Need to save money? Ride a bike

Via Flickr

My bicycle saved my budget. A couple of weeks ago, I was down to my last two pennies. Rubbing together in the attempt to breed them didn't work. Thankfully, I didn't need to pay for gas to get to my part-time job. Instead, I relied on the power of my own two legs to pedal me across town.

Those rides felt different than previous commutes. Instead of pedaling because of principal, I did it out of necessity. Instead of riding on my high horse as I passed gas guzzling SUVs, I felt grateful that I had free transportation. I didn't feel ashamed that I had to ride to work instead of choosing to ride. I felt empowered.

Without the bicycle, I would have depended on others for a ride: my boyfriend, family, friends or even a bus driver. I would have been forced to conform to someone else's schedule. With a bike, I was able to maintain a sense of independence and pride in the face of my own economic meltdown.

And this week, my bicycle has helped to keep my budget in check in different way. I am a self-confessed IndyFringe fan. My involvement with the festival began in 2006 as an artist. For three years, I acted in or directed a show for Fringe. In 2009, I returned to the festival as a critic.

For the second year in a row, I've lived close enough to walk to the festival. And for the first year ever, I've been able to bike to the festival. Aside from seeing a tremendous amount of theater in a short amount of time, my favorite aspect of Fringe is the festival atmosphere: running into friends at YoguLatte, grabbing a beer on the Chatham Tap patio and swapping stories about must see shows over some delicious Yats.

Unfortunately, my budget constraints placed a strict limit on the amount of money I can spend at Mass Ave businesses. In year's past, I would have been stuck at the festival, forced to fork over food and drink money. Even the ten minute walk to my house was too long to accomplish both ways during the thirty minute break between shows. But because I bike, I'm able to jet home and back with ease, allowing to spend money at the festival a little more wisely.

I have a feeling that there are a lot of different ways using a bicycle is cost effective and money saving. It rescues us from our shackles to the almighty oil barrel. There are no parking fees for bikes. Maintenance on a bike is less expensive than a car. Perhaps, even the daily exercise induces savings on health-related costs. What are some of the ways your bike has saved you a buck?

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