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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 01-10-06, 01:09 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by af895
Here's one for all y'all:

I got an email this morning from a friend that was CC'd to a bunch of other friends.
She wants everyone to get together at a restaurant on Thursday.
Addendum:

I just got an email from one of the OTHER friends CC'd on this asking if I wanted to "go out" on Thursday.

I did reply to that one: "What's the occasion?"

Heh.
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Old 01-10-06, 04:39 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by schiavonec
man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
- not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
- married
- with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
- business owners;
- pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
- caring for parents or elderly family members;
- property owners
- business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
- coaches for traveling sports
- dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.
These are good points, and everything you mentioned would make it more difficult, maybe almost impossible, to be carfree.

BUT:

People who live without cars choose where they live with these issues in mind. We have learned to "think outside the cage," as I say in my sig, to solve these dilemnas. If they cannot be solved, buy a car if you must, then use it little as possible as you continue to search for better solutions.

Also, many of these issues would not have been problems 75 years ago, before we simultanously dismantled our public transit system and began the migration to the suburbs. Believe it or not, salesmen used to travel on trains and so did athletic teams. People had schools, stores and other needed services a couple blocks from their homes. and delivery servies were also more common.

Many carfree people are strong political advocates for better transit and more livable cities. Working to improve the infrastructure is just one more way to think outside the cage.

I suggest that you scroll through this forum to discover some of the creative solutions that we have come up with. We are starting to get a pretty good data base here that might be useful or interesting to you.

BTW, I was reminded that even in the 1960s, American family life was a lot simpler than it is now. We had one car, but school and youth activities were available in the neighborhood, and the soccer mom was definitely far in the future.
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Old 01-10-06, 11:29 PM   #103
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I just go to the laundromat on the block. They have better machines I could ever own. I don't even own my own detergent or softener, I buy those little "1 Load" boxes at the laundromat.
Ouch! Next time you're at the store, look at prices of laundry detergent and figure cost per load. Even the fancy expensive stuff is usually quite a bit cheaper (per load) than the one load boxes they sell at the laundromat. (For instance, I recently figured my current bottle of detergent runs about 15 cents a load - the boxes at my laundromat are 75 cents, some places they're even more.) This is a good example of something that can nickel and dime one to death - it might seem fairly cheap to buy the little boxes there, but when you figure up how much you're actually paying over, say, a year - you can really save a lot. As with many things, the bigger bottles/boxes are cheaper (per load) than the smaller ones. I buy the huge jugs of whatever kind of detergent, and to avoid having to carry the whole thing with me when I walk or ride to the laundromat, I decant one or two loads' worth into a smaller bottle.

Since I threw in with this comment, I'll answer the original question while I'm here. I think I live fairly simply - no TV; cook meals and very rarely eat out; rarely visit the bar unless to shoot a few games of pool with my neighbor; I no longer have a cell phone, just a land line, mostly because I have to to have DSL here; don't drive of course, I walk or bike almost everywhere. I traded my PDA for an older model MP3 player, don't know if that helped simplify or not. All that being said, I don't live very clutter-free. I'm a pack rat from way back, inherited that from my mom. Six moves over the past five years have cleared out quite a bit of stuff, but I'm a sucker for thrift stores and dumpster diving. I need to wean myself off of quite a bit of the clutter, but do tend to keep it pretty neatly organized, and there are several things that I simply don't want to live without. I have a job now that I don't particularly care to stay at "forever" but it's okay for now (I just recently moved here). I don't make much, I imagine I would officially be considered to be below the poverty line, but it pays the bills and I have a little left over. In fact, I don't think I have ever made this little (while living on my own) but I also have never been happier. Books, music, friends, and of course the good old internets - cheap entertainment! Who needs SUVs, megaplex theaters, shopping malls, big box stores, and urban sprawl? After living in The Big City for a few years, I'm back to the same sort of small town I grew up in (even smaller, in fact) and loving it.
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Old 01-11-06, 02:46 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by schiavonec
man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
- not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
- married
- with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
- business owners;
- pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
- caring for parents or elderly family members;
- property owners
- business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
- coaches for traveling sports
- dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.

ok good point

here is me. i owne two small businesses one is a pedicab buisness, easy no store front no suite. the other is a bike related clothing company, most sales are web based. i run it out of the back of my brothers tattoo shop and just pay him for a few bills. i am currently single this is do in part to my choice of the simple life i lead, no girl wants to live in a camper. i dont have any kids, i did have two cats but there are now with the girl who i used to live with. the house boat dream might take awhile, it all depends on the clothing company. it's really starting to go! well any way thats me most of my family dont understand just last night my mom told me i needed to get a real job!
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Old 01-11-06, 05:02 PM   #105
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crap that was me on someone elses computer.
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Old 01-11-06, 05:34 PM   #106
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crap that was me on someone elses computer.
I knewit wasyou when I read it.I thought you had changed your user name!
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Old 01-11-06, 06:30 PM   #107
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Reading everyones thoughts is great, I like to try to live simple and not have cluter around me.

