Author Topic: Where would you start?  (Read 5234 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Where would you start?
« on: March 30, 2013, 07:01:06 PM »
Hello fellow Mustachians. I hope I can get some answers here because I am a little overwhelmed.

Here's whats going on:

For the very first time I have a fulltime job with a decent salary. But I have no savings at all and one student loan about $38.000 and 3 consumer loans approx. worth $2800 but no interest on any of them! My student loan is due in 2038, so I have about 25 years to pay it off. Maybe a little more. Again no interest.
The consumer loans are also interest free. One of them will be paid off in April or May. The others are due in 2014. My girlfriend said that I am in no hurry to paying them off since they are without interest. I told her that I probably want to get rid of them as soon as possible. We have a new apartment without any furnitures, so we are going to need money to buy those.
Question #1: Who is right?

My girlfriend will move in with me within the next 4 months. Depending on how fast she will find a new job here.
My current situation on a monthly basis:
Net income: $2300

My rent: $760
Electricity: $60 (already calculated for 2 person household)
Internet: $25
Public transportation card: $95 (due Feb. 2014)
smartphone contract: $90 (due April 2014)
Food: $205
Consumer loans in total: $225
Spotify: $13
Razor blades: $8
Various errands: approx. $200
Going out: $150

Total of: $1830

After reading MMM I started to develop ideas on how to cut my expenses and save more money. I decided as a first step to cancel my smartphone contract and the public transportation card. Which will save me about $180 per month. Sadly both contracts will continue until next year. As a replacement for my cell phone contract, I will negotiate a company phone with my boss, I think that won't be a problem. As for the public transportation, I will use a bike to get to work (but I need to buy one!).
I don't think there isn't much I can do about the costs of food and other errands. I have a very good food plan which guarantees no waste of any food, is healthy and affordable.
My appartement is quite small and me and my girlfriend will have to move to a bigger one sooner rather than later. But not in 2013, so moving isn't an option. My city is very expensive on rents and other living costs because the standards are very high. Electricity and internet provider are solid and there is not much I can do about the costs besides not wasting any energy for nothing.
Once the consumer loans are gone another $225 will be available.
That sums up to $405 per month. All in 2014 though.

My girlfriend (and I) love checking out new places like restaurants, bars, etc. I am sure many of you do and I read also about what MMM did or would do. I realized for myself that I could do so much more with that time and would be saving some money when we don't eat at a restaurant. I will consider his and your advice for the future!
Question #2: How can we combine saving money and still having a good time on weekends when we want to go out?

This post over here got me thinking...
And I made up my own list:

  1. Mountainbike riding on the hills of iceland
  2. Riding a bike for exercise and fun with my girlfriend
  3. Hiking in general
  4. Go camping in the woods
  5. Reading in a chilly corner of our living room
  6. Cooking with my girlfriend
  7. Go for a long run in the area
  8. Go for a walk on a sunny sunday with my girlfriend
  9. Developing a new skill
  10. Having friends over and watch some good movies
  11. Blogging about my favorite topics and stuff that i have on my mind
  12. Exploring the new city
  13. Learning spanish
  14. Trailrunning at a beginner level on an awesome trail
  15. Learning to dance Salza

Some of these will require no money at all or the money will be spent anyway like food, internet service etc.
For example: right now, I am improving my skills in HTML and CSS through tutorials on youtube and net.tuts. Since I have internet service anyway and the Macbook belongs to my company I am not spending anymore money to learn those new skills. Learning spanish through podcast and other internet resources also doesn't cost me more money than I am already paying.
Other activities like #1 will cost quite a bit. I don't have a bike at the moment but I desperately want one! I want a nice mountainbike like this I would be able to cycle comfortable to work but also use it for trips in the woods, on the mountains and for long rides to the sea. In this price range it looks like the best choice. I live in Germany and bikes are very expensive from my point of view. This bike would cost about $1700. I will only consider a purchase when I have the cash and I will do some window shopping in the city and look for deals. I would take a older model of course, if the price is right. I don't want to buy a used one because you can't be sure what you're getting. It could have hidden damages that might cost me more than money.
Question #3: What should I do about a (new) bike?

