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  1. #26
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=matt_savvy]I use the library a lot, and I rarely (if ever) change my clothes. I've actually been wearing these pants since nov 04, and the same t-shirt since september 05.

    Yikes!

  2. #27
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    I moved to Santa Fe about a month ago with only a large suit case and a backpacking pack. Since arriving I've bought a futon mattress (no frame) and splurged on two 4'x8' plywood sheets to make a shelving system and a 14" wok. I shipped my one bike and some blankets. That's it.

  3. #28
    Senior Member iBarna's Avatar
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    Good stuff in here!

    Interesting that some here extend this simplicity to not drinking etc. Well, I do drink, smoke (will quit soon, you'll see), take the occasional drug (nothing hard, just pot and such), and I actually think that eating out brings a lot of simplicity into my life. It's more expensive, but then again I live right downtown in a city with so many great restaurants... All right, it's a vice. But you guys should try the grilled eggplant sandwich at Herbivore on Valencia Street.

    Which leads me to...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Who are your philosophers of simplicity? I like Buddha because he teaches not to get attached to things. I also like Thoreau because he simplified to the core and because he knew how to live outdoors.
    Oh, Thoreau is a good one. To me it's Epicurus. What the current world understands as Epicureanism is not what the man had in mind. He did say that we should indulge in pleasures, but he also said that these pleasures should be simple, and that one should never indulge in anything excessively. Epicurus' school had the motto 'lathe biosas', which means, 'live hidden' or 'live simply' depending on the translator. It basically means to live a simple life, surrounded by friends, eschew the limelight and politics. Live a simple life, eat well, drink well, laugh well, love well, never stop learning and philosophizing...


    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    You should really take a look at this site (www.simpleliving.net) go in the forums section that have advice and encouragement (much like here) around all of the different angles of simple living. This site and there are the two that keep me truckin' in a low paying job and living a "rich" lifestyle.
    Great tip! I never thought about looking for an online forum about this


    Quote Originally Posted by worker4youth
    The only thing I have a lot of is bikes: 3 of them -- 1 fixed, 1 road, and 1 mountain. I suppose I don't NEED all 3, but they're nice to have. iBarna, do you have just one bike?
    Yeah, only one, this one, a nice vintage Bottecchia. Though I soon will start working on a second, more comfortable cyclocross. Two bikes is a luxury I will afford, because I bike everywhere, and it will be nice to have a back-up. -- I actually thought about building TWO identical bikes to keep repairs simple (both bikes would correspond to the same standards, etc.) How cool would it look to have two absolutely identical, sleek black bikes hanging on your wall, in an otherwise uncluttered room?


    Quote Originally Posted by Brad M
    Being TV-free is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It's not quite so bad if you're also addicted to the Internet. You still have a source for news and _interactive_ entertainment.
    Very true. The best thing that happened me in a long time was to give up TV. Now, when I watch it (at a friend's house, say), I can't believe how stupid it is and how many hours I wasted in front of it. I guess the TiVo-type stuff makes it more bearable, but still...

  4. #29
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    can i say how much i love this thread. i hate clutter, limit my clothes in closet (i
    make sure i donate some as i buy new ones). i eat out (save for GOOD meals, not junk), but often cook several meals at home, and i take them to work in my rack trunk in little square t'wares. since i moved back to denver from LA five years ago i've pared down my busyness, stress, and stuff. since biking commuting i've realized how much pleasure there is in saving money, and now the the debts are paid off (except house) after a few years i'm looking forward to traveling overseas even more this year.

    i think "living simply" is more a state of mind than based on how much stuff one owns (even though i preach living simply through means of reducing excess in your life)

    for example a guy in the country who owns 20 junk cars and enjoys tinkering with them and fixing them might be living just as simply as one of us. i've found it has more to do with stress and society's demands placed on us. there's an "anti-overscheduling" movement starting in books and blogs, based on the ridiculous of the concept that your life is only productive and valuable if you're running from place to place and have a million things to do. some of this is geared towards parents, and i've read stories of multiple lessons, soccer games and fast food dinners in cars rushing from one place to the next.

