Thursday, June 27, 2013

Holy Sh*t, Triathlon is Expensive!

My triathlon habit is crushing my budget!

I'm not sure why I was thinking about this the other day, but I was, so I figured I would turn it into a blog post.

For those of you who don't really know me, I'm a list/spreadsheet type of thinker. There are so many problems that can be organized, broken up into manageable pieces and knocked out with lists and spreadsheets.  Some examples include packing for a race, planning your training calendar and planning your nutrition, etc.

Budgets are but one more example of things that fit nicely into my spreadsheet habit. Below I'll share a few versions of my triathlon budget, but before I do that, it makes sense to talk a little bit about the methodology that went into the spreadsheet I'm going to share.

Some of my triathlon expenses occur monthly, or nearly monthly and thus I've included them in this way. Things like coaching and nutrition fall into this category.

Other expenses are more one-time expenses and then they get amortized across a season. Things like race entry fees and race travel expenses fit into this category. For these expenses, I add them once and then divide that by 12 so that I get a monthly number. This tells me what I need to set aside every month so that I'm sure I will have money available when it's time to sign up for a race or buy a plane ticket.

One really long-term expense is my new tri-bike... Last year I raced on my road bike with a set of clip-on aero bars. It worked for me and it allowed me to decide just how committed I was to the sport long term. However, with my commitment to IMTX, I decided that it was time to invest in a tri specific bike. Since I had not been saving for a tri-bike, I basically took a loan from savings (yes, I'm lucky enough to have some savings) which I'm now paying back (to myself) each month. And yes, it's this kind of compulsive thinking and behavior that explain why I have some savings... Long story short, you will see a tri-bike line item in the table below, along with a monthly number and I wanted you to understand the thought behind the number.

The last category is future expenses or planning! If I could have waited longer to buy my bike, I would have purchased it using theses funds, but of course that did not happen. This category includes items like future bike upgrades. It also includes a "Kona Savings" line item! That way when a Kona spot rolls down to #77 or  when I work my way up to top 5 AG, I can accept my Kona spot knowing that I have already saved money towards the trip.

So, without further adieu, here is my tri budget spreadsheet:

Yikes right!

This budget assumes one race each year, at each distance. This is really all that my schedule will allow and clearly it's all my budget will allow as well. It also accounts for the fact that I have family in Houston and Phoenix and I can drive to Lake Placid and Louisville. If I had to fly to my IM race AND stay in a hotel then my IM travel expenses would be much higher.

Since I don't have this much money to put towards triathlon on a monthly basis, and since I don't want to eliminate any races, I decided to "lie to myself" and pull a few things out. This, of course, is why my savings is not a large as it should be ;-)

In this version, I eliminated my bike payment back into my savings. I also eliminated my gym membership because I had that before I started racing triathlons. In reality, I should probably give myself some sort of credit for this as I'm now ACTUALLY USING MY GYM MEMBERSHIP instead of paying for it month after month and never going to the gym, like before. Finally I eliminated my Kona savings plan as that is a long way off and will require other commitments.

Unfortunately this new number is only slightly less painful than the original, so it's time for another round of cuts. Those cuts result in this version.

This number is much better, but it's still painful and it has real implications for my tri-future.  For this version, I eliminated coaching and upgrade planning. Eliminating coaching probably means that I don't need to worry about the fact that I eliminated Kona savings ;-), but it also means I do need to worry about being slow for the foreseeable future.

Shit, this is even more depressing now that it's in print.

Anyone have a spare lottery ticket I can have? Winners only of course...

Anyone have any cost savings tips that I can put to good use?

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