I have a problem. I am addicted to running gear and races. And, with competing in triathlons during the last three years, I have found ways to spend more money. My bike has to be the largest money hole in my basement floor: I throw money at it and find ways to drop more cash–a bike computer, trainer, aero bars, extra cup holder… you get the idea.
Running might be a minimalist sport (triathlons are not), but even if I didn’t do triathlons, running has a tendency of creeping up on me and yelling “surprise!” every so often. These shoes already have 500 miles on them? And so do my other ones? How much does that half marathon cost again? With racing, gear, and travel, I probably spend around $800 a year or more on running. Often times, I sign up for races almost a year in advance.
To help me save for races, the latest gear, or a family trip, I put a $1 in the jar for each mile I run. Since I run an average of 25 miles a week, it adds up quickly. I have about $186 and change in there now with some cash leftover from 2016. In 2016, I ran a total of about 1600 miles for the year. With money for miles, I choose my races carefully and only spend what I have.
The reason this works for me is because I can see what I’m saving instead of checking a balance online. My kid likes to help me count it too and will ask me if I put my money for miles in the jar. Now that’s motivation. It can be hard at times to put aside $25 or so, but I ask myself if I would have spent that cash at Starbucks instead. Then, I shut up and feed the jar.