Sunday, September 27, 2015

Frugal Living: Nature Hikes and Bike Shops

Standing in the kitchen "I cannot believe how much better I feel when I bike!" said my equally frugal husband.  "Then take your bike in, get it back into commuting shape" I replied.  "Yeah, but Dream Bikes isn't open today" he said with a sigh.

Dream Bikes has been our go-to bike shop for more than half of our frugal marriage.  While we love the prices and service, the hours are limited -- closed Sundays.  And Sunday happens to be the one day of the week both my husband and I say no to client matters and business development (well, at least most Sundays). What to do?

A few minutes after posting a query for bike shop recommendations it was settled, the bike was going to Budget Bikes on Regent Street.  Open from 10-7 today, we thought there was a chance we could get it in, fixed, and home, allowing him to resume his bike commuting ways.  "I'll try" was the service person's response, too which a grim look of "not sure about it" was added.  With the bike in the hands of the pros, we returned to our Sunday plans: laundry, lunch at home, and then a family hike.  It was during the hike the cell phone rang -- the bike was done!

Some frugal folks would have opted to fix the bike themselves.  To those who possess the skill, space, tools and time - well done.  We are not that type of frugal home.  My frugal half puts his work energy into circuits and the electronics design firm he is building, and my work efforts focus on estate planning and probate.  There is no room in the garage nor spare parts tucked away.  Most importantly, for us, when not working we focus on family time, our health, and a few hobbies (reading for me, ham radio for him).  As a result a company now cuts our lawn.  The kids go to the barber for a trim - I've put away my cutting sheers.  We are not a DIY frugal home.  Yet we are frugal.

Could we have saved money if we were?  Yes.  But really, today we would have saved $36, that was the cost of labor.  The other cost was all in parts.  An entire day would have been spent focused on the bike and not one another.  And these photos would have never been taken -- from our hike at Pope Farm Conservancy outside of Middleton, Wisconsin.

In the end, yes, well worth the cost of labor.  Plus we supported a locally owned business and paid in cash (no fee to them for processing via credit). For those seeking the frugal path, do not forget to factor the cost of your time into the math you run in your head.

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