I stumbled on a rare, extremely valuable find in my garage the other day.

I have an old Giant mountain bike.  It’s not that it, or I am big, it’s the brand that’s ‘Giant’.  Quit distracting me!  As I was saying, my wife bought it for me about 12 years ago.  I have ridden it a medium amount on trails and around town.  So, it’s received it’s share of bumps and bruises.  But imagine my surprise when I found out that this bike, in it’s current condition was worth $12,600!  It seemed way too good to be true, but I dug a little deeper, and learned that it could be worth $18,900, and probably closer to $25,200.  All for an old Giant Mountain bike!

Now, how did I just happen to stumble on this model of bike, that became so valuable?  Well, I have an eye for this sort of thing.  It’s all in the construction of the frame, the right welds, during the right year, from the right area, and it all comes together driving the price up!

Ok, just kidding, actually my old Giant bike is no more special than any other old bike that you would find on Craigslist.  It’s no more special than the old bike that’s sitting in your garage.  I guarantee it.  It was the low end bike store bike when I bought it (roughly $300).  So, if you are connecting the dots here, that means that your bike is also worth ….. Yup $25,200.  (This value may vary for you, it’s the numbers from my life, but you will be in the ballpark.  If you choose that is, keep reading!)

How in the world is this true?  It all started when I realized that I drove my car 2.5 miles each way to work, and then my car sat all weekend.  We were a 2 car family.  (If you are a 1 car family, keep reading.)  We drove the family in the mini van and my car just sat there all weekend.  At that time I was reading articles like:  The True Cost of Commuting.  So, I decided to try it.  I parked the car, and started to bike to work.

Some people think I am nuts.  But if it’s cold, I bundle up.  When it rains, I throw my work clothes in a garbage bag in a backpack, changing when I get to work.  People think it’s strange that I get wet.  But, I change into dry clothes after I arrive.  I think, or at least I hope, they shower most every day, so I don’t understand their issue with getting wet for a few minutes and then drying off …..  (You gadget/gear/shiny people were already thinking you had an excuse to buy your Ortleib waterproof panniers.  Now way, knucklehead.  First, you would be surprised how few times in a year it is actually raining during the time you are going to, or returning from work.  Second, my garbage bag works, for pennies vs. your hundreds of dollars.)

We should probably get to the numbers.  As a family we don’t buy newer cars, we don’t see the upside to borrowing money from someone, to then pay them back even more money for our depreciating ‘asset’.  We try to keep our cars just above ‘Too shitty to be seen in’, but below, ‘I need collision insurance coverage’ because it is so nice.  For us, this puts us about at the numbers below, which are pretty low for car ownership.  But these were my actual numbers.  For you, it could be much greater!

$75/month – Acquisition cost – (Take what you paid, and divide by how long you drive it)

$50/month – Insurance – Minimum coverage required where I live, required by the state

$50/month – Maintenance/Repair

$10/month – registration

$25/month – gas

$210/month – total

(This was my car.  We have driven 2-7 people around for the last 13 years, averaging $50/month for acquisition cost.  Yes it can be done!)

<—Choose Your Path—>

  1. If you are currently a 2 car family, keep reading below
  2. If you are currently a 1 car family, start again below at the ∅∅–∅∅–∅∅–∅∅

$210/month = $2,520/yr.  This is $12,600 after 5 years, or $25,200 after 10 years!  I am currently about to hit the end of 3 years, and this extra money has been huge in allowing me to increase my net worth

A few notes:  If you are physically able to ride a bike, you can do this.  No matter what has popped up in your mind as you read this, you can choose to do this.  Move closer to work if you have to.  I know this sounds ‘drastic’, but trading 50% of your life to piss all your money away (There is another post in the work on this topic) is pretty drastic.

I live where it snows in the winter.  I ride the bike as long as I can.  But the road I am on is not pedestrian friendly, so instead of the studded tires, I have chosen to run through the snow on the bike path.  There was one pretty rough winter, but I am still here, I made it!  But, now I don’t have any gym membership, which would actually make my bike worth even more!  (I have to do the math, math is so awesome!  So That would be $40/month * 10 years, or another $4,800!  My bike is worth an even, cool $30,000!  Maybe I should buy another one …..)  Now it’s easy to stay in shape, without spending much time on working out!  So, I save time on top of money!  Bottom line, if you want to do it, it really isn’t that hard to figure out how.  When I run, we don’t have a shower at work, so what do I do?  Wet wipes, you would be surprised how great they work.  There are NO EXCUSES.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  Just start to imagine the extra time, plus the $25,200 $30,000 sitting in your bank account!

Note:  This ties heavily into, as Go Curry Cracker put it:  Lifestyle Design.  Or as James Clear refers to it:  Your environment.  Once I sold the car, and bike/run to work, there is no other option, I have to get to work.  When I used to run for recreation in the morning, there was always that thought of, ‘Well, it’s 10 degrees and snowing out, maybe today is a sleep in day.’  But now, my boss wants me to show up, no matter what the weather is like.  I have to go!  I haven’t skipped a workout in 3 years!  More on this Lifestyle Design soon, I am struggling with this at work currently.

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1 Car people:  You may really not be able to sell your only car, if you have longer trips or kids.  But don’t just assume this.  There are electric bikes that could tackle the longer trips.  There are bikes that haul kids.  But if you still can’t sell it, keep in mind that the average american car payment is somewhere between $400-$500/month.  So, if you fall anywhere in that range, well, I will let you do the math, but you could reduce your acquisition cost to the $75/month I had above, for a savings of $325-$425 month.  Far greater than my $210/month.  But, still get on your bike and don’t take your car everywhere!

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