Flying is expensive, but I think it always was.... Look at the prices of all the new aircraft that came into Ireland in the 60's/70's and 80's. People had the best of new Cessnas, Pipers etc and Ireland had dealers for all the big brands. I think if you inflation adjust the costs perhaps it might not be the runaway graph you think of.
"Tarmac Jockey Flyers" in most group A paying for hangarage, landing fees, easa maintenance, avgas, hull insurance, medicals, nav subscriptions etc require serious commitment to keep going. Certain people love that big airport pilot in a little plane outlook on the world.... and that's ok too. "Farm field" flying where you trade labour for hangarage, use filtered Mogas wisely, local/own permit maintenance, 3rd party insurance and keep current - is certainly within the grasp of the everyman. A good cub variant/taylorcraft/aeronca can be had for the price of a 2nd hand VW Golf, and when you go to sell it will have not depreciated if well bought, unlike a VW Golf. You only have to find another 80 euro cash a week to fly 100hrs a year. How you earn that few bob is up to you.
If you were into rallying, karting, card playing, salmon fishing, motocross, computers as a hobby you could easily spend the same.
If you want to become an expert, rather than a middle of the road pilot then wiki research shows you may plan on: 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice", which forces the practitioner to come up with new ways to encourage and enable themselves to reach new levels of performance. An early phase of learning which is characterized by enjoyment, excitement, and participation without outcome-related goals. The ability to rearrange or construct a higher dimension of creativity. Due to such familiarity or advanced knowledge experts can develop more abstract perspectives of their concepts and/or performances.
Certainly the farm strip route, and an extra days work each week is the only way I can see myself becoming a 10,000hr expert. If you were really confident on fuel prices you could always do some spread betting and make the flying fund up in a few days desk work!