Recent Penn State grad Kristin Goett dishes out advice for the U23 crowd (and the U23 at heart) in her Tri University column.
“I got bills, they’re multiplying…” ok, so that isn’t how the song goes, but it is how college and post-grad finances seem to go.
Being a triathlete from the ages of 18 to about 24 is hard enough. You’re either involved in academics or stressing about joining the workforce. I commiserate with all of you. Yet somehow, 18-24 age groupers compete in triathlons all over the world. Is there a magic triathlon fairy who leaves money under their pillows? Sadly, no, but I can dream!
While friends may not understand why $200 is better spent on new spandex than on a loan payment, your cadre of fellow triathletes do get it and want to pass along a few budgeting tips.
Someone’s Trash is Your Treasure
Tip one is to go dumpster diving! Just kidding. Triathletes are constantly upgrading equipment. The old equipment has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is usually a Facebook page. Dumpster —I mean, Facebook—diving is all the rage.
Pages like “Tri n’ Sell It” or “Online Swap Meet” are excellent resources for buying equipment at often 50% off or more. Usually, the equipment is gently used and far from outdated. Do some digging and you will find respected brands for a freaking amazing price. Aero wheels? I grabbed mine for a thousand dollars less than market value. A thousand dollars, people!
Using the innate social media skills you no doubt have as part of this generation, chat with the seller, make sure the post is legit and orchestrate a payment agreement. Always ask the seller for the shipment tracking number, mostly so you can sit by the front door to wait for your goods.
Lastly, be sure to roll around in all those extra bills you saved.
Friends in Tri Places
Make friends. It’s solid life advice that also applies to the triathlon world. Reaching out to race directors can pay off, literally and figuratively.
Locate a few local races you would like to do (sorry, I don’t think the big name guys will hand out free entries too often), then contact the race director and nicely ask the director if he/she would consider granting you a free or discounted race entry.
To sweeten the deal, offer to lead a pre-race ride and to promote the race in your tri community and on social media. Races live and die by promotion, so if you can show your marketability, a free race entry may just be in the cards.
There is no “I” in Triathlon… Err
So, there is an “I” in triathlon, but there is no “I” in team. Recently, sponsored triathlon teams formed to help turn this solo sport into a team one.
Teams like Coeur Sports, EMJ Triathlon and Timex are sponsored teams that accept new members on an application-only basis. Pro tip: application season is August through November. Check team websites for more details!
Being accepted onto these teams provides you with steep discounts, free product and support systems that are often your source of lodging and cheering at races.
Most teams will request that you partake in wellness events, social media campaigns and act as a responsible representative, so make sure your crazy college pics are hidden somewhere far, far away!
No one said it would be easy, but I do promise all of your penny-pinching will be worth it for that feeling of sweet success when you cross the finish line at your next race. Got a budgeting tip we should know about? Leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter.