Endurance on a Budget
|March 21, 2017||Posted by Melinda under Equine Endurance|
I haven’t been motivated to blog recently. I watch topics come and go in my editorial journal and tell myself I’ll get back to them when I quit feeling so tired and hermit-ish. Life is mentally stressful right now but the good news is that I *am* running and riding and getting plenty of trail time – it’s just the writing that is more brain stimulation than I can stand. It also probably explains why for the most part I am hitting the trails alone.
But then this week this topic came up on my schedule and I *knew* it was one I could gather my wits together to do. You see, my family recently got hit with a huge unexpected expense. One that completely wiped us out. Square one. A decade of saving and *responsible* financial decisions a completely moot point. Oh and then the roof starting leaking – the kind of leak that requires buckets, bricks, and plastic. Whoa baby. Tell me again the advantages of home ownership? It’s official, Frugal-Mel just got forcibly converted back to Broke-Mel.
When I first thought of this topic for a post over a month ago and scheduled it, I had envisioned a light-hearted yet practical post that was partly made up of classic advice (yes, you really do need a budget) with some creative ideas.
Funny, now that I have to actually apply and live this advice, I’m really not in the mood for fluff and creativity. So I’m sticking with the boring things that actually make a difference right now. These aren’t earth-shattering tips or advice that you’ve never heard before, but at least I can tell you from personal experience that it’s working…..
Do I pay for parking?
Frugal-Melinda pays the parking fee because time is worth money and often I have a very short window to make a conditioning ride happen. I choose the best trail for the conditioning ride I want whether it’s free or $10.
Broke-Melinda parks at less suitable trailhead because $10 saved is $10 towards an endurance ride. The conditioning rides aren’t quite as good and it’s more work to make the same ride happen.
Broke-Mel rides at home as much as possible even though it means pedaling the old mare along who is trying hard to throw herself across the retirement line, and then riding the raging beast of a hell-demon horse home since she’s as sick of those trails as I am. Not worth it to frugal-Mel. Worth it to broke-Mel.
I’ve never been able to get the hang of coupon-ing, but rebate apps on my phone are a whole different ballgame. I started using them at the beginning of this month and so far I’ve made $75 doing my normal grocery shopping
It makes grocery shopping extra work and more time-consuming because I’m hunting for products and brands that I’m not as familiar with but….worth it to Broke-Mel.
It’s easy to spend way too much money to save money so if you decide to try the rebate apps, you will have to do some planning and thinking how best to implement the savings offers for your lifestyle. I just deleted SO MANY WORDS of how I made them work for me because what works for me isn’t going to perfectly work for anyone else. Bottom line is with some fore-thought you can use them to save (my current savings represent a 25% savings to my grocery budget) without throwing nutrition out the door or significantly changing your shopping habits.
The downside? You give up some privacy because to verify the rebates you have to upload receipts. Broke-Mel doesn’t care.
I’ve tried most of the rebate apps out there and here’s the ones that have the biggest pay off so far. Some of them have referral codes that if you use will kick back a couple of dollars to me if you sign up (literally a *couple* dollars. Like $2). It would be great if you remember, but that’s not why I’m sharing these.
- Ibotta (referral code: hoclfdb)
- Mobi (referral code: TVBRVOMN)
- Savings Star
I have a budget
The most important thing to do when doing endurance on a budget is to actually have a budget.
There are two types of people. Those who view budgets as a prison, and those people who see them as the wings of freedom. I’m obviously in the latter and firmly convinced that the prison-viewers just need to understand budgets better to see the light.
A budget isn’t about what I can’t spend my money on. It’s the freedom to spend my money on the things I most care about.
Broke-Mel and Frugal-Mel have budgets. Frugal-Mel mostly follows the budget. Broke-Mel is very careful to follow the budget. Since Broke-Mel still has a job, Broke-Mel is squeezing and manipulating the budget so she can both responsibly adult and still get trail time.
I’m not going to tell you how to create a budget or make it work for you because I’m not a financial advice site and there’s a ton of good ones on the web.
