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Cost Estimates & Breakdowns, Fitness, Life

Race & Budget Report: Tar Heel 10 Miler

I’ve talked about the Tar Heel 10 Miler a number of times around here. I was on the fence about going when I wrote up what I thought things would cost to participate. Then I committed! And I was able to actually train to the point where I felt like I was ready physically.

And then, of course, because this is how these types of things happen, I came down with a nasty case of food poisoning five days before the race! It was a dark couple of days and I wasn’t sure I was going to feel up to driving down to Chapel Hill, let alone running in a 10 mile race. Spoiler alert: I was able to fully rebound and I completed all 10 miles on race day!

So, I decided to write up a race report (kind of like how I did when I ran the Color Run in Philadelphia a couple of years ago). This time, the write up comes with a twist of budget breadown!

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Financial Lessons from Suze Orman

5 Financial Lessons from Suze Orman

For the past couple of years, one of my favorite weekly activities was listening to The Suze Orman Show in podcast form. Every Monday, they released the episode that aired on TV on Saturday on iTunes. What a start to the week! Getting up to speed on financial lessons from Suze Orman!

Well, unfortunately, The Suze Orman Show is no more. The series finale was last month and I’m still a bit sad about it. Monday mornings certainly aren’t the same anymore. To mark the ending of the show, I wanted to share five financial lessons that I’ve learned from Suze throughout the years that I will take with me.

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March 2015 Monthly Budget
Budgeting, Money

Monthly Budget: March 2015

I’m back! I’m really really back! You know how I know I’m really really back? I’m doing a monthly review post. This time around, I want to switch it up and share my monthly budget. My old monthly posts used to focus on my goals and what I was up to the previous month.

I figured now that I’m back at it, I wanted to switch it up a little and give a bit more insight into how I practice (or try to practice) what I preach: finding a way to live a fun life that also helps me achieve my financial goals. So, I figured there is no better way to do that than to share my monthly budget.

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Cost of the Tar Heel 10 Miler
Cost Estimates & Breakdowns, Fitness

Cost Estimate Breakdown: Training & Running in the Tar Heel 10 Miler

I’m currently thinking about running a 10 mile road race in April. Specifically, I’m thinking of running in the Tar Heel 10 Miler in Chapel Hill, NC. As I mentioned in my goals for 2015, I want to get back into the swing of exercising. In particular, I want to get back into the swing of running.

The cold weather of late isn’t making me too inclined to lace up my shoes and get out there. While I figure it out, I figure there was no better time than now to plan out how much this decision might cost me.

Tar Heel 10 Miler Cost Estimates

Overall, I estimate that I would rack up costs for food, gear, cross-training, the race itself and travel.

Food – approx. $10 – $30

It almost sounds silly to add a food expense to the cost of running in a race, but training for a long(er) distance race means fueling oneself properly. Generally, I like to use something like CLIF Shot Blocks, GU Chomps or GU Energy Gel when I am training for a longer race. Since it’s only a 10 miler, I would probably only end up needing to use about 3 or 4 packages total for training and the race.

If I end up buying energy supplements at my local running store a la carte, I expect that I would spend under $10. If I were to go the Amazon route and order by the case, I’d probably spend around $30, but would have supplements left over for the next race I decide to tackle.

Cross-training – $0

I currently have a membership to my local rock climbing gym. This membership gives me access to the gym for 3 months and cost me $210. I was tempted to add this as a cost of running in the race, but decided to not include it because I will be paying this membership regardless or whether I run in the race or not.

However, it’s important to note that cross-training is important for properly training for a race. There are plenty of ways to cross-train, both for free (riding your bicycle, doing body weight exercises, etc.) and at a cost (gym memberships, classes, etc.).

Gear – $90 – $120

While I have plenty of exercise clothing, it’s almost time to invest in a new pair of running shoes. I’ve had my trusty Mizuno Wave Rider 16s (identical to the infamous pair worn by Wendy Davis’ filibuster) for a few years now. I’ve had them a long time, but haven’t replaced them yet, because my mileage in them hasn’t been that high.

If I commit to this race (and running more in general), I will likely invest in a new pair of running shoes sometime between now and race day, which adds another expense to the list.