    hopefully people realize the annoying phrase "well you have to much time on your hands" is not a negative thing, but a good thing. there's a difference between taking a lazy approach to life versus sitting in the park in a summer evening reading, or just spending a few hours doing nothing, or doing more enriching things like taking spanish lessons (which i'm starting in two weeks)

    i think a hobby that involves junk and clutter is certainly different than an aggravating household of crap that stresses you out, but i think we all realize living simple for financial reasons also provides us more opportunites for dictating how our day is spent (making oragami or spanish lessons). less spending on unneeded things equals less debt equals less need for part time or additional jobs. i for example own bought a hot tub last spring, but because i found a guy selling it for under $800. the reason? he was getting one with a TV/DVD player built in. some might consider me not simple for owning something needing maintenence and using more electricity. i enjoy it, and i laugh at his need to spend $10,000 on a hot tub which does the exact same thing as the one he sold me (now on my back patio)

    in another post i referenced the phrase "manufactured wants" and someone argued with that term. we're so oversaturated with marketing;/advertising/commercial messages, i don't think enough people quickly disect whether they truly can use something or they actually need it. for example yes i wanted a hot tub, but i was patient, and had no intention if spending retail on it. this fell into my lap, so i rewarded myself and am happy, and still consider myself simple. note these two articles:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30284
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29448

    anyway i love this post. i consider myself quite simple, although i own a home, hot tub, and several computers for my audio production work. i have a plan in life of living below my means, educating myself, traveling, so in the long run i'll be able to not stress about money, travel and learn, and be able to be a good example of living simply to family friends and others

    also check this article about the 116 year old lady.

    http://www.happynews.com/news/121620...lds-oldest.htm

    This line sums it all up:

    Her calm disposition may be the secret to her longevity, her daughter said. "She always had a very tranquil character," Irma said. "She does not get upset by anything. She takes things very calmly and she has been that way her whole life."

  5. #30
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    oh and right on about cooking your own food. the big joke about "guys not being able to cook" is BS

    with sites like foodtv.com you can do anything simple or complicated. it's simple steps, just like building a TV cabinet. i find it MUCH easier to whip out a few pans, saute up whatever, it's relaxing to chop veggies, and i can have dinner cooking by the time i'd be seated at a restaurant.

    in addition to being car free, a great way to save money is to be concientious about where and how often you eat out.

    i love having breakfast at the diner by my house, or going our for sushi, but i always know what i'm going to have, how much i'll spend, and limit myself to places that serve GOOD food.

    even traveling my backpack is filled with cliff bars, bananas, apples, tuna cans and crackers

  6. #31
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    I like Ken Kifer's philosphy on simple living. He has a lot of bike stuff too

    http://www.kenkifer.com/Thoreau/index.htm <---Just read his comments on the right side of the page for starters....it'll take more than one pass to take it all in.

    Sadly Ken is gone now...

    we are so busy with unnecessary worries and works that we can't appreciate life.

  7. #32
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    I own clothes, a few bikes, camping equipment, skis, bed, chair, kitchen stuff, laptop, projector (for dvds), a guitar, tools, and that's about it. I just rent furnished flats, or borrow excess furniture from my family.

    I have a passion for adventure, travel, languages, and have a ton of hobbies, so 10 years ago when i graduated from Uni i decided to work a year, take a year off, work a year, take year off... at the expense of buying a nice house, kids, car, and lots of stuff.

    I've had an incredible time but i always feel like i'm fighting the expectations of society that view me as an underachiever. But I always tell myself that if i were to die tomorrow, i'd be much happier than if i had climbed the corporate ladder.

  8. #33
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bokes

    I have a passion for adventure, travel, languages, and have a ton of hobbies, so 10 years ago when i graduated from Uni i decided to work a year, take a year off, work a year, take year off... at the expense of buying a nice house, kids, car, and lots of stuff.

