In the past few months I investing many euros and hours towards getting something I’ve wanted for a very long time: a motor license. I couldn’t be happier right now because last Friday I successfully passed my last exam 🙂
Motorcycles are often considered as a hobby, and a very expensive one, that might not fit with a frugal lifestyle. However, it all depends on what your view on a frugal lifestyle entails.
For us, it means that we are able to maintain a certain lifestyle where we can be happy, do the things we love and having the right balance between saving and spending. So even if something could cost a lot of money, we still pursue it if it’s something we really love and think is worth it.
But what better thing to do to than to list up all the expenses I’ve made to come this far!
In the Netherlands, you are required to pass 3 exams before you can hit the road. The first is a theoretical exam, the second a practical where you have to demonstrate you can control the motorcycle via various exercises. And the third and last is a practical exam where you show that you can drive safely on the road. This also means you have passed your first practical exam before you can take lessons tot train for the last one. This will cost time, and especially money.
Money was the major reason I always postponed taking lessons. Last year I got hooked by taking a test lesson with a friend of mine. Since then I just wanted to get that little piece of paper (or plastic card nowadays). In order to save some money on this already expensive hobby, I started to take lessons with a befriended instructor. He gave me a discount on not only the lessons but also the examinations.
How much did it cost me?
A normal lesson lasts for 1 and a half hour and costs 30 euro. All in all, I have taken 27 lessons starting from October 2016. I needed 18 lessons in order to get ready for the first practical exam, and only 9 for the last. In general, it’s being said that 20-25 lessons in total are average, so I’m a bit above the average.
These lessons, each with a price tag of €30, have totaled up to a sum of 810 euros. Without the discount, lessons are normally priced at 50 euro, I would have paid 1350 euro.
Then I also had to pass three exams, which each had their own price tag:
Theoretical exam: €35
1st practical exam: €100 (normally €160)
2nd practical exam: €200 (normally €251)
The third and possibly the most expensive part of driving a motor is the gear. With that, I mean the helmet, clothing and other stuff you need in order to drive safely. Because I still didn’t want to pay a premium, I went shopping when shops had a major sale or asked for some items as a gift for my birthday. I ended up paying 875 euro.
With all the costs listed above, the total is only a subtle €2050. It seems like a major amount (and it is!). However, it would be way higher if I had to pay regular prices.
Of course, we also could have invested this money, which would definitely boost our portfolio quite a bit. We’ve learned in the past 2 years that not spending with the only reason to save money, is just not our thing. We still minimize our expenditures and try to reduce regular expenses like food or clothing. But we also choose to support the things that make us happy right now, instead of waiting for the FI life we want 15 years from now. And yes, this could mean that we reach FI later than we could have. But becoming FI is not about having a wealthy portfolio of assets, but finding the right lifestyle and not be depending on a job to support it.
Finding the right balance
For me, this was worth spend the money on. For others, it would probably not. There is one thing I wouldn’t want to save too much money on: experience happiness. It wasn’t about owning a bike, but the feeling I have when driving it: pure freedom.
With these amounts, it might be a rather extreme example of spending money on the things you love to do. But we all have certain things we want that cost money. It might be that your love to travel or are motivated to continue a certain sport. Maybe you love to go to the theater or have children running around. Children are obviously not related to having a hobby, but it sure does come with a price tag.
We are able to save as much money as we do now because we eliminated certain things of our lives, like an expensive car, clothing or dining out very often. But we also don’t have children. This puts us in the luxury position where we are able to spend money on things that aren’t ‘necessities’ while still saving a nice sum of money every month.
What’s important, is that you find your own balance in life. Between spending and saving, and choosing where to spend your time on. Every choice you make will have an impact on your future, sooner or later.
Just don’t spend all that you have, but find the things you think are worth spending on. And keep a little something as a steady monthly amount of money on the side to save or invest.