In progress now: The September Challenge!

When I got back from NM I decided I wanted to take things up a notch.

1) Biking

This month, with the weather only going in a downhill direction finally, I am ditching the car and getting on my bike as much as possible. That means:

  • Riding to/from the office (~4mi)
  • Making grocery runs (~3mi)
  • Dropping occasionally down to Argosy (~2mi)

And yeah, basically avoiding using the car for anything less than 5mi away.

It’s been pretty awesome so far. I feel happier, I get free exercise, free heat acclimation, and I get out and enjoy the weather without even trying. Meanwhile, I am putting zero wear and tear on my car, emitting zero greenhouse gases, and yeah pretty much saving the world. Yes, riding a bike makes you feel superior to everyone around you.

2) Car-ing

As a corollary to part 1, I am changing the way I use my car.

First, I’ve tried to assimilate some hypermiling techniques and increase my average MPG in my Honda Fit, which conveniently reads out such metrics to me on the handy LED display. A lot of these techniques are extreme and some of them require a standard transmission. I’m not bothering with that, nor shifting into neutral on hills, or anything crazy. All I’m doing is accelerating rapidly, avoiding needless braking, and coasting as much as I can. My average fuel efficiency has gone up by about 6 mpg. That adds 60 miles to my 10-gallon tank!

Turns out I’m going to need those extra miles. I’m also trying to get through this whole month without buying a second tank of gas. That would bring my total gas bill for the month to ~$35!

We’ll see if that turns out to be realistic. Point is, I’m trying to reduce my gas bill as much as possible, and drop the overall monthly / yearly mileage that I put on my car.

3) Eating

Finally, I’m bringing back the bit from July about only eating out once per week. It’s really quite difficult, I’ve got to say. Turns out myself and most of my friends like to eat out as part of our social lives, or as part of our lazy non-cooking lifestyles. Weird huh?

So now I’ve become the guy who’s trying to get everyone to bring their own lunches and eat in the park next to the office, or eat at somebody’s house for dinner, etc. Yeah, that guy. Can’t tell you how cool I feel.

But, past months I’ve spent multiple hundreds of dollars just on eating out. That is stupid. Those bucks can be better used, so that’s what I’m going for this month. I’m developing a closer friendship with my crockpot, and seeing how good I can get at the grocery game.


So why am I doing this?

I’m bothering with these kinds of experiments because, quite frankly, I’m starting to drink the kool-aid that the Financial Independence bloggers are serving up to me. It’s stupid how much money I spend!

So I’m taking the first steps. I’m reducing my expenses and making my lifestyle lighter-weight. I’m shaving off the fat and having a lot of fun doing it.

More generally, you might expect to see some changes around this blog, sometime soon. If this stuff starts to work out for the better (and it already is), and if I continue to see that Jesus is very much a part of these changes … well, I might have just discovered what Return from Exile really means.

More on that later. Probably.

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