Today I have been cycling in the Lake District again. I took the same route as yesterday but this time in reverse and so arrived at Honister Pass after two hours of cycling and from the opposuite direction. From the North West side, the approach is less intimidating and initially follows a more gentle gradient, before ramping up very steeply to perhaps 25%.
The gradient again beat me, but this time unwilling to reverse my route, I climbed off the bike and walked up the hill. Slipping and sliding in my carbon fibre cycling shoes as I had stupidly forgotten to bring my flip flops despite anticipating this moment back in the caravan.
I have never walked up a hill pushing my bike before, and I can’t say it made me feel great. My pride certainly took a beating as the cars edged their way past and the occupants gave me sympathetic glances! Despite this, I ended up having a great three-hour ride through stunning countryside.
I used to own a beautiful carbon fibre, top of the range bike that in 2007 I rode the entire route of the Tour de France on, unfortunately, it was stolen, and I have never had the money to replace it. I now ride a cheap and cheerful bike from Decathlon that does the job. Although it rides well, it does not have the correct gearing for such steep inclines, as the gradient rises, I’m left pushing too big a gear and unable to turn the peddles.
This brings me to the point of today’s blog post and my overwhelming desire to buy a new bike. The climbs would have been hard but achievable on the right bike, and I find myself endlessly justifying a new and expensive purchase in my mind. I scroll through the bike websites, looking at the glossy images and imagining myself aboard the beautiful machines.
As regular readers will know, Valentte had a very difficult 2018 where we built of debts approaching £100,000. We have since turned the business around and are well on the way to being debt-free by the end of this year. We have achieved this recovery through a variety of means, but one of the biggest is “no unnecessary spending”.
This sadly is another one of those moments as I won’t be buying a new bike until we are debt-free. Sure, I could put it on credit card, or get in on finance, but what’s the point? I would know in my heart that I shouldn’t be buying it, and so the joy of ownership would be tarnished.
I cannot tell you how hard a choice it is. Every bone in my body wants a new bike and yet I know the right decision is to wait until we have cleared all our debts. I believe when the moment does come, and I make the purchase using cash, not credit, the feeling will be one of joy that has been earned.
Are you in the same situation, craving something new and shiny? Maybe you believe that life cannot continue without it. If you truly can afford it, then go ahead. But if not, if you need to borrow to purchase, then please pause and ask yourself if you “really” need this item.
Freedom and the associated peace of mind come from not worrying about money, the quickest and easiest way for you to achieve this feeling is to reduce your spending rather than increasing your earnings.
Waiting until you can afford something is an old-fashioned virtue that has lost none of its power and brings the bonus of truly appreciating things when you do finally get them. Don’t waste your time and money buying things to impress others, it never works. Don’t borrow to fund spending on luxury items that you will have forgotten about tomorrow.
Instead save your money, spend less, consume less, own less, live a simpler life with fewer possessions surrounded by people you love doing things that bring you joy.
Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.