Money Moustache says Commuting by Bike = $93,432 savings in 10 years- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Money Moustache says Commuting by Bike = $93,432 savings in 10 years

    Does this seem a bit far-fetched?

    Get Rich With? Bikes

  2. #2
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    I think the numbers could be roughly correct, but I do see 2 points:

    1: 7% seems quite a lot to me these days
    2: people would have to rigourously transfer that money on a bank saving account or whatever, which they usually dont. Instead they spend it on a better house/apartment/vacations/bikes or other stuff, or simply work less.

  3. #3
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    I spend more a month on bikes than my wife spends on gas, insurance, and her car payment.

    But for me bikes are recreation, transportation, and exercise, so it's Impossible to do an apples to apples comparison.

    Plus new carbon rims. On my commuter.

  4. #4
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    Not too mention it's a bit of a ridiculous article. The automobile is not evil. Modern mountain biking would likely not exist without automobiles. Its on oversimplification and a misunderstanding of industrialization to think so poorly of the automobile. Haha. But if you were fanatical about it you could save money. My problem is to start with I'd end up buying a bike that costs a couple grand. Hahaha


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  5. #5
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    I save about a hundred dollars a month commuting by bike. I don't use the NYC Subway.
    I live too far from the city to save on my railroad ticket. 300 dollars a month.
    I also don't drive when I commute by bike so I save on gas and wear and tear.
    So, my bicycle commute consists of a short ride, about 3/4 of a mile to the railroad station from my house. Then, I fold up my bike and ride the train into Manhattan, about 40 minutes. Once in NYC I unfold my bike and ride from 33rd st to 58th st. It's a lot more fun than using the nasty ass subway.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
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    Think how much you'd save if you moved away from NY. Haha


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  7. #7
    turtles make me hot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek200 View Post
    Think how much you'd save if you moved away from NY. Haha


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  8. #8
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    yeah, no one is getting 7% return reliably these days.
    2: all the other numbers he cites are nonsense. Ok, $10 in reduced mileage is not impossible but...
    $30k in less expensive cars. Ok how does commuting make cars less expensive by more than someone with any sense spends on a car? Oh, in his explanation he says that he's assuming you're the kind of person who's car is a status symbol and biking is going to change that. Can you hear my eyes rolling?

    $7.6k in "cheaper leisure" his explanation defies belief.

    increased income: pretty bold claim that you're going to get paid $37k more because you bike to work. By "pretty bold" I mean "bullchit" (who here got a raise when they started commuting? no one? yeah, thought so)

    reduced medical: on a 10-year timeframe I'd bet the rent money you're more likely to have a crash/accident that requires medical care than to avert a sedentary lifestyle-caused condition, so that's realistically a cost not a savings.

    even if the numbers were legit and not high by at least an order of magnitude, $9k/year is "rich"?

  9. #9
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    Yeah, he must be pulling most of those numbers out of his @$$.

    I'll buy come level of cost savings due to reduced mileage on the car. But here's the thing, it doesn't all happen in a vacuum. I LIKE living CLOSE to where I work. I currently live about 2mi from the shop where I work. No matter whether I ride or drive, that distance is short. I can drive a long time without refueling if that's all I'm driving to. So for me, the margin of savings there is very small per week or whatever unit of time you use. So the longer your commute, the greater that margin becomes. But there becomes a point of diminishing returns with the bicycle. The last shop where I worked was around 22mi (by bike) and maybe a shade over 20 (by car). Biking that commute took me an hour and a half each way. That ate up a LOT of time that I might spend doing other things, like spending time with family, preparing a good, healthy (less expensive) dinner at home, doing recreational mountain biking, etc. It created issues with trying to skirt iffy weather like severe thunderstorms. So my bike commute frequency was MUCH lower then because the ride itself wasn't worth it enough for me to do it every day.

    Less expensive cars. I agree that this one is shaky reasoning. I also agree that it leans towards the "car as status symbol" issue for a big chunk of the difference. And if a car is a status symbol for someone before they start bike commuting, what automatically makes it less of one for someone when they start bike commuting? I'll bet that they continue buying expensive cars because they like expensive cars.

    Yeah, I can't explain the "cheaper leisure" thing, either. Cheaper than what, exactly?

    I can't help but think that the "increased income" thing is just poorly worded/explained. Because yeah, I see absolutely no way for someone to get paid $37k in 10yrs MORE for riding a bike to work. Maybe he's talking about money not being spent on auto insurance/registration/fuel, and thereby more income kept? But where do those numbers come from?

    Reduced medical is a really tough one to pin down. I mean, okay, I don't have a single doctor's visit due to anything occurring while riding a bike. No mtb wrecks of mine have been that bad. No car/bike wrecks. Nada. So yeah, increased fitness from riding bikes has probably been a net benefit for me, but how do I put a number on that? Is he using some national health care expense stats for that? Medical expenses for non-cyclists vs. cyclists? Of course he doesn't cite anything, so it's impossible to say.

    No self-respecting financial analysis on cost savings from riding can avoid the costs of riding. Eating more. Regular maintenance. Purchase price of the bike, trailer, helmet, clothes, lights, and other gear. The fact that once you get into doing this, it's difficult to avoid becoming a bike nerd and that you therefore want more bikes and clothes and lights and other gear. That's definitely going to fall under recreational expenses at that point.

    Riding bikes is the one thing that my wife and I are really deeply involved in. We have tens of thousands of dollars tied up into bike-specific stuff. We just spent $10k on a teardrop trailer to facilitate mtb camping trips. We just drove it about 3300mi across the country from Indianapolis to Sedona and back for fun.

