Running Fiesta

Writing and running in Austin, TX.

A Spending Problem: Runner Style

I have many friends (all of whom shall remain nameless, to protect the guilty from their significant others) who love to shop. I’m not saying they have spending problems, per se. I’m just saying that if I’m hanging out with these people during one of their periodic “financial diets”, we occasionally have to drive out of our way to avoid certain key money pits. You know, Nordstrom’s, Lululemon, Target…
(Never ever take a person with a spending problem into a Target!!!)
I’ve always congratulated myself on not having this particular problem. If I feel a need to compulsively shop, I’ll often go to the library and check out 18 books at once. I might throw my back out, and I’m certainly going to cause myself significant stress trying to read them all in 3 weeks, But hey, I think, as their plastic covers make my arms drip sweat in the Texas summer, I’m saving money!
And yet somehow, my account balance stubbornly refuses to go up. Even now that I’m home more often, eating PB&J and saving at least $2 a day on Diet Mountain Dew alone, it always amazes me how quickly the money just disappears.
So I decided to sign up for mint.com – which I’ve decided to do several times over the past few years, so by “sign up” I really mean “fix all those accounts that have exclamation points next to them and reset all my budgets so it doesn’t look like I’m $500 in debt on pet supplies”  – and track where my money has been going.
August 7th$75 to “Finish Strong” (Oh yeah, I still need to write that post titled, “Oops, I Did a Triathlon”)
August 15th$65 to Pure Austin Fitness

http://www.pureaustin.com
August 26th$50 to run the Zilker Relays (Errr…tomorrow)
http://www.zilkerrelays.com
August 28th$50 to sign up for the Austin Distance Challenge (Paid before realizing one of the six races is actually on my anniversary. I am an a*shole.)
http://www.austinrunners.org/AustinDistanceChallenge
August 28th $45 for the IBM 10K (First race of the distance challenge. Still hadn’t made the anniversary realization yet, so darling, when I said I was $50 in on this, I kind of actually meant $100…)
http://www.uptownclassic.com/
So by my count, that’s $225 in race fees alone.  We’re not even talking shoes or training.
I have a problem.
Well, two, actually. Compulsively signing up for races, and – as a result – spending all my money on running.
And worst of all, I have roughly zero desire to address either of these issues. Sooo…time to get a job?

3 comments on “A Spending Problem: Runner Style

  1. Emily
    August 29, 2013

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to sign up for all of the above! Also, thanks for not including that you also have friends that get drunk and shop for unnecessary items 🙂 Not that I know any of them!

  2. Kate
    August 30, 2013

    Very true! You didn't even have to throw in any amounts for shoes, apparel, accessories, Gu, sports drinks, etc… I definitely feel you on this one. Wondering if you read the Sept. issue of Fitness mag – they actually had an article about the cost of fitness and what people spend per month, broken out per individual and a description of their reasoning/motivations/passions. It really gave me a whole new perspective on the matterTo be honest, I always felt a little crazy (maybe even embarassed) that I pay $89 per month (at a discount) to belong to one of the better gyms in Chicago, in addition to about $15 per class at a separate Pilates studio, occassional personal trainer sessions at about $90+ a pop (very rarely, now) as well as splurging on shoes and often pricey apparel (the amts of Lululemon reusable bags floating around my apartment and under my desk at work are really ridiculous). This year, when I started racing more frequesntly and training for a marathon, adding in all the race fees and other additional running costs, I knew something had to give so I am quitting my expensive gym for an LA Fitness for about 1/3 the cost. But getting back to this Fitness magazine article, it blew my mind – some women spend over $1000 on fitness-related expenses every month! Most of them have at least $100 going towards Crossfit (OK…don't get me started), and some belong to about 3 different gyms or studios. One woman said it's her third largest expense, behind shelter and food. I'm still scratching my head wondering if that is really batsh!t crazy or if I'm cheap. It definitely makes you think, though

  3. Chris
    September 5, 2013

    Eek! I did not see that article and I don't know if I want to!I personally don't think you're crazy for any of the expenditures you listed, and I agree that $1000/month is totally excessive! No one would ever work out if that was normal. Then again, I think a lot of the big brands like Lulu have been very good at convincing us we "need" a lot more than we do. Not that there stuff isn't really cute! If a specific shirt makes you feel fabulous every time you wear it, then I think that happiness might be worth $60+, assuming you aren't neglecting basic responsibilities to buy it ;)If I were to prioritize expenses purely from a running point of view, it would probably look something like this:1) shoes – to prevent injury 2) quality whole foods – for general good health3) comfortable, durable apparel – so your runs aren't miserable for stupid reasons like chafing4) cross-training (gym, etc.) – next level of injury prevention5) races – for fun and motivationI of course usually prioritize 5 above 4, but I've paid the price with injuries in the past. In the end, I just tell myself ALL of this is justified because investing in health now will save on health later. Surely PT is cheaper than diabetes? 🙂

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2013 by in money, races.
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