Race Fees – $60 to $70

Depending on when I decide to register, my fee to run will change:

  • $60 before March 1
  • $65 before April 1
  • $70 until the race

What do you get with the race fee? Entry into the race and a t-shirt. I’m sure there will also be a few other goodies included when I pick up my packet, but those are the major things that the cost of entry gets you.

Travel to Race – approx. $175

I do not live in Chapel Hill, where the Tar Heel 10 Miler occurs, so that will add to the cost of my excursion.

Fuel: $50

Since Chapel Hill, NC is pretty close (especially compared to when I lived in Rochester!), I would plan to drive down for the trip. Google maps tells me that Chapel Hill is approximately 250 miles from where I live. With highway driving, I can often get up to 300 miles per tank. Let’s round up and say that I will need two tanks of gas throughout my trip. With gas prices hovering near $2.00/gal. right now and an average tank (for me) costing $23, let’s assume that my fuel costs will be about $50.

Lodging: $0

If I go to this race, my plan would be to stay with one of my friends for two nights. If I were just going to a race like this by myself, I could easily spend $100 to $300 depending on what hotel I stayed at and whether I stayed for one or two nights.

Food & Entertainment – $125

Part of the point (and fun) of doing this race would be to visit friends at the same time. A twofer, if you will. I expect that I would incur the following expenses:

  • Friday night food on the road: $20
  • Post-run breakfast/lunch: $25
  • Dinner & drinks out: $60
  • Sunday food on the road: $20

 The Verdict

If I choose to run in the Tar Heel 10 Miler, I would likely spend somewhere between $335 and $395.  I’m feeling a little sticker shock as I read that number, but I’m trying to keep in mind a few things:

  • A majority of the costs will be for travel ($175) and I’ve been wanting to go down to Chapel Hill anyways
  • These expenses are split across two months
  • I’d be getting new running shoes in the next couple of months anyways ($90 – $120)

When put that way, it seems a bit less scary. After all, the race itself costs $60 and the cost for the energy gels is not high either.

At this point, the only thing that is keeping me back is the training itself. I technically haven’t started to formally train, so there is some chance that I wouldn’t be able to properly train in time.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, I receive a small commission for referring you. As always, all of my opinions are my own!

Moving on a Budget: Don't do what I did
Life, Money, Moving

Moving on a Budget: What NOT to Do

I’d like to think that since I’ve moved a number of times in the last 6 years (PA > NC; NC > MO; MO > NY; NY > NJ; NJ > NY), that my move this fall would be the easiest yet. I should be an expert at moving on a budget at this point, right?! Think again.

Clearly, I’m no stranger to moving, but woooeyyyyyy this time around was a doozy. I should have been reading my own advice when I made the plans, but alas, I did not. I’m pretty sure that we made every rookie mistake there is to make for two people who wanted to spend as little as possible on a move as they could.

Avoid These Things If You Are Moving on a Budget

1. Underestimating the amount of stuff you have

When you underestimate the amount of stuff you have, you put moving on a budget at risk. It’s tempting to think you can fit all of your stuff into the smaller rental truck, but if you make a mistake and need more room, the cost of renting another vehicle or shipping things last minute adds up.

My moving mistake: We ended up needing to ship a number of items via FedEx and to rent a mini van in order to get our stuff down to DC due to underestimating what would fit in a 10′ moving truck.

2. Splitting it into multiple trips

This one seems obvious, but for us, it was unavoidable, because I moved down to DC a month and a half before Richard was able to join me. When you move over multiple trips, especially when you are moving a 7 hour drive away, the cost of gas, time, food on the road, and wear and tear on the card add up. Also, if you forget something in location A that you need in location B before you are able to move everything down, you might need to buy it when you get to location B.

My moving mistake: I packed kitchen utensils for myself in Rochester, but accidentally left them on the counter before departing for Virginia. When I arrived in Virginia and realized I had nothing to cook with, I ended up having to go to Target to buy some new ones even though we own PLENTY of kitchen utensils. It’s not a huge expense, but the little things add up.

3. Leaving things behind or donating things you still want / need

I’m all for minimizing when it comes to moves. When I moved from Missouri to New York, my goal was to move with just my car and no rental truck or anything else. In order to do that, I had to downsize drastically. We did the same thing this time around, since we knew that the stuff in our 1000 sq ft house would not fit into our new 750 sq ft apartment. We spent the weeks leading up to the move selling as much as we could, but time ran out and we ended up donating or leaving behind a number of things that we would have wanted to keep or needed to replace once we got to our new place.

