10 Ways to Save in 2014

I’d love to be writing a post about my winter running adventures, but I don’t have any to write of.  At the moment, my IT Band is very, very angry and I have an appointment to see my sports med doctor on 1/3.  I’m resting, practicing yoga and starting my swim training for my 2014 triathlon! Check back soon for updates from the doc.

2013 was a busy running year for me…..and, admittedly, a bit on the expensive side. I have some budget trimming to do for 2014 and I have some plans in mind for how to keep my fitness costs to a minimum.  If you are new to running or are making some New Year’s resolutions, I hope you’ll find my suggestions helpful as you start your journey!

  1. If you have a target race in mind for 2014, consider registering earlier rather than later.  The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (near and dear to my heart!) prices will increase on 1/15/14.  Register before then and you’ll save yourself $10.  Wait ’til the week before the race and you’re looking at $30 more than today’s price. Check out your target race’s website and see how much you’ll save (and if you’ll get a free gift!) by jumping on the bandwagon early.
  2. Take stock of what gear you have on hand today.  If you’re going to be running three times a week during training, do you have gear that supports that plan? Make a list of what you need to be successful at the gym or running outdoors.  Then……
  3. Consider shopping for clothes & gear at places like Target, Old Navy or even your local Goodwill.  In my humble opinion, Target and Old Navy have great lines of athletic gear that can get you ready for training. Goodwill has a remarkable amount of fitness gear that others may have bought in haste and retired.
  4. Make friends with your local running store employees.  While I’m willing to sacrifice some quality on my clothes, I will never cheap out on shoes.  So, find your local small business running shop, walk in and talk to someone. Let them know what you’re training for, your current level of fitness and any injuries you have faced in the past.  Get set up with shoes that will keep you healthy. Shoe models are changed nearly every year, so if you find a model you love, you can often buy them at a discounted price when the new model rolls out.  When my beloved Asics were retired, I was able to buy the old model for only $70, compared to $115 for the new one.
  5. Carefully consider the cost of a gym membership.  I trained for two marathons this year without a gym.  If you’re going to up the ante on races and other splurges, then saving yourself $30 a month on gym costs might be the way to go.  Does this mean I ran in the rain? Yes.  Does this mean I ran in the heat?  Yes.  Does this mean I cross-trained in my living room while my dog stared at me in a bewildered manner? Yes.

    Bewildered, but adorable.
    Bewildered, but adorable.
  6. Behold the power of Groupon.  And active.com. And Living Social.  I sign up for all of these promo websites, review their emails about once a week and put them to good use throughout the year.  Most recently, my husband and I ran a 5K for $20 each thanks to Groupon.  Discounts for cross training also abound-yoga classes, boot camps, Pilates, etc.
  7. Balance the big-time with the hometown.  My registration to the Marine Corps Marathon and the travel costs to attend were my biggest splurge this year ($60 to park our car at the hotel? Holy hell).  But many of my other races were hometown events-my kayak triathlon was sponsored by our local parks service and was only $25.
  8. Get social-join the community of runners on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Bloggers are often offered the chance to give away race entries or products on their websites.  I won a free entry to the Glass City Marathon this year from fellow blogger Emily’s site! Follow runners from your hometown or where you plan to race. If you tweet, join in a #runchat on Sunday nights to meet some great people too.
  9. Make your living room your gym.  2013 was the year of the fitness DVD for me (I’m partial to Jillian Michaels). They’re cheap, and if you want to check them out ahead of time, borrow them from your local library first. Invest in some hand weights and you are ready to go.  Want to skip the DVDs?  Head over to Pinterest, where ready-made workouts are posted daily.
  10. Finally, consider getting rid of some of the more costly (and perhaps unhealthy?) habits you may have. For me, this meant skipping the well-placed Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru on my way to work every morning.  Am I obsessed with the pumpkin flavor that comes out every fall?  YES! Curse you DD pumpkin! But, at $3 a day and a don’t-even-tell-me extra number of calories, it was better to just keep driving.

I hope your 2013 ends beautifully and that your 2014 brings you joy.  What plans do you have for the New Year?  Any tips for saving money? I’d love to hear them.