    I've had an incredible time but i always feel like i'm fighting the expectations of society that view me as an underachiever. But I always tell myself that if i were to die tomorrow, i'd be much happier than if i had climbed the corporate ladder.
    well done and well said. after working full time since 19 and two year college (i'm 30 now) i'm finally traveling and have a good job that gives me enough vaca time to do it.

    i may want to go back to school down the road, or i may travel more, spend a year abroad, etc. but the good thing is the road ISN'T mapped out - given our simple lives we can choose as we like.

  9. #34
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Lets see,i have a 2000gateway with ME and its crap. Maybe a $4000 HT with 125cd's and 50 DVD's. A 02 Altima and a 99 Caravan,both paid for. No CC debt. A $900 house payment for another 6 years.{paid 80,000 in 80,worth 600,000** Levis and T-shirts,dont own a suit. Mow my own lawn and no maid. Wife works as i do full time and 1 daughter moved out and the other in her 2nd year at LBCC. We live pretty simple. I have to watch tv,i was born with it.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  10. #35
    Senior Member smilin buddha's Avatar
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    This has to be one of the best sections on this site. I have realized a little late that I have to much stuff. I was always looking for books and buying all the latest ones. Sad, but I work at the library. I started to donate my items slowly at first and have been cleaning the house ever since. I donated a large amount of things to local charities during christmas, but have so much more to do. I have started to pair down the clothes. And purchased some Dickies work pants and shorts. Less items will give me less time to worry about them. So my friends think I am nuts. They run around with the latest ipods and electronic doodads. And I read books about letting go and simplifying. The hardest part for me was the realization that I was wrapping my self worth in the items I owed. Funny I thought I owed them, but they actually owned me.

  11. #36
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    The watershed for me was when I started touring. I go light.

    When I was younger success meant possessions. Now I see them as baggage that holds me down, keeps me back and prevents my freedom. The side-effect is now that I no longer have financial problems. When you don't own a car and don't buy 'things' you save lots and lots of money.

  12. #37
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    Everything I own would easily fit into the back of a small p/u truck, I could be gone in under 45mins. My monthly expenses hover around $450/month including rent,food,etc etc etc. Other than my rather serious computer equipment and habit my life is pretty simple. No TV, no cars or trucks, no bed, very little furniture, cook all my own meals etc etc.

    Just a few years ago I had 3 vehicles, 3 truckloads of stuff, and was your typical american uber consumer..........that life is history, and im alot happier for it. About the only complicated part of my life is the business I run, and a messenger business isnt all that tough to deal with, even being an army of one. Heck its about noon here and Im home nice and warm doing computer work while waiting for more calls for runs to come in, life is good.

  13. #38
    E. Peterbus Unum
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    I gotta say, as a father of two and husband to one, this is a great topic. I have started my quest to simplify my life and love it. I sold "my" car last year and we are down to one family car. I have been biking to work for almost 6 months now. Love it!!

    I too have been the "true" American consumer and hate it! I have joined a local freecycle group and have already begun "the purging". Of all the articles in the Living Car Free subforum, I keep hoping this topic gets updated so I can get more ideas!!!!

    What excites me the most is that while I am doing this, my kids see this and will grow up with a more acceptable idea of "possessions" and not fall prey to consumerism. Of course....Santa and the grandparents have un-done a lot of what I was doing before Christmas to keep things simple and small. Oh well.....

    Chris

  14. #39
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    i gotta check out freecycle. i used craigslist for tons of stuff.

    i took down a frame on my patio consisting of heavy long steel pipes. took a picture and put them up figuring an artist or building/designer could find some use for them - and was helping load them into a truck within a few hours.

    junk to me is of great value to others, and vice versa

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdenver
    in another post i referenced the phrase "manufactured wants" and someone argued with that term. we're so oversaturated with marketing;/advertising/commercial messages, i don't think enough people quickly disect whether they truly can use something or they actually need it.
    Most of people's manufactured wants comes from the television set. It surprised me how little I wanted to buy things once I stopped watching television. I really believe this is the reason people want to buy the latest cars because you're programmed to need an SUV after watching hundreds of hours of commercials.

