Thank you all for your feedback on the “spending diary” idea I proposed in my last post. In case you missed it, I floated the idea of keeping a running/marathon spending log to hold myself accountable to saving money and cutting out material excess during my journey to the Chicago Marathon.
You may think it’s a little early to roll this out but believe it or not, I have already dropped money on the Chicago Marathon, so here we go!
Some background: Part of what inspired this idea was a New York Times article I read this year called “The $1600 Marathon,”in which author and runner Jen Miller breaks down how much it really cost her to run the New Jersey Marathon this year.
It’s not my place to comment on how others spend their money, so I won’t do that. But the article did make me wonder how much it truly costs me to run marathons, and what I can do in the future to get some of those costs down. I hope I can show that with a little bit of hard work, creativity, and mindfulness, it is possible to run a marathon without breaking the bank.
The difficult thing about spending logs, for comparison purposes, is that they are so unique to the individual – we all come into a marathon training cycle with a different amount of accumulated resources and experiences. If I were completely new to running and marathons, for example, I would have to spend a lot more money on gear than I plan to spend. Just something to keep in mind throughout the process.
Jen Miller breaks her $1600 into different categories; if you’re curious about those categories or why she spent money on certain things, I encourage you to read the article (linked above). I think it will be easier for my log to just track each of my marathon related purchases as I go along, and worry about categorization later. Each thing in my log will have a note about how I got to that amount and why I spent the money, as I’m hoping this experiment, if successful, can be a little educational. If there is something that I don’t plan to spend money on but is still a common expense for marathoners – e.g. gym memberships or training plans – I will include it as a $0 expense with a note about how I got the amount to zero. I believe that to illustrate the process of saving money, it’s just as important to include what I’m not spending money on.
I’ll do a blog post with an updated tally and notes each time I spend more money, but I’m also going to make this into a “page” on my blog (see the header on my blog page – “home” and “about” are pages) to have it all in one place and accessible at any time.
So, without further ado, here is your first update from my marathon spending long!
minimal marathoner Marathon Spending Log: purchases as of 11/02/2016
Race Fee: $195.00.
The cost to officially register for my goal race, the Chicago Marathon.
Notes: Yikes – not off to a great start! Of course I would sign on to a minimalist marathon training cycle and then choose one of the three most expensive marathons in the country to run. But the experience of running a World Marathon Major will be unforgettable, and I’m hoping this will help hold me accountable to my spending in other areas. The fact that I’ve already spent so much just on the registration is greater incentive to cut costs in other areas.
Would-be marathoners out there, don’t fret! This isn’t the norm. The average marathon entry fee, depending on how early you register, is in the ballpark of $100. Many of them also offer special deals and coupons throughout the registration period that you can take advantage of to possibly snag a lower price. Also, some bigger marathons have charity programs that you can run with, where in exchange for raising funds on behalf of the charity you can get your race entry paid for.