My best purchase of 2017

Without a doubt, it’s the commuter bike I bought from Hollyloft in Jamestown.

I did not buy a bike because I necessarily enjoy biking: I do not consider myself a bicyclist any more than I consider myself an “automobilist.” I bought a bike because I want to get from “Point A” to “Point B” using the least amount of money. I am a strict utilitarian when it comes to transportation, so let’s break down the math:

The bike cost $339.95. Extra parts and tax brought the total to $483.54.

That purchase was thirteen weeks ago, and since then I’ve only gone through two tanks of gas for my car ($60), almost entirely from commuting to Buffalo. Using a conservative estimate of $20 in gas expenses per week, I’ve already saved $260, bringing the cost of the bike down to $223.54. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

It’s recommended I get my car oil changed this month (which I will), or at 111,000 miles. I’m just over 109,000 miles. In four months I’ve only put 300 miles on my car (!!!). Even a novice quickly sees that the real savings is in the life of the car and fewer trips to the mechanic. Given proper care, my car will last exponentially longer than it would have otherwise.

When I do need to buy a new car, I do not need to “invest” in a car with “high safety ratings,” “good gas mileage,” or “snow tires.” I don’t use my car enough to warrant buying any of these high-priced items. I can instead buy a cheap, used car and start the same process all over again. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars saved over the course of a lifetime.

So where does all the money I save go? Into low-cost index funds for my retirement. The more money I can get into retirement accounts the better.

And that might not even be the best part. The best part might be that exercise has become a natural part of my life, much as it was for humans up until the industrial revolution. I no longer go to the gym to do cardio; I do cardio to get to the gym (and then do my strength training), which saves a ton of time. If my gym membership wasn’t so cheap I’d cancel it.

Granted, you need to live close to your job to make this work, but that’s another article in itself.

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