When my girlfriend and I live together we will combine our incomes. Rent etc will be splitted 50/50, so each of us should have more financial powers, shouldn't he?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Where would you start?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2013, 08:31:21 PM »
1. Your girlfriend, provided you save/invest the extra money and don't spend it.

2. Make a budget, give yourself a limit.

3. Grow some balls, it's pretty fucking hard to buy a broken bike. You've got plent you time, so take your time looking.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Where would you start?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 05:43:25 AM »
1) girlfriend is right
2) answered with your own list
3) You said you want a "nice" mountainbike?

$1700 buys you a $400 bike and $1300 of "brand new shiny".
Let me tell you something....after one ride on a trail, any trail that is not a road, especially if there is a little bitty bit of water, your bike will look like a piece of shit. Thats right, covered front to back, top to bottom in dirt, mud, grit, soil, whatever. I once saw a man who looked like he was riding dirt with a bit of bike on it. Mine isn't that bad yet, but I kinda wear the dirt as a badge of honour now.

You need a bike that gets you from A to B, but you sound like you want a bike that looks nice too. That's fine but $1700 is overkill. At least try and negotiate/haggle for it.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Where would you start?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 06:40:26 AM »
Ok, thanks for clearing up my first question. I am glad my gf was right. I can scratch the thoughts of paying these loans as fast as possible from my mind now.

How do I explain it without justifying the (more) expensive bike? I don't think I can to be honest.

Nice means it has some quality parts like breaks and fork. Yes, I do know that a $400 bike would be more than enough to get me from A to B. But I want more from my bike, like riding on trails, taking it on trips to Iceland, Spain, etc. in the future. I don't want it for show and tell, I don't give a fuck about what other think of my stuff. I just want to avoid buying twice...


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Where would you start?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2013, 05:28:34 PM »
Bikes dont have a lot of hidden places that obscure catastrophic wear. Everything is pretty much right in the open. Things to look for are chainrings and cogs that look dull and not sharp like sharks teeth. A chain where 12 links measures less than 12 1/8"(imperial units 1 metric system infinity). Inspect the frame for cracks (best done with wheels off). Make sure the fork isnt leaking by inspecting the stanchion tubes for excessive oil. Cables should move freely in their housings. Hydraulic disc brakes should feel constant tension through their travel at the lever (otherwise they need to be bled).

Most used bike are not from riders who have trashed their bikes, but from people who bought too much bike that they were never going to ride. Lots of good bikes on the used market (at least in the US).

If you buy new, look for older model bikes, or bikes without disc brakes (usually a big discount for rim brake bikes). In the US it is easy to go into almost any shop and get a decent hardtail bike for less than $1200.

As an aside, most of this "I need all of this suspension and disc brake (motorcycles without engines)" is marketing hype. People have been ripping trails on fairly basic bikes for a long time.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Where would you start?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 04:40:52 AM »
I looked around on markets for used bikes. Well, you need a little bit of luck that somebody in your area is selling his bike. From what I've seen, there are good bikes on used markets but they are also too expensive. I would be totally fine with a used bike that is still up to challenge. I do not need to spend $1600 on a bike. the less the better!
But I disagree with you on the breaks but that's not point. A hardtrail would be fine as well for the time being, and I am pretty sure I don't need to spend $1200 for one. It would be totally ok for fitness, riding to work and the local trails I guess. I will do some research on them before I decide what it is going to be. The more suspension your bike has the more energy will be lost on every single spin you make. For fitness purposes a hardtail bike would be the better choice. (it helps me discussing this here, so I can order my thoughts and get new perspectives, thanks)


  • Stubble
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Re: Where would you start?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 01:35:00 PM »
You can drastically reduce your razor blade expense by switching to double edged safety blades.

Think closer to 15 to 20 cents a blade.  One of those blades will last me up to a couple weeks. At 40 cents a month, that's around five dollars a year on razors.

Of course you need to also buy a razor, and if you're doing it right a nice shaving brush as well (which will last you the rest of your life)

I bought my razor and brush back in 2006 and probably went a little overboard on my brush and razor, but they will be with me until the day I die.  And have more than made up the cost of the investment several times over.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!