Money, Marriage, and Motorcycles

MotorcyclesI don’t hate my husband’s motorcycle. I mean, it gets better mileage than his car, and it’s not like I didn’t know about it before we got married. So I try to maintain a cool, wary distance from it. You know, when I’m not giving it the side eye for taking up space in our garage. Or wondering if it truly is loud enough to make his presence known to oblivious drivers. Or refusing rides because it’s uncomfortable to sit on and helmets are hot. Truth be told, if you asked me what kind it was, my response would be, “A red one.” Shrug.

One day this month, I noticed its title sitting out on our kitchen table. I knew what that meant. After years of ownership, my husband was finally ready to part with his bike. Our neighbor made it clear on day one of our move that he would happily take it off our hands when we my husband was ready. That was three long years ago. So I did what any other finance loving, clutter-hating  person would do: I hid the title.

Decluttering Isn’t Just About Less

As my husband flung open drawers and cabinets, he kept saying, “Don’t you want an extra $4,000?” The man knows how to win an argument, doesn’t he? Of course, I’d like an extra $4,000. Shoot. I’d take an extra $400, $40, or $4, as I’ve been known to do when unloading things on Poshmark. Selling things for extra money: I speak that language, and he knows it.

But the things I sell don’t actually make me happy or serve any real purpose. Sure, I sometimes get nostalgic when I list a pair of shoes that I remember my grandma* snatching from my hands and parading around the house in even though we never were quite the same size. My heart jackhammers slightly when I remember my mom or my husband gifting me a particular jacket or sweater. But no matter how emotional I might feel about parting with my stuff, I’m not emotionally attached to them to such a degree that I actually wear them. Therein lies the problem.

Decluttering removes excess, frees up space, and shines a focus on what really matters. I’m not on a mission to get rid of everything. I just want to eliminate the things that are no longer useful, the things that don’t make me happy. By that definition, the four different pairs of brown heels that have never been worn–oh, but they were each a screaming deal!–have to go. But that very same definition is what made me realize, almost instantly and most certainly before my husband, that the motorcycle had to stay.

Keeping Things Can Be Cost Efficient

We tend to focus on the monetary benefit of selling things. In fact, on virtually every post about needing to come up with more money, you’ll find the suggestion to sell stuff. But, it turns out, sometimes keeping things can be cost efficient as well.

When my husband transitioned from the extra money portion of his argument, he started saying that maybe he’d buy another bike in ten or fifteen years. I quickly countered by asking him if he’d rebuy the red one. You know, the red one in its exact make and model from that exact year. He knew the answer was supposed to be yes. But I could tell he wasn’t actually happy with that answer.

Of course, he wouldn’t pine over a bike that was twenty or twenty-five years old. That might be the practical answer, but it’s not the stuff of garage fantasies. It’s especially not helpful when you’re trying to convince yourself to do something you don’t actually want to do. I know next to nothing about motorcycles, but I know that in ten or fifteen years, $4,000 would probably get him a bicycle before it got him a motorcycle that he’d actually be excited about riding.

As of this morning, the red one still takes up valuable real estate in our garage. I still hold my breath a bit when I see him pull out of the driveway on it. But that smile that hides behind his helmet nearly matches mine when I see how little money he spends on gas for the month when he rides his bike. I may never embrace motorcycles, but I don’t have to for my husband to keep his. He uses it. It makes him happy. That’s good enough for me.

*Turns out, four-inch platform heels were no match for a 93-year-old with a hip replacement. Shoes runs in my blood.

So Tell Me…Would you keep the motorcycle? Have you ever gone overboard with decluttering?


Money, Marriage, and Motorcycles

24 thoughts on “Money, Marriage, and Motorcycles

  1. I’m glad my husband doesn’t have a motorcycle! I don’t mind the garage space, but they can be dangerous.

    But everyone should have a guilty pleasure or two. I know I certainly have mine. My husband has a few annoying hobbies – like right now, he is playing Fantasy Football. It costs $40 to join and I don’t get it, but whatever! =)

    1. Yes, I lucked out in that regard. My husband loves to play sports but has very little interest in watching them. And I hear you on the dangerous part. Sigh…

  2. Oh Mr. Mt loves his motorcycle! And he has reminded me a few times that it’s never leaving. =) I have been going back and forth on a similar issue about my hot tub. I do love my hot tub. But… this isn’t a great season in life to be able to enjoy it. With all 5 kids, I feel like I rarely have a chance to use it. I know I will want to buy another one in 5 or 10 years. Right now I have a hard time feeling good about the $30 in electricity it uses each month.

    1. That’s a tough call. I am sadly ignorant about all things hot tub (other than they seem delightful!). Would it be costly to rebuy? Will this one last long enough for you to maintain in for 5-10 years? $360 definitely is a decent chunk of change.

      1. We just took down a hot tub we didn’t use much. If it is in good condition – $360 isn’t that bad compared to the cost of a new one. Will the kids ever use it as they get older? Ours want one now (of course after it is gone) – and don’t use the pool much… Glad your hubby kept the bike Penny (and yep, it would freak me out a bit when he left on it too…)

  3. I work in a trauma center, so a motorcycle was high on my shortlist of dealbreakers. But I also see the other side–life is short, do what you love, and wear a helmet.

    Good for you for loving your husband well and caring about his happiness.

