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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 07-16-05, 09:53 AM   #1
Platy
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Carfree = Easy Living

I'm in a situation that most people would call early retirement. It's funded largely because I don't need the lifestyle infrastructure required for car ownership.

Figure what percentage of your gross income goes to supporting one or more cars. Then take that percentage of your total working life, say 40 years. The result is the number of years you will spend working to own cars.
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Old 07-16-05, 10:55 AM   #2
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And remember that the percentage is likely to go up over the years. Gas will probably continue to get more expensive. The cars themselves cost much more than they used to, even accounting for inflation (of course you get more car for your money than you used to). In my area, insurance has also gone through the roof.
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Old 07-16-05, 11:16 PM   #3
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Someone figured that, it was something like taking the AAA's estimate of about $8k a year for the average person to own/operate a car, which is after-tax money so it's having to earn an extra $13k or so a year.

Way to stay a lifetime renter!

I was talking with someone last weekend who's leasing a Hummer, $1500 a month whee. Can't get out of it either.
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Old 07-16-05, 11:38 PM   #4
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Men have become the tools of their tools.
-Henry David Thoreau

I think the above pretty much sums it up.
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Old 07-17-05, 09:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilHinault
I was talking with someone last weekend who's leasing a Hummer, $1500 a month whee. Can't get out of it either.
This is what happens when you spend too much time watching television. The constant brainwashing of Americans into buying a motorized lifestyle. It's this illusion that driving this huge machine will make you free, accepted and happy. It's only when you find out the cost of machine including the monthly payments, insurance, gas, tolls tickets and repairs that reality settles in and you find yourself back looking to buy something else.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 07-18-05 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 07-18-05, 06:50 AM   #6
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yessir...

no car = house paid off early = freehold = retire at 40.
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Old 07-18-05, 06:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Platy

Figure what percentage of your gross income goes to supporting one or more cars. Then take that percentage of your total working life, say 40 years. The result is the number of years you will spend working to own cars.
Hear, hear!

This is interesting thinking. I don't have the time to do the calculations right now, but it would not surprise me if you actually could go much longer on a bicycle in the time that you have worked up the money to pay off the total cost of car ownership and the trips with it, provided you don't have an exceptionally well paid job.
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Old 07-19-05, 08:09 AM   #8
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Not to mention the fact that cars are bad for the environment. I know so many people who drive places that are within a mile from their homes. How ridiculous! It's a wonder we live in an ever fattening society. It would be wonderful if more people used alternative transportation - we'd be healthier, happier, and richer!

Pete
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Old 08-04-05, 02:16 PM   #9
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I've been thinking very seriously lately about, rather than going totally car free, figuring a way to eliminate the 3 vehicles we now own in favor of the one nice minivan my wife wants, while I go more or less car free. I'm hoping to get a call back tomorrow morning about a job about 8 miles away by bike. I already ride there quite a bit, so it would be an easy to way to jump into a bike commute.

I don't want to go car-free because most of the shopping, my gun club, the wrestling gym I want to join, etc. are all located about 30-40 miles from here in a bigger city, not to mention my sister and my grandparents. But cutting down to one car would mean we could spend more on that car than we're planning at the moment and still come out money ahead. Illinois license plates alone are about $90 now, so there's $180 annually, and insurance is probably another $400-$500 per year on two of our vehicles. That doesn't contemplate gas for all three vehicles (not that all three see equal use) or parts to keep them running.
My wife is bugging me for the mini-van anyway. Right now we have the red Camaro she just had to have when we got married, a ten-year-old Park Avenue and a 1986 Chevy 1/2 ton 4WD pickup. Really, the van would take the place of everything but the Camaro, whose only function was to look fast while being slow, cramped and uncomfortable.

Man, am I getting old!
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Old 08-04-05, 10:21 PM   #10
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My dad always called that phenomenon "The Golden Handcuffs". The more I think about it, the more I realize he was right about that. People ask me, "Doesn't it take longer to commute by bike?" and I just have to reply, "It doesn't take as long as the extra work you have to do to pay to go faster in a car." After a quizzical look as they think through it, they grudgingly agree, nod their heads, and then proceed to make no changes in their life whatsoever.

I do own a car, but its an old one ('82 mercedes 300TD). I bought it for 2000$, I fix it myself, and I even make most of its fuel (biodiesel @ 70c a gallon). I don't drive it often, but it can be handy for me to have, given my lifestyle choices. Its about as cheap as a car can get, but I still feel its weight on my shoulders. I can't imagine it being a new car.

I'd love to retire early, but I've got quite a few more years before I have to think about that too much.

peace,
sam
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Old 08-04-05, 10:42 PM   #11
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I won't buy a new car. I can't imagine a time when it will be worth it to me. At the moment I at least don't have a car payment, but then, there are a few things on the Buick that I really need to fix soon, and at least one I won't be able to do myself.
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Old 08-05-05, 08:16 AM   #12
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I like to think of the "but how do I go grocery shopping" question to be translated as "I like having a $13k tax per year on my groceries". (using the figures quoted above)
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