    After nearly going bankrupt several years ago trying to live a lifestyle I couldn't afford, I'm through with commercialism. My TV cannot get reception without cable so I have a subscription with NetFlix and get to watch the movies without the commericals. My cable TV is gone and I log onto this forum at work and using my cell phone at 14.4K!! My large collection of books were sold during my recent move and I'm getting rid of the rest! I'm sick of clutter.

    I've been bad with cycling in general. I'm discovering the reason I'm purchaing is to get rid of depression. I've found that nothing makes you want to go out and shop like being depressed so I have to catch myself. This summer, I'm selling off four of my bikes and live with two. You'll see people on this forum buying a bicycle each year on credit! Even though this is a procycling forum, don't fall into this trap.

    I find it hard to believe that after living my life with credit card debt, I'm finally free for good. Don't get into this trap even for a bicycle.

  16. #41
    Member smithers's Avatar
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    i've had great luck getting rid of stuff on ebay and craigslist; i agree with dahon steve-stay out of the credit card trap! i had myself in quite a $$$ mess when i had credit card debt and it SUCKS!
    a great thread! i'm always excited to read about others living lightly / cheaply /clutter-free!!

  17. #42
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    I don't know how simply I live, I think it is rather relative. In comparing myself to my family and friends I'm pretty simple. I do own a big TV but I watch DVDs, only Saturday night do the cat and I sit in front of the boob tube, Cops. I watch movies and DVD bike races (love Paris-Roubaix). I own a big American made van, that is back on the road. I have a one bedroom apartment, a mile from work, I let the guy below me heat the place, I've come home and it's been 70 in my apartment. I cook my own meals, with exception of what I eat at work and Friday afternoons I eat lunch with my brother, and one Saturday a month I eat with all three brothers and their kids. I used to be a regular at coffee joints, but I solved that when my step dad gave me his old Krups espresso machine, so the only reason I go to a coffee house is to get beans.
    At Christmas I shocked everyone that I drove to the family get together, because I ride most everywhere I go.
    I hang on to the van with the idea of using it as a camper/sag wagon, but I have been working on a touring bike for two years now, and think I'm close to being dialed in.
    On the complicated side of things, I own a small bike shop, or so I am told, 16 makes me a bike shop, a couple (4) are frames that I'm slowly acquiring parts for. I have two track frames, and a bunch of road/fixed conversions, as well as a road bike, the touring bike and an MTB.
    I just cleaned out the closet of my old cloths, donating them to the halfway house I work in. I bought a bunch of wool sweaters at Goodwill for Christmas, they are great for riding in.
    Like others have said before me, I still have a long way to go. I dream of having two maybe three bikes, but I like all of them and have a little blood sweat and tears in them too. I have cross-country skies, a revived obsession from my youth, and camping equipment, both for car and bike camping.
    I contemplate moving every other week, to a climate that is more bike friendly, and could get rid of the behemouth, it's an expenditure, like everyone has said that I can do without.
    Currently my simplicity has run to Zen, and getting up at 5 am to go to the Zendo and sit, it is amazing what has been showing up on the junk pile on trash day, my old PCs and monitors. I still cling to things like books, mostly Zen. I could rid myself of a lot of pocessions and still live pretty comfortably. Maybe it will come with my awakening, or I'll awaken to the impermanence of pocessions... Hmm, must speak to the master...
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

    "The more you drive, the less intelligent you become." Miller "Repo Man"

  18. #43
    THC Freedom Fighter karmical's Avatar
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    simplier than most, not as simple as some, since there is nothing wrong with pampering yourself and loved ones with the fruits of your labors-

    we tend to cook most of our meals, but since we both work, there are plenty of days where i have no problem letting someone else take care of that burden, and have plenty of friends that are chefs, so i'm always taken care of in that department-

    watch tv, no cable though, lots of dvds & vhs, tend to like the classics personally and all of norman lears stuff but not tied to it and don't have to watch everyday or weekly just when i/we feel the need.

    too many books here as well, last move i had more crates of books than anything else-
    have a bed, a few chairs, but not much else, going to be after the move then we'll expand a bit, but still remain as clutter-free as possible
    barter/trade for much of everything
    Smoke all you want too, we'll grow more...

