How Do You Support Your Habit?

On Wednesday, USAA was nice enough to remind me that I’m inching closer and closer to 30.  Now, I still have a few years to go but OUCH it hurt getting that reminder.  I imagine I had the same reaction as people in their 50s who receive the AARP information before it’s time.

After cussing them out calming acknowledging the fact that I am getting older, I flipped through the information that they felt I needed to know.  Some of the tips were common sense like:

  • #4. Let Compound Interest Help You
  • #11. Calculate Your Spending Power
  • #21 Financial Autonomy is Imperative

Some were really good tips like:

  • #13. Grad School is Not a Solution to Unemployment
  • #25. Prioritize Your Retirement
  • #25. You May Have to Support Your Parents When They Get Older
  • #28. Your Best Investment is in Yourself   (This was my favorite)

and some were downright funny, like #7, “FICO before sex”.   I guess an inadvertent perk of marrying your love right out of high school is that we successfully avoided any FICO pillow talk.  Darn, I really  feel like I’ve been short-changed.

All kidding aside, the money tips from USAA did get me thinking about one thing in particular.  My running habit.  I’ve always been the very frugal one in my and my hubby’s relationship but this past year I think I’ve lost my penny-pinching mind! Between $110 shoes (3 pairs so far this year), race fees (anywhere from $15-$100 monthly), running gear, trips to races, etc…I’m scared to calculate how much I’ve spent.  And the trip to the Marine Corps Marathon will easily set us back $1,500 – just for one race!

Oorah, You’re in!….What, debt?! Thanks USAA, I feel incredibly guilty now about all the money I’ve spent.  If I had put it into an account, it could be earning interest as you read this.  But I didn’t, and I can’t undo the past; nor would I want to.  I’m sure I’ll really regret my decisions in about 65 years when I realize I have no money for groceries because I spent all it on running.  Alright, that might be a slight exaggeration but I suppose it could happen…  There’s another aspect of this that tugs at my Christian heartstrings, knowing that maybe I haven’t been the best steward of our money.

So I’m wondering, how do you, my lovely reader, support your running/cycling/shopping/scrapbooking (did I mention I like to scrapbook, too) habit?  Do you set aside a certain amount of money each month and once it’s gone, it’s gone? Or do you just bury your head in the sand (like I did) and do whatever you want?  How do you find balance?

Here’s your chance, tell me how you support your habit.  I would love to hear (steal for my own use) any creative ideas!


16 thoughts on “How Do You Support Your Habit?

  1. You’re right–the cost of running can add up quickly. A quick trip to the running store for socks turns into a shopping spree filled with new shorts, BodyGlide, and sunglasses. (Not that this has ever happened to me. ;)) When I joined the triathlon world this summer, I couldn’t believe how expensive everything was, even more so than running. A lot of fitness habits and hobbies carry big price-tags, and I look at it as an investment in myself, my health and well-being, and my future self. Sure, buying a new pair of sneakers or roadbike depletes the savings account, but I know three weeks, three months, and three years down the road (especially for the bike), my future self will be glad I took the plunge and invested in the gear. I also look at it this way–some people love shopping, others love eating out, and I love sweating, running, and triathloning. 🙂

    • Carrie, that’s the other thing about triathlons that scares me. The costs for those (preparation wise) is incredibly expensive! I have to keep blinders on when I go into my local running store; I swear I’m like a kid in a candy shop – especially when it comes to nutrition supplements. I completely agree with you that it’s an investment in my future self; I know that I’m going to be more satisfied with who I am as long as I exercise. I have swapped other expenses (like shopping / eating out) to help me justify everything. I hope you never stop loving sweating, running and tri’ing!!

  2. i think thats one of the biggest things that keeps ppl from races! they are super costly; youre totally right!!!! i am really frugal with my money, and thats part of the reason that i don’t do races, lol! maybe you could brainstorm an idea to have people or organizations start sponsoring you? i’m not really sure of the logistics, but maybe look into it? hope you have a super friday!!

    • I know, it’s so expensive! When you start running you have no idea the beast that’s being created! I do try to stick with local races (less expensive) but I’ve still managed to do about 6 out of town races this year. Thanks for the idea of getting someone to sponsor! Happy Friday back at you, love!

