Sunshine, fresh air, and earning money on a bike!

For years, I’ve loved watching my husband and kids enjoying their bikes together on nearby paths and parks in our neighborhoods.  This summer I decided it was time for me to get in on the fun too.  While adult bikes can cost $300 or more, I’ve had fabulous luck finding high-quality, reliable bikes for Victor and the kids for $25 and less on Craigslist.   Last week I lucked out huge and found an adorable ladies bike at Goodwill for $12 and brought it home, only to have Ebay-expert Victor inform me it’s a classic 1960’s vintage J.C. Higgins edition worth about $350 online!  Takeaway #1 – Goodwill rocks.   The debate then becomes – do I sell it and keep scouring Goodwill & Craigslist for more bikes, or keep this one – it’s so dang cute!  Facebook feedback from local readers leans towards me keeping it, enjoying it, and selling it somewhere down the road for even more – sounds like a plan!

In the meantime, with gas prices hitting new highs each week, it gets me thinking about how much money we can all save these days with a high quality bike!  Read on for ideas from readers, lifestyle experts and personal experience on how you can enjoy some sunshine and fresh air this summer, not to mention keeping some hard-earned cash in your pocket where it belongs!

If you’re in a more urban area, think seriously about using your bike for your errands.  I did this in College constantly, and saved huge amounts of cash compared to my car-owning buddies.  The fact that I was easily two sizes smaller back in the those days is not lost on me either. The next time you have one-bag grocery trip shopping list in hand and a safe path to bike there, try getting there on two wheels instead of four.  Using this tactic during warmer weather months can save you hundreds, if not more!  Consider this from transportation experts – any mileage you put on your bike instead of your car saves you an average of about 50 cents per mile in depreciation, gas and wear & tear.  From those savings alone, doing a few miles of bike errands every week instead of using your car can add up to over $15,000 over 10 years, enough to not only buy a fabulous used car, but also a gorgeous (much smaller) wardrobe.

Courier and Delivery jobs are on the rise!  Think about hiring yourself out as a bike courier in your free time.   During peak traffic hours, you’ll be zipping along far more quickly than a stuck-in-traffic automobile.

Cancel that Gym Membership – Option 1, you can shell out substantial amounts of cash for a ritzy gym membership that your schedule makes it quite unlikely you’ll use.   Option 2 – buy a bike, learn all about your nearby bike paths, get loads more fresh air than you would in a closed-in gym, and get fit for a fraction of the price.   A great hybrid solution – keep your gym membership for the cold winter months only.

An important safety note – you guys know I’m wildly overprotective when it comes to safety, so it goes without saying you want to bike on routes with great safety & visibility. Always research the paths you’re thinking of taking and ask neighbors and friends for input.  Give it a try, and let me know your thoughts – Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living. She resides in her as-of-yet unfinished fixer upper in Chester County, PA with her husband and kids.  The Kristen Hagopian Show airs on BizTalkRadio and you can find her online at