  19. #44
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Hi iBarna!

    Two quotes I'm fond of:

    "Success isn't defined by the things you have.
    It's defined by the things you don't need."

    "It is desirable that a man be clad so simply...and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly
    that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety."


    As recently as 2004, I was living a rampant-consumer-based life. A number of events - 18-hour workdays, a failed relationship, failing health and the closing of my company - contributed to my reevaluating that lifestyle.

    I live very simply these days. I might go out for food once every few months but prefer to cook for myself. I watch TV but try to limit it Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill and PBS/Nature/Discovery/Travel type stuff. (roommate has cable and the TV so I can't get rid of it completely)

    My laptop is both a working tool and entertainment center (hp 17" widescreen - great for DVDs and it replaces a desktop computer). My futon is both a couch & bed.

    I can't say all of my worldly possesions would fit in one box but certainly they'd fit in a small room or do a good job furnishing a bachelor pad.

    All of the things said in this thread hit home with me.
    My possesions used to own me. Now, I find comfort in stopping along my bike rides and watching the real world unfold. The things I keep in my home are out of convenience - tools, books etc - not from a desire to "collect" things.

    Ultimately, my goal is find a steady "job" - I live on contract work - pay off one remaining student loan and "drop out" - touring by bike much like this fellow did: http://www.wildworks.co.nz/csr/photographs.php

    Thanks for posting. It was a reminder to me that people are more important than things. "Love people and use things, don't use people and love things" perhaps?

    CJ
    Last edited by af895; 01-07-06 at 09:30 AM.

  20. #45
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithers
    i've had great luck getting rid of stuff on ebay and craigslist; i agree with dahon steve-stay out of the credit card trap! i had myself in quite a $$$ mess when i had credit card debt and it SUCKS!
    a great thread! i'm always excited to read about others living lightly / cheaply /clutter-free!!
    i made the last big "chunk" payment on my CC last fall, and i have an obessesion with remaining free of credit card debt. intangible as it is, it's a trendemendous

    i've had up and down CC for 11 years. i've gotton it down, racked it up, paid with some help my 'rents, racked some more up. there's so many "get out of CC guides out there" but i think they're missing one point: they tell you to cut back on things, cut out little expenses like $20-30 a month things, watch how much you eat out, etc. that's smart, but it won't happen without a fundamental life philosophy change regarding your goals, need, and wants. if you still like going to the mall to BUY stuff to make yourself happy, it won't happen. i believe spending is like an addiction, and eventually you'll relapse. if you hang out with friends who don't see a good time as anything else than spending $100 on dinner and martini, it's a tough call and you may see less of them. on the other hand you may find friends that enjoy things like drinking coffee at a diner, or practicing spanish together.

    i noticed even last year, that when i had $4,000 in debt, it's a lot easier to justify spending 40-60 bucks on something. it's barely a dent in what you owe. now with a clean slate, i watch my purchases even MORE carefully than when i had a few grand on the cards.

    also you can then using cards to MAKE you money. some cards offer 1-5% cash back on purchases, and i have a UAL miles card - so even though i prefer cash, i use mine for groceries, gas, etc.. and as soon as i walk in the door make an online payment from my checking account for $40-50 or whatever i spent.

    oh i think ebay and craigslist are excellent tools for our culture. i find clothes, tools, books, gifts, and lots of new stuff too. i hope craigslist stays exactly the way it is and never sells out to registrations, ads, etc

    all the best and happy saturday!!!

