The finances of fitness
Like a lot of other people these days my husband and I are not quite where we’d like to be financially. While we are fortunate to have solid, stable jobs and no credit card debt, we unfortunately have a house in Arizona that we can’t sell and can’t rent out for anything close to what the mortgage is (if I could build a time machine I’d go back to 2006 and physically restrain myself from buying that damn seriously depreciated house). So, we budget and we watch what we spend and we are trying to aggressively build our savings account.
Every month I track our spending in all the major categories: groceries, gas, eating out, clothes, medical, etc. Last year, for the first time, I added fitness as a category. So far this year my husband and I have spent $1,191.54 on race fees, shoes, equipment, clothing, and travel related to races. I’m totally okay with that number, especially given that I could very easily imagine spending twice that if I got all the gear that I covet (triathlons are not the cheapest hobby to have) but I got flamed pretty badly on a financial message board that I frequently post on (how DARE I waste that kind of money when I have a negative net worth?? What are you thinking?) (yes, my net worth is a negative number. Stupid freaking Arizona real estate market). A few people from that board even visited my personal blog and commented that spending $30 on a race fee was “wasteful” and “self-indulgent” and a luxury that I “just couldn’t afford”. While I understand that I don’t have to race I couldn’t disagree more with the strident harpy that was flaming me: fitness is not a luxury. Racing motivates me to exercise which I think will pay off in lots of ways, financial and otherwise, for me as I age.
While the flaming was more annoying than upsetting, it did make me curious about how other people account for the financial aspects of trying to get or stay fit. Do you budget for it? Is it a priority or a luxary item in your household? Do you ever get flak for spending money on your athletic or fitness pursuits?
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to go book a $50 hotel room to stay in the night before my next 5K (this weekend, $15).