Do what you can yourself, but don’t cut everything
I trim hooves myself. I mow my own lawn. I clean my own house. Does it suck? Yep, some of the time. All those things are part of the money-time balance and right now I need to save money by spending some of my precious time on these things.
It doesn’t pay to cut out everything, so you have to evaluate the whole picture.
I still pay for day care because even though it’s a substantial expense, I make enough money working that it’s worth it. I still use a meal delivery service for a certain number of days a week because overall it lowers our grocery bill and emotional labor and is worth every penny.
Depending on the financial crisis you are facing, it might make sense to cut every single penny you can….I don’t have to do that…yet :).
Stop buying stuff
Broke-Mel (and it’s a habit Frugal-Mel got into too) doesn’t look at the used tack facebook groups or used tack sales “just to see what they have”. I have everything I need to ride my horses and compete in the sport of endurance. Ignore the coupon codes and store sales. Throw the catalogs away without looking at them. The sport of endurance is very simple. Sure it might be nice to have a spare one of that or this….but there will be time for that later. Right now I’d rather go to a ride than pick up that used bridle for a “steal”. I have 2 bridles. I don’t *need* anything. I’ll deal with my wants later.
Selling stuff is a pain in the arse. Frugal-Mel might give away a lot of stuff she could sell just because it isn’t worth her time. Broke-Mel gets around to posting pictures of the stuff she has for sale and makes the time.
Broke-Mel is contemplating a yard sale. Mel’s husband isn’t so sure so Broke-Mel is sticking to facebook and Craigslist for now.
Do less endurance rides and races that come with an entry fee…..but that’s OK because just remember that means…..
Do MORE rides with friends.
Do MORE rides on new local trails you haven’t gotten around to checking out.
When you decide to spend the money on an event, make it special – a bucket list event you’ve always wanted to do, or a location you’ve always wanted to visit.
Find another Broke-rider and trailer pool to a trailhead. Split the gas. Pack a picnic. Don’t forget the scotch. Oh and food.
Find a Sugar Daddy
Just kidding. Sorta.
One More Important concept: Time versus Money
Saving money is almost always about the time versus money balance. Sometimes you spend a little money to save a lot of time or make something more convenient. For example, spending a little money to park at the trail head that is closer to the trails that are more suitable for conditioning. How much time you are willing to spend on coupon-ing. etc.
Life is not *always* about how many pennies you can save. It’s a balance between the time cost to saving money, the money cost to saving time, and still doing the fun things that make life worth living if you die next week.
The balance between these factors is a fluid thing. Sometimes it makes sense to save every penny and sometimes it doesn’t. My hope that is if life throws you a curve ball and you find yourself in the same situation as Broke-Mel, some of these tips make it possible for you to continue to hit the trails. I’m right there with you.
PREACH. Especially the less rides thing. I do so much unofficial conditioning; way more worth it to me to look at my GPS at the end of the year and see all the miles I racked up vs. worrying about paying money to rack up all those miles. I am not sure I’ll ever know how people have HUGE FUCKING RIGS and go to rides EVERY FUCKING WEEKEND. Like, how? If you’re retired, maybe? If you only eat drink and live endurance, I guess? I’ll be toddling along with bare minimum at limited number of rides for the foreseeable (forever) future so I can balance life with horse stuff. Bucket list rides and rides that are close to me are where it’s at. Beyond that, it’s just more money and time than I can commit.
And yes, I also see my budget as freedom. I developed an categorized budget spreadsheet a few years ago and it has been my saving grace. I see where I spend more of my money and have been able to easily shuffle other things around to make ends meet. It isn’t always easy, but being knowledgeable of what I’m spending and where keeps me out of most of the deep dark holes.
…still I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I didn’t like animals so much! lol
I need races and rides on my calendar to keep me motivated. Otherwise I simply don’t ride. So it’s a priority for me to do at least a couple a year. But it’s hard for me to fathom the amount of resources needed for those huge Rigs like you were talking, and the number of horses you would need to go to a ride every weekend. For me being the only person in my family that is into it, it’s an absolute no go, but even if my family loved being at rides, it just doesn’t pencil out for me and my life and finances.