I’m on the Dave Ramsey Plan and one of his commonly said phrases is “Sell so much stuff your kids think they’re next”. I don’t have kids, but perhaps Sunshine, my Siberian Husky, has gotten worried. I started his plan about 3 years ago and have about one year left before I’m debt free (excluding the house).
I think I am like most people, where you go in spurts of intensity. Ramsey often refers to “Gazelle Intensity”, but one thing you figure out is that even a Gazelle can not keep that intensity up forever. So it tends to come in spurts and the lulls between are where you really figure out what you’re made of.
I love to run, hence the pun in the name of this blog, but I also love to road bike, mountain bike, rock climb, hike, ski, snowboard, … the list is nearly infinite. When I first got started, I sold what would be considered the low hanging fruit, I sold the bouldering mat I had not used in 2 years, the extra rocking chair in the living room I never used, the extra tv I had in my bedroom that had literally not been plugged in for over 4 years but was still mounted on the wall.
But as the waves of intensity come and go, I found the intensity builds. You start looking around thinking…
What else is left to sell?!
You might do that for a while, but if you’re fully committed, you start looking at the things you love and start thinking about whether you actually use it enough. For me, it was my mountain bike!
In Colorado there is a running joke about how the bikes on your roof rack are often worth more than your car. I fit right in with this “right of passage” as a transplant to Colorado. At one point I used to put my $2k road bike into the back of my $1k Eagle Talon (yes, it fits, it actually will fit up to 3 bikes, but only two people).
During one of those lulls where I was trying to figure out how to speed up this process and become debt free so I can (ironically) have more later, I was looking around the house. The “extra” stuff is gone…
I start looking around….
the kitchen table…. maybe…
the couch and loveseat… maybe…
the mountain bike… no way I LOVE that thing!… well… maybe… how about I do the math.
Brand new it used to cost about $1800 + tax. I was semi-smart a couple years ago and bought it used off Craigslist and paid $1050. Turned out that I used it a total of 7 days over two years, 4 of which consisted of 2 day trips out to Fruita, CO on the western slope. So I looked at it, sitting next to the road bike I paid about $2400 for quite a few years back and thought… ok, if I was advising a friend and they used it as little as I do, I’d tell them to sell it.
Parting with that mountain bike was hard, I got a some grief from friends. Especially one that tried to convince me that there’s no price tag on your health. He had a point from a high level perspective. Your health in the long term definitely worth $1k now, but I had a pretty simple response… “I use it 3 days a year, my health has not benefited from owning it”. The road bike however, is different, I use that an uncountable number of times, including commuting to work on occasion. The mountain bike, no matter how much I loved it, was being underused and depreciating rapidly every year. I was best to part ways and rent a bike when needed.
Turns out… I sold it for $1100, $50 more than I paid! Which sounds great, but when you factor in inflation, opportunity cost, maintenance, new grips, new seat, and a few other small things I “needed” to add to it… I’d have been far better off renting a top of the line demo bike from a local shop, both financially as well as enjoyably (yes, that’s actually a word, even to my surprise) But I’d have had the enjoyment of being on a $6k bike instead of a $1k bike those 7 times.
So, I challenge you to honestly evaluate the things you think you love. Everyone is always against renting, but sometimes, if you don’t use it that much… you’ll come out ahead to just sell it, put the money to work somewhere else, and when you rent, you’ll have the added benefit of always having the new awesomeness. If you use it all the time though, like my road bike, it pays to own it. The trick is to be honest with yourself. Perhaps you need a friend who’ll be blunt and honest. Although, if they are like my friends, they’ll also be sure to tell you you’ve gained weight and might want to keep the bike and actually use it… Friends, you can’t sell them unfortunately.