My moving mistake: One thing that we left behind that we needed to replace was our vacuum. It was one of the things that we needed until the last minute, but didn’t have room for it in the car at the very end, so we left it behind. Luckily, we were able to borrow one of Richard’s parents vacuums for the time being so we didn’t have to spend money to replace it… yet.

4. Last minute moving truck reservations

In my opinion, moving truck companies are a little sheisty when it comes to reservations. They seem to overbook their reservations and let you book a truck that they may not end up having when you arrive. To make up for this, they will often let you book the next size truck up without the extra charge. At the very least, this is how it works with U-Haul.

My moving mistake: I made my reservation too late and the 14′ truck that I wanted was not available. U-Haul offered to bump us up to the 17′ truck at no cost, but we were renting a trailer to haul a motorcycle, so it seemed extreme (and potentially dangerous) for us to try to drive a 17′ truck PLUS the trailer. We ended up getting the 10′ truck, which obviously was too small. In the end, we rented a large mini van to put extra stuff in and that still wasn’t enough.

5. Multiple apartment hunting trips

Another part of moving on a budget is finding a new place to live. If you are trying to find a place to live in a new location out of town, the costs of transportation, lodging, and food add up. This is why it is important to be prepared, give yourself ample time to find something, and do everything you can to find an apartment in the time you’ve been given.

My moving mistake: When I moved to both Missouri and Hoboken, I made a trip ahead of time to find a new apartment and was successful both times. In September, we made a trip to DC to apartment hunt, but were unfortunately unsuccessful. This resulted in me having to go down a second time to apartment hunt, but thankfully I was able to find something at the very last second (almost missing my flight too!).

Lessons for Moving on a Budget

Hopefully, I’ve learned my lesson and you can learn some lessons from me. For me, the lessons are:

  • You have a crapload of stuff, no matter how much you try to downsize, so just accept it and act accordingly.
  • Plan ahead and be realistic.
  • Stop selling or donating things you’re just going to need to re-buy anyways.
Tips for selling on Craigslist
Making Money, Money

5 Tips for Selling on Craigslist

It’s springtime! Which means that I’ve been doing a lot of spring cleaning lately. As part of my spring cleaning, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of clutter around the house. This means selling some of the extra things that I have, but don’t need or want anymore.

What am I doing with all that stuff? I’m selling it on Craigslist, of course!

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Cost Estimates & Breakdowns, Life, Money, Moving

Cost of Living Comparison: Greater New York vs. Rochester


As you might remember, last summer I moved from Hoboken, NJ to Rochester, NY to close the gap in my long distance relationship. I was able to work out a remote work situation with my employer, so I’ve been doing the whole work from home thing for 9 months now.

Now that it’s been a while, I figured it was as good time to do a cost of living comparison and look at how my expenses have changed since moving from a high cost of living area to a relatively low cost of living area.

Of course, as with everything, not all of the differences that I found were cut and dry. My lifestyle in the last 9 months has changed, which makes the overall cost of living of the two locations only a portion of the picture. Lifestyle changes that have impacted my expenses include:

  • I work remotely in Rochester; I commuted from Hoboken to New York while living in Hoboken
  • I lived by myself in a small one bedroom apartment in Hoboken; now I live in a two bedroom house with a roommate (Richard)
  • In general, I have been cooking at home more and reducing my restaurant outings since moving to Rochester
  • I did not own a car while living in Hoboken; I purchased a car after about three months of living in Rochester

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A Primer on Personal Finance Resources

Knowledge is power. And when it comes to money, that statement could not be more true. As I go through my journey to pay off my student loans, I try to think of it as a learning exercise as well. There’s a lot to know about student loans and personal finance, so I want to know as much as I can.
Since knowledge is power, the more I learn about how to manage my money, the more control I feel that I have over my situation. With money, however, there is always going to be something new to learn. But to learn, you have to start somewhere. Throughout my own personal journey, I’ve turned to a number of resources to learn about personal finance: books, websites and podcasts. Below you’ll find a breakdown of some of my go-to sources as well as some personal finance resources that are on my to-read list.

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