    I suppose if you want to ride beater bikes and ride them until the moving parts seize up and the bike falls apart, and then replace it with another beater you'll ride into the ground and that's all you ever spend money on related to bikes, you can cheap out on it. But for those of us here, I doubt anything like that would be acceptable.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Harold;13086648] I can't help but think that the "increased income" thing is just poorly worded/explained. Because yeah, I see absolutely no way for someone to get paid $37k in 10yrs MORE for riding a bike to work. Maybe he's talking about money not being spent on auto insurance/registration/fuel, and thereby more income kept? But where do those numbers come from? [QUOTE]

    I was wondering about that part too. I re-read the article and I think his premise is that bike commuters will have improved mental health as well as improved looks (by losing weight from biking) and that this will lead to more promotions at work. But, as Joules said, there is no guarantee that attractiveness and better mental health will lead to advancement at work.

  11. #11
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    But I can lose weight and still be ugly


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Does this seem a bit far-fetched?

    Get Rich With? Bikes
    Yup you might be able to maybe downtown in inexpensive Metropolis......

    But the vast majority spend a little less or a little more...biking...

    The end game of fitness and health has a very high value...

    But that is very difficult to quantify and can be achieved without biking.

    Personally I am way better off for health reasons both mental and physical...

    But I don't mind blowing cash on my bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    But, as Joules said, there is no guarantee that attractiveness and better mental health will lead to advancement at work.
    and oftentimes the converse is true, WRT mental health. I also think that the whole attractiveness leading to promotions thing is an industry-specific phenomenon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek200 View Post
    But I can lose weight and still be ugly
    and that's part of the rub with the blogger's argument.

  14. #14
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    Yea, those numbers seem dubious. You certainly can save a good chunk of money bike commuting but it isn't automatic.

    I was able to ditch my car altogether, and that does save me thousands a year. My bike maintenance costs are probably like $50 a year (yay singlespeed) and that is awesome.

  15. #15
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    Mr. Money Mustache - huge grain of salt needs to be tossed into that soup. The guy lives in Longmont, CO, and he and his wife do not have "normal" jobs, so it is easy for him to say we should all just be riding everywhere. The average Joe in a Denver suburb isn't going to be so lucky, let alone someone in a bicycle commuting hell like 80% of the US is at this time. He pulls in bank from that website too, $400K a year.

    I kind of admire his methods and results, but if you read through his self-congratulatory website about how he lives on $25K per year, there are a LOT of things in there that simply aren't reality for most people, like his house is paid off, he makes so much money he doesn't carry house insurance, his real estate taxes are under $2K per year, he excludes income tax from his list of expenses, he doesn't have a job so he doesn't have job related expenses, he has a very cheap catastrophic health insurance plan because he has enough in the bank to self-insure, he doesn't have to contribute to a savings account or a 401K or a college fund because he is already rich, etc. More power to him, but he basically lives like he is a retired rich guy, and he has the resources to fall back on that 98% of the population don't have. When he says he "lives" on $25K per year, he SPENDS $25K per year, and even he admits he lives a lifestyle that would take $60-100k per year in regular income for the average family to replicate.

    I commute by bike quite a bit, about 9 miles each way. It isn't for everyone. There are the clothing issues, shower issues, time issues, traffic issues, and the issue that you may need to go to appointments or run errands. Since I love cars and have too many, I drive my beater to work on Monday morning and leave it there all week. That way, if the weather is bad in the afternoon, or I need to go somewhere to which the bike would be impractical, I have my car. Then I drive it home on Friday afternoon.

    Luckily, my employer doesn't care if I leave my car at work, there are showers/lockers at work, and we have a relaxed dress code so I don't have to worry about suit and tie. Working in the tech industry sucks sometimes, but there are some bennies.

    I save 72 miles a week on my car(s), which is cool, but I'm sure financially I lose on the deal because I also like bikes, and I get a new commuter every couple of years.

    The main reason I commute is because I like to ride. That is the only reason you need. It is impractical for most people, but you'll never convince the zealots of that.
    Last edited by honkinunit; 03-17-2017 at 03:46 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingdutchman View Post
    I think the numbers could be roughly correct, but I do see 2 points:

    1: 7% seems quite a lot to me these days
    2: people would have to rigourously transfer that money on a bank saving account or whatever, which they usually dont. Instead they spend it on a better house/apartment/vacations/bikes or other stuff, or simply work less.
    Bingo. I retired early. Always have a car, but always a broken one I fix/ed.
    Do I think I saved this X3? Hard to say. No doubt commuting can save you money IF you don't do stoopid stuff like spend a buck and a half on a saddle.

    I just did dat
    DAMN THE MUD, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!

  17. #17
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    Good to know someone else reads the site. His numbers are off, but the basic principals he passes on can be valuable. Everyone's expenses are a bit different...

    $600/yr Insurance
    $1200/yr Gas
    $130/yr Registration
    $400/yr Maintenance

    $2330 total

    After 10 years that might grow to $27,135 with a 5% return or $30,212 with a 7% return.

  18. #18
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    ^^ My son in Chicago also pays $1020 a year for parking at the apartment. The car might be worth $2000 so call it $100 a year in lost opportunity for that capital (5%). It's a beater so maintenance is a bit more. So maybe about $3500 total annually on a car he owns. Leasing or with a car loan, the costs escalate from there. He is looking at moving and ditching the car as it is not driven much so he is at about $1 a mile. So he can afford another $300 dollars a month in rent to be in a place he does not need a car. So several ways to slice it.

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