Making Memories, Not Payments: 7 Months As A Bike Commuter.

The brochure for “being your own boss” has pictures of laptops overlooking beach-side cabana decking and a lot of creative latté foam art.

Here in the real world, being my own boss has meant pinching pennies and saying “no” or “not now” to a ton of opportunity. More accurately, it has meant putting my priorities front and center and evaluating every decision in light of how much money it will take to make it work.

As I sat in my apartment parking lot watching my boys ride their bikes down the pine straw-covered hill recently, I couldn’t help but take a deep breath and appreciate where we are right now.

For us, the keys have been a relatively crappy old minivan and prayer (not necessarily in that order).

We don’t have any car payments, we’ve never paid for cable TV, and the only debt we still have hanging around is the battered remnants of a student loan. That meant that when I was shown the door at my not-even-that-lucrative sales position, we had a little bit of wiggle room and that nobody was going to come haul the minivan off on a flatbed truck.

It’s amazing how freeing it is to not have a payment. I purchased a relatively high-end commuting bicycle a few months later for the cost of two oil changes and a set of tires on the minivan, and now not only do I get great exercise daily on my way to and from work, I am saving the $50 to $100 per month in gas. Related: my two boys will grow up with memories of riding bikes with their dad. Often.

Furthermore, being forced to look within a bike-commute’s radius for a new rental house means that even after our move we are still a stone’s throw from our church and the community there.

Saying “no” to a nice car or even a $150/month car payment has made room in my world for deeper connection with my wife, my kids, and my church. The only downside is the commute on mornings like today.

That's after it warmed up about 10 degrees. I'll not pretend I didn't consider taking the minivan.
That’s after it warmed up about 10 degrees. I’ll not pretend I didn’t consider taking the minivan.

What payment can you eliminate in your life in order to make a family memory?

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