Biking is a fast way to save big money on a daily basis. It’s so powerful in fact that the biggest frugality blogger, Mr. Money Mustache, believes it’s one of the pillars of financial freedom. After reading his blog for a few months, it finally set in. I needed to buy a bike.
I began biking pretty much everywhere I could. Rain or shine, I would bike. I save about $2,500 per year biking. I’ve arrived at that number based on a few reasons. First, I rarely buy fuel. Second, there’s no wear and tear on my car while biking. Plus, although I haven’t taken this into account in my calculation, I can get away with driving an older car. That’s because I don’t need something that can take day after day use. Instead, I just drive my car a few times a month. Since I started biking, my car has been as reliable as any brand new car.
This blog post will tell you how you can save with biking. It’s not difficult. It doesn’t have much for startup costs. But it does take discipline. The following are things to consider:
Buy a Quality Bicycle
Mr. Money Mustache recommends you buy a bike with a MSRP of at least $500. That’s a lot in my opinion. So my bike actually wasn’t that expensive. But that’s because I wasn’t sure what bike I’d want. I’ve traded bikes a lot. But when I decide exactly what bike I want, it’ll be a good one. If you ride a rusty pile of junk, it’ll make the ride embarrassing and less enjoyable. Buy a bike you are proud to ride. Then you’ll ride it more often.
Get a Headlight and Taillight
Most cities require these two things if you want to ride at night. You may think you won’t be riding at night. But many bikers (myself included) find it really fun. Plus, you never want to have to leave some place early just because your bike doesn’t have lights. Lights are cheap. P.S. there are some lights you can buy that run off the energy you create as you bike. But they aren’t very bright. And they go dim when you climb hills. Better off to just to buy a pack of lights. They aren’t expensive.
Get Something for When It Rains
Biking in the rain isn’t as difficult as it seems. You’re in a crouched position. So really you only need a way to keep the rain off your upper body. And you should be wearing rain shoes. Your tires will throw up water which will get your shoes wet. Unless it’s an absolute downpour, biking in the rain isn’t too tough. I tried using an umbrella but it didn’t work out – as you may imagine.
Live as close to work as feasible.
Biking a mile to work is a heck of a lot easier than biking 20 miles to work. Live as close to work as is feasible. The cost may be higher, the closer you get to the office. But that’s okay for a few reasons. One is that you’ll need to bike less so you’re already low transportation costs will get even lower. The other reason is your time. Your time is precious. Too precious for a long commute, wouldn’t you say?
Commit to Biking Somewhere
I started biking everywhere. But I understand if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment. Instead, promise yourself you’ll always bike to a certain place. Perhaps to work. Or the grocery store on Saturday mornings. Or allow yourself to only go to the cinema if you bike there.
Once you begin to enjoy your bike, expand where you travel to. Pretty soon, your car will be gathering dust and your leg muscles will be massive.
Get a Trailer for Groceries
If you’ve proved that you’re serious about biking, invest in a trailer. These trailers are made for children. But like a backseat in a car, they work well for groceries as well. It’s actually quite convenient. You can park your bike and trailer very close to the store’s doors. Then you simply place in your groceries, bike into your garage and unload. It’s definitely not unpleasant.
Get a Balaclava for Winter
One of the few things I’ve purchased for my ride is a balaclava for winter. This keeps my face and neck warm. It especially helps with warming the air I breathe. Otherwise, it can be really cold on my throat. When biking, you take in a lot more air than driving.
Know All of the Bike Shops
Where are the bike shops at in your town? It’s best to know their locations and reputation. This way, if there’s a breakdown, you can go there for parts/service. You should know where the bike shops are, even in neighborhoods you infrequent. I’ve had a few minor incidents where knowing the bike shops have come in handy. Yes, your smartphone can show you locations and provide reviews. But it’s best to know the bike shops on a more intimate level. This way there’s less panic and frustration when you get a flat tire or your headlight stops working.
Now get out there and enjoy the ride! It’s easier than you may think!
Will Lipovsky is a personal finance freelance writer and internet marketer. His most embarrassing moment has been saying to a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.” You can get in touch with Will at FirstQuarterFinance.com.