  21. #46
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine
    I make a good living, so it's tempting to spend the money on stuff, but I don't. I save it. The exception to this is the wonderful bicycle I am currently building up and my Steinway grand piano.

    I definitely live more simply than most though.

    -I don't eat out, EVER. I cook every meal myself, and I daresay I do a better job of it than most restaurant chefs I've run into.
    -I am car-free.
    -I live in a small cottage.
    -During winter, I resist the urge to warm my home with the furnace, prefering to put on extra layers.
    -I hand-wash all my clothes with a 1940's clothes plunger, and hang them to dry outside.
    -I grow my own. :groucho eyebrows:
    -I hate forms, credit cards, insurance companies, attorneys, etcetera. I try to avoid these things as much as possible.
    -My favorite activity is camping by bicycle in summertime.

    Your like one of those next door millionare neighbors that looks like everyone, dresses like everyone, but happens to be a millionaire because of extreme thriftiness

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  22. #47
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    I like Ken Kifer's philosphy on simple living. He has a lot of bike stuff too

    http://www.kenkifer.com/Thoreau/index.htm <---Just read his comments on the right side of the page for starters....it'll take more than one pass to take it all in.

    Sadly Ken is gone now...
    First Syndey and now I find out Ken Kifer is dead. Damn. Who else?

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  23. #48
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdenver
    i made the last big "chunk" payment on my CC last fall, and i have an obessesion with remaining free of credit card debt. intangible as it is, it's a trendemendous

    i've had up and down CC for 11 years. i've gotton it down, racked it up, paid with some help my 'rents, racked some more up.
    Krikey James! Reading that was giving me cold sweats. I too went through the credit card thing. When I simplified my life in 2004, I paid them off and cut them up. On the occasion I want to order something online, I'll hand cash to a friend of family member and ask if they'd place the order.


    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdenver
    ... there's so many "get out of CC guides out there" but i think they're missing one point: they tell you to cut back on things, cut out little expenses like $20-30 a month things, watch how much you eat out, etc. that's smart, but it won't happen without a fundamental life philosophy change regarding your goals, need, and wants. if you still like going to the mall to BUY stuff to make yourself happy, it won't happen. i believe spending is like an addiction, and eventually you'll relapse. if you hang out with friends who don't see a good time as anything else than spending $100 on dinner and martini, it's a tough call and you may see less of them. on the other hand you may find friends that enjoy things like drinking coffee at a diner, or practicing spanish together.
    WORD. You hit the nail on the head there.
    A lot of the so-called friends I used to have are people I don't see anymore because they couldn't wrap their heads around just hanging out and talking - they had to be at a restaurant or mall spending.

    I have a whole new set of friends now - people I have a deeper connection to - who play instruments, work on bikes together or let me cook for them. One of them was about to make an order from Nashbar for some bike stuff. I went into my box of bike goodies, pulled out a pair of road bars and brakes and saved him $100. Craiglist, Freecycles and the local bike co-op are great ways to save.

    I think we're just a bit ahead of our time there: once our species gets over peak-oil and realizes the embodied energy tied up in the materials we throw out, we'll need to be frugal because, say, a set of handlebars will cost you $400 new on account of the mining, refining, manufacturer and transportation costs. (though that might not happen in our lifetime)

    "It's not the big expenses you plan for that'll bankrupt you - it's all the tiny little ones you didn't keep track of that'll add up."

    Durn good discussion here!
    Last edited by af895; 01-07-06 at 03:50 PM.

  24. #49
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    Hey af895, if that's your picture as an avatar, you look really sad. Turn that frown unside down, now.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  25. #50
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 531phile
    Hey af895, if that's your picture as an avatar, you look really sad. Turn that frown unside down, now.
    That was taken at about 4am, in need of a shave and coffee.
    Changed! (a way more goofy shot at a "teddy bear shop" my friend works at.
    Last edited by af895; 01-07-06 at 03:51 PM.

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