I have to ask 1 question to everyone here...

How many of you that are on the simple side of life are married with kids?

With kids I had to bite the bullet and get a car....
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Old 01-11-06, 07:23 PM   #108
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I will admit I do not have kids. I am engaged. (I know its not married, but hey I am 22.) Yet as a child, my family could not afford much, but I was happy with the little bit I had. I also was able to develop an very extensive imgination. I will not say that rasing kids simple is easy, but its doable. Think about farmers 100 or so years ago. The kids had to enteritain themselves some how without TV, radios, and sometimes not even books. Kids learn from their parents, if their parents are satisified with a little bit of stuff, so will the kids, but if the parents always want more then the kids will follow suit. Well, that is what I have observe and experience.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:12 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by pakole
I will admit I do not have kids...Kids learn from their parents, if their parents are satisified with a little bit of stuff, so will the kids, but if the parents always want more then the kids will follow suit. Well, that is what I have observe and experience.
When and if you have experience with children you may find out that they have other contacts, influences and role models than just their parents; think peers. Also you may find that children "following suit" based on parental example or best wishes may not occur according to plan.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:17 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by silk
How many of you that are on the simple side of life are married with kids?

With kids I had to bite the bullet and get a car....
Hardly surprising and certainly nothing that requires an apology to those who have no experience in raising children. It is just a matter of setting priorities and deciding where you place the welfare of your own children in your decision making process.
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Old 01-11-06, 09:42 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schiavonec
man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
- not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
- married
- with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
- business owners;
- pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
- caring for parents or elderly family members;
- property owners
- business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
- coaches for traveling sports
- dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.
People who live simple lifestyles let their values and frugal mentality shape their circumstances and surroundings rather than letting their circumstances and surroundings dictate their values.

Who told you you had to go out and start a career that demands you wear a suit five days a week or start your own business or buy a house or have a 50 pound dog for a pet? Were you coerced into marrying your spouse? Why didn't you find someone who shared your simple non-materialistic values? Since when does being a business traveler or a coach dictate that one must buy a 48" tv and have a two story house with an S.U.V. in the garage?

If you are someone who values "stuff", then by all means go out and get that high-paying job that requires a suit five days a week. Go out and marry Daddy's little princess/prince who always got whatever she/he wanted. Then you can move into the nicest house out in suburbia and be forever keeping up with the joneses.
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Old 01-11-06, 10:59 PM   #112
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I knew a parent would correct quickly, but all I am saying is that if you do not plan for a certain outcome then you will arrive at it.
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Old 01-12-06, 05:15 PM   #113
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i know some car-free parents who are doing just fine with their little ones; in fact, they all ride their bikes everywhere. cool.
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Old 01-14-06, 12:44 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by jamesdenver
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."
Great post - thanks James, I enjoyed the way you summed up some points I'd been chewing on in my mind whilst riding to work.
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Old 01-14-06, 11:03 AM   #115
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I don't know about you, but my blinkies have lasted 8 years now, have never broken, and are stilli on the original set of batteries.

8 years ago, I bought 3 vistalight clip-on led blinkies [one green, 2 red], and put duracell ultra batteries in all of them.

I cracked the plastic lenses, but some super glue fixed that.

Still work to this day. Well, they worked last night.
That's great...water and road vibration really vibrate those circuit boards....I think!
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Old 01-16-06, 03:50 PM   #116
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Thanks for all the great tips on books. I jsut finished Work Less Play more. And I am currently reading the John D Mcdonald book. I really liked both books Gave me lots of tips .
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Old 01-16-06, 07:59 PM   #117
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Hi, just wanting to subscribe to this interesting thread. I couldn't get the drop down menu to work.
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Old 01-16-06, 09:39 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
These are good points, and everything you mentioned would make it more difficult, maybe almost impossible, to be carfree.

BUT:

People who live without cars choose where they live with these issues in mind. We have learned to "think outside the cage," as I say in my sig, to solve these dilemnas. If they cannot be solved, buy a car if you must, then use it little as possible as you continue to search for better solutions.

Also, many of these issues would not have been problems 75 years ago, before we simultanously dismantled our public transit system and began the migration to the suburbs. Believe it or not, salesmen used to travel on trains and so did athletic teams. People had schools, stores and other needed services a couple blocks from their homes. and delivery servies were also more common.

Many carfree people are strong political advocates for better transit and more livable cities. Working to improve the infrastructure is just one more way to think outside the cage.

