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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 10-25-07, 12:18 AM   #351
Platy
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Easy street will not go away as I have many investments in a diversified portfolio.
Excellent. May the wind always be at your back, and may all your asset classes remain uncorrelated!
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Old 10-25-07, 12:29 AM   #352
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That's very wise, Specialized fan. It's a good idea to have investments, savings and assets set aside. You're in much better financial shape than a lot of people I know. I wish others would follow your example and plan for the future.

Preparation work can get you through a lot of bad scenarios, but the best investment portfolio is not a guarantee of a perpetual Easy Street. Wars, revolution, disease, widespread market collapse and other factors can penetrate the strongest investment plans. There are far too many stories, just from the past century, of refugees who were once wealthy but escaped their homes with just the clothes on their backs. It could happen again.
You're right nothing is full proof, but believe it or not I do live below my means as my neighbors have big motor homes, boats and get this golf carts to go down the block to their friends house or the mail box, and I live nowhere near a golf course. There is no way in hell you would ever see me buying a boat or a golf cart!, that is way beyond ridiculous! They always say I need a golf cart and I say I have one built by GM it has Onstar and all I ever need.I raced their golf cart on my mountain bike and won, it was funny.
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Old 10-25-07, 02:18 AM   #353
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Living below your means, no matter what your income, is probably the single biggest step towards simplicity and sustainability. Living on credit and borrowed money is a recipe for disaster.
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Old 10-25-07, 08:21 AM   #354
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I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.
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Old 10-25-07, 12:36 PM   #355
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I have spent the last few hours just perusing through this thread and I have to say I find it very interesting. I myself am not one to criticize the way someone else lives and I have found myself interested in finding out how others in society go about on a day to day basis.

For me I am actually considering becoming a bum for a year. I am 27 now and it is something that I have thought about. I guess you could call it a study in modern civilization. I wouldnt be truly a bum but lving on no more than 60 dollars a week. If anything just walking everywhere and not having anything that I couldnt carry with me.

It seems the greater part of society is infatuated with "keeping up with the Jonses" and living a life on easy street. I guess for me I want to better understand things and I am actually wanting to do this in search of enlightenment. I guess in order to best understand the man you would have to be the man.
I think that's an interesting plan. I have a friend who lives on about $25 a week and she claims to be quite happy.

Some things you might want to research are freegan (or fregan), feral living, paleolithic living and squatting. Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson is a great illustration of this and other simple lifestyles. The ultimate source book is probably Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

Or maybe you'd rather just figure it out for yourself. Make it up as you go along!
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Old 10-25-07, 06:11 PM   #356
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I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.
If the market is stable and prices increase. There are alot of houses on the market right now where people paid too much and now can't sell it for what they owe. This also happens in areas where industry shuts down and goes away, like Detroit. Yes you can keep it your entire life, but I am not sure how much good that will do you if your job goes halfway across the country and you have to move. I used to own some rental properties and have since gotten rid of all but a couple of the better ones, they weren't worth the hassle. Also FWIW I had one house that I bought and ended up selling at a slight loss when the neighborhood got cut off and went down hill. In many cases rent can be a good thing, especially if you are not going to be in an area for a long period of time or if the houses in the market are overvalued.

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Old 10-25-07, 07:05 PM   #357
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I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.
A decade ago, I could have spent $150,000 for an average house here. Today that same average house will set me back around $400,000. That should bring me $250,000 in clear profit. But it doesn't quite work that way. It's a profit on paper only.

If I sell a $400,000 house today, I still need to live somewhere. Any other house I buy will be at or around the same price, so I don't really come out that far ahead if I choose to stay in this town. The only ways I can make a profit are either by buing in an area where property values are rising faster than the average or by buying a fixer-upper and putting a lot of work into it.

I could also realize the profit if I were to relocate to a less desirable area where prices haven't yet started to skyrocket.
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Old 10-25-07, 07:15 PM   #358
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I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.
It's simple. If the total monthly payment on your house (including insurance and maintenance) net after tax deductions is smaller then rental payment, then it's a no-brainer - you should buy. Anything past that is a matter of opinion. However, if the monthly interest payment net after tax deductions is bigger then rental payment, it's a no-brainer again - you should rent.

PS. This said, ability to control the property is worth something too - if you planning to get a dog or something, the above equation should change accordingly.
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Old 10-25-07, 08:20 PM   #359
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It's simple. If the total monthly payment on your house (including insurance and maintenance) net after tax deductions is smaller then rental payment, then it's a no-brainer - you should buy. Anything past that is a matter of opinion. However, if the monthly interest payment net after tax deductions is bigger then rental payment, it's a no-brainer again - you should rent.

