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The following post was written by me and originally published on Nov 4th, 2011 on My Broken Coin as part of a “Yakezie blog swap.” The topic of this blog swap was to discuss a certain thing or category of things that we absolutely refuse to go cheap on in our lives. Below is my take on this topic. Enjoy!
When the host of this blog swap (Jon from Free Money Wisdom) introduced the common topic as describing an area of our personal finances that we refuse to be cheap about, I have to admit that I was somewhat intrigued.
Why is this, you might be asking? Well, if you’re somewhat familiar with the personal finance blogosphere, you probably know that the topics of frugality and saving money are widely popular. They are so popular, in fact, that you might even be hard pressed to look through your blog reader and NOT see a post titled something along the lines of “How I saved $1000 on a vacation” or “7 ways to save money this winter.”
Now, there is of course good reason why these types of posts are so prevalent, as people are looking to personal finance blogs for ideas for how they can squeeze a few more Dollars of savings out of their monthly needs in the difficult economic climate. And, I can’t say that I blame them at all!
However, it is fascinating to hear the opposite of the frugal-to-death approach to life, do a little soul-searching, and find out where we each draw the line as far as how cheap we go with specific items.
For me personally, I refuse to go cheap on 1) buying sports equipment that will help me to compete better in cycling and running races and 2) buying equipment that enables me to exercise without (or with minimal) pain.
I Never Go Cheap on Competitive Sports Equipment and Expenses
For me personally, there are three life values (“life pillars,” if you will) that I need in order to feel as if I am leading a fulfilling life. These are as follows: 1) health/exercise, 2) time with family or friends, and 3) contributing to society and making a difference. As such, each of these values holds a very high priority in my life, and I always strive to do the best I can in each of them.
One of my favorite ways to go about achieving the health and exercise life value is through competition in long-distance endurance sports such as cycling (which I used to do quite a bit but don’t anymore due to bio-mechanical issues) or half marathon running races. Essentially, anything that involves going up mountains for multiple-hour periods, I’m there!
Since I strive to do the best I can in these races, I am willing to spend extra money (if needed) to buy equipment, travel to races, and enter races that will enable me to achieve peak performance. Listed below are some various expenses and pieces of equipment I’ve purchased over the years that have enabled me to achieve peak performance in both cycling and running races. I’ve also included the price so that you can see that by no means did I SAVE any money by purchasing these items.
Running and Cycling Race Equipment/Expenses I’ve Purchased Over the Years (the Non-Cheap Variety)
- Cycling Purchases – 2001-2006
- Road racing bike (multiple purchases) – > $4,000.
- Biking shoes – $300.
- Biking pedals and cleats – $150.
- PowerTap power meter and training tool – $1,200.
- Biking helmet – $200.
- Biking clothes – $500 or more total – an ongoing expense because things wear out periodically.
- Aerodynamic time trial wheels – $1,200.
- Heart rate monitor – $200.
- Car bike rack – $400.
- Cycling training camp in Texas – $600-$800 per year.
- Race entry fees – Average of $50 each for > 20 races per year.
- Travel to races + hotel fees – A lot. I don’t even want to guess!
- Running Purchases – 2008-Present
- Race entry fees – $70-$120 per race for half marathon road and trail running races.
- Garmin ForeRunner GPS and heart rate monitor watch – $150.
- CamelBack hydration pack (for trail running races and training) – $100.
- Technical material (self-wicking) socks, t-shirts, and shorts – $200 – variable.
I Never Go Cheap in Order to Exercise Pain Free
As I mentioned above, I used to compete quite frequently in long-distance cycling races (I made it to being a Category 2 racer before I had to stop racing). However, in the 2004-2005 time frame, I developed some bio-mechanical issues that started causing knee and Achilles tendon pain while running or cycling.
Ultimately, these bio-mechanical issues (flat feet and a slightly curved back) forced me to have to scale back my cycling activities to recreation-only levels, but I still am able to compete in running races, which surprisingly only minimally cause pain after long races. Throughout the process of trying to correct these defects and even today in my training, there is not much I wouldn’t do or spend to be able to exercise pain free.
Listed below are the various treatments and products I’ve bought over the years to keep me “on the exercise pain-free train.” Again, I’ve listed the prices to illustrate that exercising pain free has not been, in itself, FREE.
- To treat/cope with my flat feet….
- Special ultra-arch-supportive running shoes – $130 – multiple pairs in order to find the right fit.
- Custom molded orthotic shoe inserts for my running shoes – $500
- Custom molded orthotic shoe inserts for my cycling shoes – $300
- To treat/cope with my slightly curved back causing misalignment in my bike position…
- Laser-assisted bike fit session in Boulder, Colorado with one of the world’s experts on bike fitting – ~$600 + plane travel to and from.
How about you all? What areas of your personal finances do you simply refuse to go cheap on? Why do you feel this way about these specific areas?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecastro/3053916892/sizes/l/in/photostream/