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?

Money Honey

It’s no shocker that living in NYC is expensive; it’s mainly the rent, because I save a ton of money by not owning a car and paying for gas (a monthly subway pass is only$104 which offers unlimited rides, and I’d rather walk than take a taxi anywhere) but one thing that really creeps on your wallet is the temptation everywhere of food, shopping, and just living! I have a serious addiction and devotion to Starbucks, and I go through good periods where I can control my habit and only buy it a few times per week. But lately I have been buying my delicious soy creations (iced coffee with soy or soy mistos) at least once per day, if not twice! I am obviously a gold card holder there so I get free drinks every 15th drink, but those have been coming quite frequently if you catch my drift…

I have been doing my best to get out of the debt I collected since I was 18 (way too many credit cards) and last month I actually paid off 2! I have done a great job at figuring out how to eat healthy on a budget, but I need to remember that by factoring in exactly how much I can spend per paycheck on coffee and other goodies, I can further improve my financial status. Enter in my famous: each time I don’t buy a coffee, I put the amount I would have spent in my savings to go towards a credit card. I have easily accumulated $15 in a week, and that small amount goes really far! The faster I get out of debt, the faster I can focus on beginning a career that I actually love. I want to work in health and fitness, coaching others on how to live a healthy life and have it be delicious and fun. That can’t really happen successfully until I don’t need the amount of money I need now to pay my bills and rent. I am more than happy to have a job that doesn’t pay high as long as I am happy. I want to make sure my career path helps others in a positive way and is challenging.

Anyways, that’s what’s been on my mind all day (every day!) but I assure you I have been eating the same things as yesterday 😉 I did not have a morning workout today so I am planning on a spin class after work, so I will definitely be making an iced coffee around 5:30 or so to get my energy level up! It sure does suck to work til 6:30-7 every night and have to work out so late!

Have you ever been in credit card debt?

What small ways do you save money?

Do you have normal working hours?