PS. This said, ability to control the property is worth something too - if you planning to get a dog or something, the above equation should change accordingly.
Another factor is size- I rent an apartment in a size that isn't available to own (except maybe small luxury condos, which I highly doubt are a money-saving option). If I tried to own a home, there would be no way to get the price down as low as my rental here except by moving to somewhere far away where I would find myself earning less money. Of course, at a certain level of size-large housing there are usually no homes for rent, but that might not really apply to this discussion.
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Old 10-25-07, 11:20 PM   #360
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another factor which has been discussed are all the associated costs of owning. if you want to own you tend to have to move farther from where your ideal location is. the farther you move away the more affordable the housing may be but the increase in costs of commuting can increase dramatically as well.
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Old 10-25-07, 11:49 PM   #361
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I just re-read the past 10 pages. I didn't realize the home owning horse had been beaten over and over.
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Old 10-26-07, 06:43 AM   #362
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The thing about house payments though, is that they end. And then you get to keep that $1000 or what ever a month. Rent never ends.

Actually my dad finds old mobile homes, takes out a 10 year loan on them and puts usually about $1000 worth of work into them. He does all the labor so its just around $1000 in materials. He then sets the rent at whatever his monthly payments are. So in 10 years, his job is to just make sure someone is paying rent there at all times and he has basically a free house - a little labor.

In less then a year now, he will have 10 rental houses paid off and he will be making a little over $6000 a month (or $1500 a week). And he has been doing it since about 1982.

He also works full time, so thats kind of like his "side job" money that he earns on the weekends and after work. He says he will retire and be able to live off of that money but he thinks he needs 2 more houses before he does that. I guess $6000 a month isnt enough to buy a new gun every week and stay at the range
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Old 10-26-07, 10:05 AM   #363
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I have been there and done that too and it sucks! I'll take easy street any day!
I am curious as to experiences that you have had while living life destitute. What were some of the experiences that you had? How did you occupy your time? Did you move around a lot or stay in a single area? did you panhandle?
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Old 10-26-07, 04:00 PM   #364
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I am curious as to experiences that you have had while living life destitute. What were some of the experiences that you had? How did you occupy your time? Did you move around a lot or stay in a single area? did you panhandle?
I was not destitute as I worked at Douglas building airplanes and lived in Lake wood country club. My money went to flying lessons, but there were many time like getting groceries or getting a date where I wish I had a car. The live style worked over all as it took me 10 minutes to ride to work and 15 minutes from my Helicopter lesson. I got laid off one fine day and suddenly I realized a car would be handy for job searches and going to an interview all sweaty and smelling of bo is not a good plan. I at one time thought and did live car free as I was single with no ties and it over all worked, but now I have a wife 2 kids and a mortgage in the burbs thus needing at least 2 vehicles, but I am happier now as I live comfortably I never got my helicopter license as it is very expensive and I just have found other things to do with stocks that have proven more lucrative. I believe that having a vehicle definitely makes life easier.
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Old 10-26-07, 04:24 PM   #365
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Hmmm, how simply do I live? not very compared to some I guess. but better than others.

Wife - not simple at all
1 kid
2 cars - paid for, reliable, used about 5k total per year. may sell the truck.
3 bikes - bike to work & most errands.
House - have enough in savings to pay it off but my mortgae is cheap. Maintenance can be a b*tch.
Insurance - car, health, life... o yeah, house... i think that's it.
cable bill
phone bill
utilities bill
checking account
401k
IRA - wife's leftover from her independant contractor days.
2 brokerage accounts - neither had everything I wanted

I have things set up to be pretty routine - bills paid by bank draft, etc. keep some reserve in the checking account for "rainy days".

Once I got it all set up, i have to spend maybe 1 or 2 hours a month dealing with the paperwork of life. Doing my taxes takes 4-8hrs once a year. the rest of the time I work & play. It's not a bad life

cheers
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Old 11-04-07, 01:57 PM   #366
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this past week , between my cycling errands, my wife cycling to class and the two weeks earlier, on vacation. Using the trains mostly and city transit. Our car has not cranked over in almost four weeks. Should I start it up. the battery is fairly new. One does not start up a car in over a month, does the battery get weak from lack of use. Maybe I better start it up before we need go somewhere. No plans to use the car for the next couple days. I am a very determined utility cycist. I will commute to a grocery store 2 or 3 times in a day being each time my panniers are full. Rather than go to the store once in the car.
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Old 11-04-07, 02:25 PM   #367
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I was not destitute as I worked at Douglas building airplanes and lived in Lake wood country club. My money went to flying lessons, but there were many time like getting groceries or getting a date where I wish I had a car. The live style worked over all as it took me 10 minutes to ride to work and 15 minutes from my Helicopter lesson. I got laid off one fine day and suddenly I realized a car would be handy for job searches and going to an interview all sweaty and smelling of bo is not a good plan. I at one time thought and did live car free as I was single with no ties and it over all worked, but now I have a wife 2 kids and a mortgage in the burbs thus needing at least 2 vehicles, but I am happier now as I live comfortably I never got my helicopter license as it is very expensive and I just have found other things to do with stocks that have proven more lucrative. I believe that having a vehicle definitely makes life easier.

