As I have noted a few times on this blog I’m keen to focus on saving more money and investing it for the simple reason that more buying means more work and less riding. I can have the sweetest gear all the time and little time to use it or I can have a few excellent items and much more opportunity to get outside and play.
Unless you are independently wealthy you have the same choice to make.
I have been reducing my cost of living over the past few years and I am making some solid progress. My savings vs. my income has at least doubled which is awesome. As I looked at my spending in 2015 to see where I could cut further the following areas came to mind:
- bikes and related items
- outdoors gear
- fly fishing gear
- surfing/kiteboarding gear
On the gear front my plan is simple – buy nothing new unless something I need to keep my bikes/gear operating dies or needs maintenance. In that case repair/replace it. So if my fork needs a seal kit on 15 Jan 2016 I’m not going stop riding that bike for the whole year. I’ll just spend the $30 on a new kit and get it back on the trails.
As I look at my past gear spending maintaining what I have is not expensive, but buying new stuff is. So I’ll cut the new stuff out this year.
I have enough clothes to last many years as I have purchased quality items and I don’t abuse them. So no clothes in 2016 either. My caveat is one off items that might get damaged/lost/stolen. For example I wear 4 pairs of shoes regularly [Keen shoes, Keen boots, bike shoes and crocs] and I can realistically wear out the Keen shoes and Crocs in a year as they get used the most. They would get replaced.
Electronics are black hole for money as they come out with upgrades and new devices so fast and furiously. Other than cameras I am pretty good about not succumbing to consumer lust in this department [ie. I have never purchased an iPad]. Cameras are my weakness for sure. My Canon point and shoot just stopped working so this will be a good test of my resolve as I am not buying a new camera since I have a waterproof point and shoot I can use in its place. The WP camera is not as nice for image quality, but it is paid for! I can also haul my DSLR around if I want sweet photos.
I have a truck for work and a motorcycle. I ride the motorcycle whenever I can as it’s cheaper to operate than the truck. My current contract involves a 50km round trip commute which is not ideal. 10hr shifts and the lack of showers makes me unmotivated to commute by bicycle regularly. I did move to a 4 day work week in 2015 thereby reducing commuting costs by 20%. That meant 10hrs shifts which leave me quite tired and less interested in pedalling to work. I will not take any new work that is not a bicycle ride from my house.
The main change here will be only insuring my moto for 6 months when I renew the insurance. I can ride through some of the winter, but it’s probably not worth the cost to insure the bike. I had pondered getting a new motorcycle, but that’s now off the table. I can use the one I have or sell it to reduce my vehicle costs. For now I’ll keep it since it’s paid for. I’m thinking hard about the fact that if I never buy another motorcycle that saves a significant chunk of $$ from my annual budget forever. I enjoy riding a moto, but the money I spend on a moto each year would easily fund a 2 week trip to Moab and that’s not including actually buying a moto. That’s just operating costs. Moab every year or motorcycle?…hmmmm!
We cut ~20%-25% off our food/drink bill in 2014/15, but we can probably cut another 20% at least. Our focus for 2015 will be reducing meat consumption and meal planning more rigourously. The meal plans will mean less wastage and we can ensure some very low cost vegetarian meals are included in the mix. On the drink side we consume lots of water, milk, tea and coffee at home. None are expensive so I’m not worried about them. $5 coffees at a cafe are a problem so those will be rare. I’m budgeting one six pack of beer a week and Sharon buys one six pack of cider or a bottle of wine a week.
Eating out once at week at $50 or less is our goal. Special occasions/holidays excepted.
As noted above new stuff costs a lot. Some examples:
- new mountain bike = $5K-$7K
- new surfboard = $1K
- new fly rod and reel = $500 – $1200
- new kite and kiteboard = $2K
- new laptop = $1K – $2K
- new camera $1K – $2K
- new motorcycle $12K – $15K
So if I just save one or two big purchases in 2016 it will add significantly to my savings and investments. Especially if one of those purchases is a new mountain bike. 😉