I suggest that you scroll through this forum to discover some of the creative solutions that we have come up with. We are starting to get a pretty good data base here that might be useful or interesting to you.

BTW, I was reminded that even in the 1960s, American family life was a lot simpler than it is now. We had one car, but school and youth activities were available in the neighborhood, and the soccer mom was definitely far in the future.

Good points, Roody. By the same token it was not some amorphous "we" that dismantled US public transit, - it was big business which did so (also it was the corporate State that created the suburbs by financing the highway system & subsidizing returning vets with home loans (Republican socialism & social engineering):

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2000/dem.../auto.history/

http://64.233.161.104/custom?q=cache...22360742341876
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Old 01-17-06, 06:56 AM   #119
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I wonder about the house-buying thing....

I've heard the house called "the ultimate possession"

My parents never owned a house. They rented a very small house in a rural area when I was growing up. I had miles of woods and fields to roam in, and my parents didn't seem unhappy that they didn't own the house. After my dad passed away, my mom wanted to move closer to town. She gave 30 days notice and moved out (I had moved out before then). So it never really occured to me that you had to own a house.

My BF & I live in a 1 br apt over a 4 car garage. It's pretty nice, not too expensive, close to places we need to go. Sometimes it would be nice to have a house with more room for the 9 bikes. But then we'd have to spend weekends working on the house and yard instead of hiking and biking. If something breaks in the apt, we call the landlord. He's pretty good about getting things fixed right away.

A good book I like is Work Less & Play More by Steve Catlin.
Surely you can see that buying a house or owning it outright is much less foolish than renting.
Only 2 percent of people own their homes outright,,,the ultimate in independance.
Working on the yard? mowing once a week and raking a couple times in the fall..big deal.
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Old 01-17-06, 10:04 AM   #120
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Surely you can see that buying a house or owning it outright is much less foolish than renting.
Only 2 percent of people own their homes outright,,,the ultimate in independance.
Working on the yard? mowing once a week and raking a couple times in the fall..big deal.
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I don't know. I've never been there.
Maybe the ultimate in independence is not owning a house. To some it may be.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:59 AM   #121
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The house idea is not a bad idea. But sometimes the upkeep is more than just mowing and raking some leaves. I live in the hurricane section of the country. I have been recovering and cleaning up from damage months later. I would think that the upkeep really depends on where you live and also the size of the property. The larger the yard the more the maintenance. ALso the more plants and grass area woudld also increase the amount of maintenance. So it depends I would still rather be biking and reading than mowing.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:35 PM   #122
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Again, the point the of living simply is not always about doing things that are the most financial advantageous, but doing those things that allow one to live a life where he or she enjoys the majority of his or her life without a lot of clutter, or a ton of things on the to-do lists. Why is a home the ultimate end all be all? Why not a brought condo, townhouse, apartment, or trailer home? They all meet the same need a place of residency, but each of them have variable amount of maintainence associated with it. I know right now it would foolish of my to get a house even through my current credit would allow me to afford it because I do not have enough time to maintain it. Shoot, I rarely have time to maintian my own room.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:00 PM   #123
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Contrary to what is "the American dream" and "the Canadian dream", there are pros and cons about owning a house, so it is not "foolish" to rent.

– "Money given to the landlord is money thrown away, whereas money spent to buy a house will give you a return on your investment". True, but all the money paid in interest charges and taxes is money thrown away. If you have a 25-year mortgage, you pay the price of your house in interest charges (depends on interest rates obviously). And assuming you had the cash to buy the house, that cash at the bank would pay you some interest.

– When you buy, you can change partitions, wall colours, landscaping, etc. Not as easy when you rent.

– When you rent, landlord does the repairs. Simple and sometimes efficient.

– You change jobs, have twins, children that move out, etc... when you rent, it's easier to move than when you own.

– Even in a condo or with a small house, there is more maintenance to do. And if you leave for extended holidays, you have to get someone to inspect once in a while. In an appartment building, it's "automatic".

– Getting many bikes into an appartment building may be problematic.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:04 PM   #124
af895
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Further, you can deduct rent from your income tax. (though you may be able to deduct your mortgage financing charges too - I don't know)
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Old 01-17-06, 09:56 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
Further, you can deduct rent from your income tax. (though you may be able to deduct your mortgage financing charges too - I don't know)
In the US, mortgage payments are typically tax-deductible (this is why it can be a good idea to refi a mortgage and include enough cash out to pay off cars, credit cards, etc. - you're still effectively making payments on all those separate loans, but it's now all one payment, and it's tax deductible).

But I've never heard of rent being tax-deductible - is this only Canada, or is it true in the US as well?
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