Ah I see. dont get me wrong, cars are great. I gave mine up to the fiancee after just buying it in May of this year. I find it more liberating to be without. We use it for long distance trips and she uses it for work. We share a ride to school and I usually bike home since my classes go longer than hers do. In this day and age it is very difficult to get around, especially in some of the more spread out areas.

I am thinking instead of the living as a bum, maybe doing a coast to coast ride would be more of the experience I am looking for.
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Old 11-04-07, 04:18 PM   #368
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One time we biked into some guy from upstate New York. He often set up a tarp and slept out in the wide open spaces. He said the police constantly harassed him as some kind of vagabond.
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Old 11-05-07, 05:33 AM   #369
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cyclezealot,

I would recommend you starting the vehicle and letting it run until the engine warms up to normal operating temperature. Do this at least monthly if not twice a month.

My brother left his vehicle set for to long and a push rod seized in the engine due to lack of lubrication. Cost about $1000 to fix.

Just my $.02
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Old 11-05-07, 07:13 PM   #370
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My battery died while my car was just sitting and then it sat dead for too long and one of the cells died on it. Luckily it was still 2 months left on the battery warrenty so I could change it out for free.

I know it was just a bad timing thing, but you definatly should crank it up atleast once a month like det suggested.
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Old 12-12-07, 12:54 PM   #371
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So, I live simple!
Own a couple of bicycles, two guitars and a laptop.
No stereo, no TV, no coffee machine, no pots and/or pans (no appliances at all infact except a fridge and an oven), no dishwasher, no motorbike, no car, no woman and no pets.
Just me, my work and my boredom.
GREAT!!!
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Old 12-18-07, 10:49 AM   #372
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[QUOTE]
Just me, my work and my boredom
[/QUOTE]
just a matter of dumping the work then?

Jim
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Old 01-03-08, 04:27 AM   #373
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Happy New Year all! After reading all the insightful, inspirational, and informational replies, this has motivated me to get simplified, organized, and live car free. I have been commuting by bike for four months and now I have been doing all my errands, and shopping by bike as well. I also converted one of my bikes into an electric bike to give more freedom to go anywhere. I have taken out my Burly trailer that I usally used for camping and I decided to put it to better use. So far, I have loaded up my trailer and donated my books to the library, donated my clothes to non-profit organization, and sold all my dvds to a game store. Man, that feels good. I also called my local garbage collector to pick my all my junk in my garage and backyard. So, my New Years resolution this year is to get organized and go car-lite. So far so good. Thanks all for this wonderful forum!

As Gandhi said, "be the change you want to see in the world." You’re all doing that, which helps the world do that. Ride on!
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Old 01-03-08, 01:36 PM   #374
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Ive always been a pretty strict minimalist even before I moved out on my own. I dont own very many things, and if I dont use it I either give it away, sell it, or toss it. Thats not to say I dont have a few toys but nothing on the scale of most of my friends and family. I recently sold my car and now walk, bike ride, or take the bus every where I go. Which is easy because I live in Philadelphia. I dont use much electricity or heat and my utility bills usually total less than $100 a month. Now I just have to work on spending my money more effectively on food. I have very limited cooking experience therefore I still tend to buy a lot of food instead of preparing it myself. In 2008, one of my resolutions is to get to the farmers market every weekend and come up with some sustainable dishes I can see myself eating a lot.
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Old 01-27-08, 06:58 PM   #375
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I'll be one of the first to admit that I do not think I live minimally. I very much admire those of you who live minimally and are happy doing so. I lived fairly minimally throughout college and grad school (out of financial necessity), but even then still fancied the "finer things", such as computers, music, and of course bicycles. Now, I tend to buy what I want to, even if it's an impulse buy, and not feel too bad about it. I don't think I could list all of my possessions without spending a decent amount of time taking inventory of the house and garage. I'm sure I don't need everything I have. There are some things which I could have, but have no desire to own (such as big screen TVs, entertainment systems, cars, nice furniture, kitchenware, ect). But pretty much, if I want something, I buy it.
Simplicity for me is not so much about number of things or absence of things. Some have needs others don't have... for instance, it requires somewhat more (or maybe different is a better word) provisioning to provide an adequate home environment for a school-aged child or a person with a disability. Some people would lose their jobs if dressed for work as if they are homeless. For me, simplicity is about one's attitude toward things. Does the thing better your life and/or the lives of those around you? Does this betterment outweigh costs (economic, social, environmental, etc?). I don't think having a nice bike with features that improve your enjoyment of riding is in any way a conflict with living "simply". All that said, it is amazing how little "stuff" one really needs, and how good it feels to be liberated from excess stuff.
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