiency point and it gets cheaper than on my no sparge, course crush, inefficient system.