Monthly Archives: December 2014

Floor 28: Accidentally Buy a Really Nice Bike

I’ve posted before about how much I love bicycling.  Mr. DebtFreeJD and I both live within an easy bike ride of our jobs.  This is really important to us.  In fact, we are thinking about buying a house in the not-too-distant future, and one of our must-haves is that it be in biking distance of our jobs.

However, my bike is not in great shape.  I got it for free from our downstairs neighbors, and while you can’t beat the price, the bike itself left something to be desired.  First, it was a man’s bike, which made biking in skirts and dresses really difficult/revealing.  Second, it was rusty.  Third, it was heavy.  Fourth, it moved at approximately the same speed as Dog DebtFreeJD after several hours at the dog park – that is too say, pretty slow.

So, for Christmas this year, Mr. DebtFreeJD and I agreed I would get a new bike.  We went down to our local bike store, thinking of spending about $300 for a new, not very fancy bike.

Instead, we bought a used bike made by this company:

http://martonecycling.com/

Specifically, this bike:

Bike

It is, for all intents and purposes, a brand-new bike (retailing at $1,200), but for various reasons I won’t get into, its original owner didn’t keep it, and so it was being sold for $400.

It took me one short test ride to announce that I HAD to have it.

It’s a great bike.  I love it.  It’s got an automatic gear shift, which is weird, but I now like it. There’s only two gears (inside a cylinder) – and one chain – so there should be very little maintenance needed.  I like the basket.  It’s light.  I also really like the double-kickstand.   All in all, I’m looking forward to many years of whizzing around our small city on my new steed.  And in so doing, reaping all the benefits of bike riding, including increased fresh air, better exercise, more tolerance to the cold and heat, and an earlier arrival time at work and at home.

 

Floor 27: Acknowledge Abject Failure. Move On.

As some of you may remember, I made a big push to reduce our grocery bill in November.

How did it go?

Abject failure, I would say.

I should have known from the get-go.  Some people are great at setting huge goals for themselves, taking them on, and then completing them.  I am . . . not.  I get going, guns-ablazing for a couple days, and then I give up.  Sometimes I even regress, putting myself in a worse position than I was before.

That is exactly what happened this time.  Mr. DebtFreeJD and I hadn’t eaten out alone in months. But the instant I announced we would stop eating out except with friends, I felt the overwhelming urge to go to a romantic dinner for just the two of us.   The same with buying lunch on workdays.  I had been great about bringing my lunch to work.  But as soon as I tried to embark on ultra-frugal meal planning, I lost all interest in what we had to eat in the house, and started buying pizza and sandwiches.

I should have learned my lesson by now.  Small steps just work better for me.

So, where do I go from here?  I’d still like to cut down the amount we’re spending on food.  But clearly it’s not going to happen in one big push.

In the spirit of small, but achievable goals, here’s mine for the month:

I’ll cut out buying soda during the weekdays for the month of December. 

Sounds reasonable, right?  I think so too.  Boy, how I admire those folks with iron-self control who can turn their life around on a dime.  I’m not one of them.  It’s time to acknowledge it and live accordingly.

November Debt Payment Progress

We certainly spent a bunch of money this month – I’m not entirely sure on what, but our credit card bills are definitely higher.  Nevertheless, progress was made on debt repayment.

Here’s the tally for November:

Starting Debt: $125,933.50

Current Debt: $36,883.54

Debt Paid Off: $89,049.96

Progress, progress!