On Money… And Races.

I know I wrote about money and all its’ troubles last year, and I think it’s so cool to look back on where I was financially last year compared to this year and see where I’ve grown and where I still need to make cuts. When I wrote that post in May 2012, I was on the road to being in a better financial position. I got myself into a lot of credit card debt in my early 20’s (um, since when am I old enough to be referring to a time in my life as EARLY 20’s?!?!!) and last year I started to make myself a budget and start cutting things out wherever I could. That means not buying coffee every day and trying to bring my lunch to work almost every day. Less dinners out. Little to no shopping. I put every cent towards my debt and by earlier this year I had all of my credit card debt paid off. Not only that, but I also started a savings account for myself in which I put no less than $50 per check into. Some weeks in the beginning I could only afford to throw $10 in, but at this point it’s just become part of my budget! I am nowhere near financial freedom, as currently it’s the night before payday and I have $1.36 to my name, but I’m more free than I was.

You may think at first that $3 here and there doesn’t add up, but if you have debt of any amount it REALLY really does. Say you just limit yourself to buying coffee out 3 times per week. Those other 4 days if you save the $3 you would have spent on coffee, you’ll have $12 at the end of 1 week. Times that by 4 and you have almost $50 to put towards a bill. I know these are things you’ve heard and read in magazines a billion times, but take it from someone who knows that it really does work! Other things I did that take a bit more will power are really asking myself if I NEED something before I buy it. I love to shop as much as the next gal (hello, I work for Chanel AND live in NYC) but when you don’t have a ton of extra income after paying bills and rent, you have to shop smart. Until I have a lot of extra money, I only buy pieces that I really need and have really learned how to make a few pieces work as multiple outfits. Oh, and I also wear gym clothes 80% of the time these days and that saves a lot 😉 For me, not spending money on dinners out and food in general is harder for me than not shopping. It’s still a work in progress for me, but I have a few races this upcoming fall/winter that I really want to run in and that means I’m going to be eating oatmeal for breakfast AND lunch for a few days out of the week. It’s all about balance! Note to race directors (other than NYCruns which has amazing prices): please remember a lot of your runners are poor. Like me.

I have the fight in my head often about running races. They cost money, and I could always just run that distance on ANY given day for free. But if you’ve ran a race, you know. You know why we pay money to do it. And life IS too short to be worrying too much about a few $40 races. Have to live a little!

So, what races do I have my eye on for the rest of the year? These are all tentative and I haven’t signed up for any of them at the moment. The half marathon at the end of this month will be determined after I see how my long run goes this weekend. A 9 miler should let me know if 13 in a few weeks would murder me or not 😉

*August 31st: Rockaway Beach 1/2 Marathon

*September 22nd: Run 10 Feed 10 10K

*October 13th: Staten Island 1/2 Marathon

*October 27th: 5 mile Marathon Kick-off

*December 8th: NYCRuns 1/2 Marathon in Central Park

*December 15th: Hot Chocolate 10K

Wouldn’t it be so fun to run all of them?! I doubt that will happen, but we’ll see! Any of my NYC readers want to do any of these with me? I promise a good time! I run pretty slow and we can eat delicious foods after.

Another running thought… I am highly considering joining a charity group next year to qualify for the NYC Marathon. Like, starting it in January so that I can meet the fundraising goal and training for like 6+ months. There is no other marathon in the world I’d want to run, but NYC is a bucket list type of race. I HAVE to do it once. I think 2014 is the year!

Do you have any money saving tips that have worked?

Any upcoming races?