Today I ran in a race for which I paid only $10--the price of preregistration by March 10 (race day registration, I understand, was $25).
Granted the price of races is going up and there are some fees that are getting out of control. It's more and more expensive to hold those heavily marketed bells and whistles kind of races.
But why run those if you can find some smaller neighborhood races with fewer frills and more of the money going to some running clubs or other worthwhile groups?
Or try some all-comers' or development track meets. The price per event is pretty minimal, the distance is accurate, and they focus on what you're there for: racing.
Think of it--it's kind of like, "I'll go into Starbuck's and steal their expensive coffee" OR "I'll go into Starbuck's and buy their expensive coffee." But what about that all-important third option. "I'll bypass Starbuck's, go somewhere cheaper, pay for it so as to keep it honest, but not go broke."