    1. It’s really complicated. My dad was critically injured in a motorcycle accident before I was born. But he had a bike all while I was growing up…and he does again now. I try to remind myself that cars are dangerous, too, but I still hold my breath every time my husband (or my dad!) leaves on one.

  4. I’ve always wanted a motorcycle, but the time has passed in which I would actually use it. If your husband is enjoying his (with a helmet on) and he wants to keep it, then he should. But if he really wants to sell it, that should be his decision as well (although it was good of you to get him to really think about it first). Personally, I’ve never gone overboard in decluttering. If anything, I haven’t gone far enough for fear of needing or wanting the items later.

    1. I knew he didn’t want to sell it. I could tell he was parroting back when he thought I wanted to hear. It was really kind of him to do that, but I know how much he loves that thing. Since it received its stay of execution, he’s been out on it more than ever.

      As far as decluttering goes, that’s the rub, right? If you go too far, it’s hard to get it all back. I’m having a lot of success boxing things up and keeping them out of sight. If I don’t use them for x amount of time, I figure I’m safe. Generally, it’s working!

  5. Don’t want the hubby to have a motorcycle, and after his buddy wrecked his last year and tore up his knee I don’t think the hubby wants one anymore either.

    But we’re the opposite of declutterers, and I’d really like him to sell his 1986 Bronco because a) it runs fine, but it bounces so bad it hurts his back to drive it b) he hasn’t driven it (except around the yard) in 7 years. Nor does he drive his 1976 Pacer, or his 1985 BMW convertible. I don’t think they give him joy, but I don’t push him on this either pushing Jon is counterproductive.

  6. Jessica [Havok] says:

    Keep the bike, ha.
    We have one that isn’t yet paid off, and have already decided what our next bike(s) will be, because I’m going to learn to ride next, ha. Bikes are cheap transportation – lower insurance, lower payments (if you have them), and *much* lower gas costs. Plus, the enjoyment factor is so much higher!
    If he was no longer going to ride it, and wouldn’t want to ride again, get rid of it. But if he enjoys it, enough to store it and care for it and ride it when it’s nice out (or whatever the situation may be), keep it. 4000$ is a bit of change, sure, but it’ll pay for itself (and 4000$ wouldn’t get you much if you were to buy a new bike, now or later, to be fair) with the savings and enjoyment out of it.
    I wish we didn’t have to pay the motorcycle payment each month. That’s money that could go to, well, anything else. It’s a fun toy, it can’t be used for my Mister’s transportation to work (because he has a work truck, provided by the company). It sits around a lot (way more often than is worth paying for in my eyes). But he loves riding and since we moved recently it has an actual storage space and he has easier access to it and can go out more often. He loves it. I wouldn’t want to take that from him.

    1. So glad you shared your thoughts, Jessica. It’s not my cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have it. Especially since he bought it long before we were married — before we were dating actually! Really, I’m lucky he’s not campaigning for a new one 😉

  7. I used to be the motorcycle lover but after a few (light, no real injury) mishaps for me, and one severe injury that involved reconstructing a limb for a close friend, I was willing to let that pass on by.

    I’m still sad that I recently lost this argument with PiC over his hobby thing, but in his case, the math seemed to make sense. Let’s call it a bike to preserve his privacy. He sold it because he wasn’t getting to ride it more than once a month. Even once a month was tough to swing because we were traveling too much and that interfered with the weekends at home.

    Personally I thought we should just be better about managing our time and have him keep his bike so he didn’t have to rely on borrowing one from a friend if he was in the mood to join the group ride but he insisted that selling it while the demand for this particular model was still strong was the wiser course of action because if he ended up coming back to riding more regularly in 2-3 years, then he wouldn’t be able to sell it and upgrade to a better (but still used) model.

    In the meantime, we were paying $425/year in dues for the equipment, so it made sense to sell it and get back nearly as much as he paid for it, and not spent the $1000+ in dues until he was ready to recommit.

    I still get a pang when I can’t send him out weekends now, but I guess I have to let him make the rational financial decision on occasion 😉

    1. It sounds like PiC made a decision he was/is genuinely happy with. The fact that he can borrow from a friend is also a plus! Normally, I try not to be so forceful, but I really could tell that he was offering to do this in an attempt to make me happy (or at least how he perceived it).

  8. Thanks for sharing!

    I did have a motorbike but decided to sell it when we fell pregnant with our first child. The bike was a fantastic cost saver and only cost me $4000. We got our value out of it!

    I recently read a great book on de-cluttering by Maire Kondo – The life changing magic of tidying-up. It’s a great read and lists the order you should de-clutter and why. Check Kondo out on youtube or google. Great read!

    1. Oh, yes! I’ve read Kondo. I like a lot of her methodologies…but I cannot get the hang of that folding to save my life. By the time I folded my workout shirts, I never wanted to wear them again 😉

  9. Mine has had a few motorbike accidents (mostly others at fault, in cars). So I’m glad he’s stepped back from it. They really are economical on fuel, though!

    1. La, la, la. Just kidding! I know they’re dangerous. Truly. I’m much happier when he’s in his car…but I also get that it’s not really my call.

  10. Saving something that brings you joy makes sense to me. My best friend gave her twin her car earlier this year when the twin had another baby. Best friend was not used to public transportation, but was sure she’d save money. No. She is still foregoing most public transportation and using car-sharing services. She is just too used to the convenience of car ownership to deal with the comparable inconvenience of the public transportation schedule. She told me last week that she is going to get a car again soon. Was not surprised one bit.

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