  3. Great thoughts! I do feel guilty about the $110 shoes and hefty race fees $120 for late entry into the sprint du I did. I look at is as bettering myself & God providing the money for my passion. I do try & keep it all in perspective though! I don’t travel to far races, even though I’d love to! Maybe start the $1 per workout jar. Then that new pair of shoes won’t seem so expensive?! Does get me thinking…

    • I love that you took God into consideration with your response, Kim! I just feel selfish looking back at the last year knowing that all the money I spent could have gone to a better cause. Love the idea of a workout jar! 🙂

  4. When I first started running, I think I ran a race every month. Then this year, one of my closest friends started running and I was now racing like every weekend! It was crazy! I had to talk with her and be like, I am super excited that you love running, but I cannot afford to run one every week. Maybe every month, but more like every other month. Next year there is a huge family gathering coming up, and I just know I will want to be able to enjoy myself there. All that means to me is that I will have to be super selective on what I run, but at the same time, make sure that my running equipment (shoes, socks, clothes) are replaced as needed, maybe just not as often as I would truly like.

    • How fun that you and your closest friend are running together; what a great way to share time! But I would be totally broke if she were my bff – lol!! I don’t mind doing the local races (normally $15-$20 registration fee) often but I kind of have champagne taste (out of town races) on my local race budget. I hope you find a happy median between racing and saving for your family reunion! Family is so important in our lives so it’s a must that you get to enjoy yourself while your there. 🙂

  5. So, I just want to start off by saying that Ed gets mailings from the AARP and he’s 25. 🙂 They keep asking when he’s going to fulfill his membership!

    As for the money… I have a love hate relationship with money. Target is my nemesis. The last couple of months we decided to do a cash thing. Instead of putting everything on the credit card (we pay it off every month) I get a set amount of cash at the beginning of the month and that’s for groceries and household needs. It was so easy before to walk into the store and throw down the card and walk out with unnecessary items. Now, I have to think about what I need to purchase and whether or not we really need it.

    I have on other thing to share. My dad (you know him, right??) puts away 10% (I think) of each paycheck into a special account. That account is his “fun” money and he uses it for his hunting trips and other things he wants/needs. I don’t know if this is plausible for you, but it is an option and that way you’ll be putting away money on a weekly basis. Then, you won’t feel so guilty about putting $100+ down for shoes when you’ve budgeted for it.

    P.S. I love your blog! You are so eloquent with the way you write and down to earth. I love it! I hope you keep it up after MCM! 😀

    • Hmmm….I think I might know you father… I’m starting to picture him. 🙂 That’s awesome that he has “fun” money! I don’t have fun money but someday (after I figure out how to print counterfeits that don’t look like Monopoly money). I really like the cash idea. We used to do that and it totally kept us both in check because once it’s gone, it was gone, but the older we get the more we use our debit card. I don’t know if you watch Saturday Night Live, but I’m totally going to send you a link to once of my favorite skits. Here’s a hint…it’s about Target!

      Thanks for liking my ramblings and finding at least some humor in them. 🙂 I really feel narcissistic at times so I haven’t decided what to do after the MCM; I guess we’ll see.

  6. Some races can get so expensive. I try to find smaller, cheaper local races and only do 1 or 2 expensive big name races each year. Or look for deals to races. I love buying shoes and gear online at discounted sites too, saves a lot.

    • I definitely need to cut back on my out of town races. They’re so much fun but I honestly like the local races just as much. 🙂 (And a bonus for local races is sometimes I actually place in my age group.) I’m really smitten with my local running store so I always get my shoes there but I’ve fallen in love with online shopping for supplements and clothes. Thanks so much for the awesome input, Jen!

  7. it really does get costly very quickly. i figure the clothes (tj maxx athletic secion!!) and gear (like my running belt/nathan quick shot) will last me a while. the shoes i bust through every 300-350 miles. i’m about to retire my second pair since march. not much i can do about that. it’s definitely the races and often times travel expenses that go along with it that can get out of control. this year i went a little race crazy. i’m doing a lot of races/distances that i’ve never done before, so i’m all about getting the experience. next year i plan to be MUCH more selective. fewer races, less travel. it’ll be easier on the wallet AND my legs!

    i also don’t go to crazy on the extras/luxuries…like sunglasses. mine aren’t the coolest, most runner-ish glasses around but they’re functional and at five bucks they’re the right price.

    btw – i turned 35 back in july…it’s a surprisingly nice age 🙂

    • I loooove that 35 is a ‘surprisingly nice age’! I’m actually looking forward to my 30s so now I’m looking forward to my mid-30s. (But why rush it?) Also, I’m the queen of cheap sunglasses; they may bounce around my face a bit more then expensive ones but I’d rather put the money towards shoes. That’s awesome that you conquered so many new distances — Way to go, Susan! Hey, maybe we’ll win the lottery next year and not have to worry about being financially responsible?? HA!

    • Ooooooh, I want to do those all, too! I work for a nonprofit domestic violence agency so I totally understand about your teacher’s salary. There’s no money to be made saving the world, eh? 🙂

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