First Step: Becoming Frugal
I’ve recently been binge reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog. It’s all about frugality and saving now for a happy, leisurely life in the future. While we’re not yet to the point that we can start saving 70% of our income, we are working on other ways to save money. Hopefully we will be able to use his and other techniques to help us move ourselves to our future life in Utah.
This weekend was the first foray into our new biking frugality. After many, many articles read about riding your bike instead of taking the car for short trips, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I got my bike tuned up and running smoothly and Alex got a new bike. After the setback of her fracturing her radial head, we are back on top of this new biking kick. As mentioned before, this weekend was our first big test. I recently acquired a trailer for my bike so that we can transport larger necessities from stores and other sources. On Saturday, we toured our local neighborhoods with the trailer in tow, searching for bike accessories at yard sales. Although we didn’t find much, and it probably wasn’t worth towing the trailer for this trip, we did find a few goodies to make our biking trips better. Sunday morning we headed off to Costco with the trailer in tow and our new membership cards in pocket. While shopping, we loaded it up with tons of well-priced, bulk goodies. Everything sold at Costco is bulky, but we avoided having too many things to bring home by using the bike trailer as a hand cart. If it didn’t fit in the cart while wandering the store, there was no way to bring it home. It turned out to be a very good plan, and there was no issue zipping up the trailer and hauling it home. Even while browsing the store with our own cart, we had many comments from employees and customers about how it was a great idea, and how they love what we’re doing. I’m not exactly a social person by nature, but even I was a little excited to explain what it was and how it worked. I was a little wary that with a full cart holding something like 40lbs would be a little tougher to pull. It wasn’t. With the ability to switch gears, you can easily get the extra weight moving with minimal extra work. When heading downhill and hitting the higher gears, the weight actually seemed to be more beneficial by increasing my momentum for the occasional inclines at the other end of the hills.
Sunday morning, before heading to Costco, our bathroom light and fan stopped working. It was working fine one moment, and the next it just didn’t respond to the switch being flipped. Flexing my weak frugality muscles, I popped the switch cover off the wall and busted out my trusty multimeter to see if I could figure out what was wrong. After some basic diagnostics with the meter, and a little bit of alternating current coursing through my body (whoops), I determined the switch went bad. Since Home Depot is across the street from Costco, we also stopped by to pick up a new light switch. Total cost for the materials for this repair: $0.95. I bought three switches (at 88ȼ ea) in the case that another switch in the house dies, I won’t have to ride all the way back to HD.
It was actually FUN to go shopping. Before this weekend, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to claim that. While my legs are sore from adding an 8 mile ride around Puddingstone, it was definitely a good weekend, both for fitness and frugality. With that, it brings us one week closer to our ultimate goal. See you soon, Utah!
Summary of frugality this weekend:
- Biked almost everywhere: Exercise, less gas and wear&tear on the vehicles
- Shopped at Costco: Saved money by buying in bulk, limited our spending to what we could fit in our trailer
- Fixed light switch: Saved the minimum of $80 for an electrician to come out and tell us we’re idiots
Summary of non-frugality this weekend:
- Drove to Target Sunday night at 9:30pm (too dark to ride, no bike lights yet)
- Ate out at multiple restaurants
Goals for the coming week:
- Cook more food at home, eat out less
- Pay off Alex’s car loan
- Ride our bikes everywhere except work