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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 01-30-13, 02:55 PM   #1
ilynne
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What does LCF allow you to do or purchase?

I wear "good" shoes (Fluevog, Frye, Keen, etc.). My family tends to respond with things like "It must be nice to be able to afford those. I'd NEVER spend that much for shoes when I can get them for $20 at Target." It IS nice -- I'm no Imelda, but when I need new boots, I buy good boots.

I have an iPhone and I have no problem with the expense. It is a very useful tool. I get a lot for the $80/month it costs me. Friends and family have said things like "Those things are WAY overpriced. I'd never pay that much for a phone."

I live in a much nicer neighborhood than I'd be able to if I owned a car. Average automobile costs are $10k/year. That pays a lot of rent.

I'm able to work less than full-time and still live well. I actually have time to have a life.

So what does your car-free or car-light life give you the freedom to do?
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Old 01-30-13, 03:11 PM   #2
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more and better beer?

oh yea and a really enormous rock for my sweetie. damned thing cost more than every one of my bikes, combined...and i have six bikes, none of which suck.
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Old 01-30-13, 03:12 PM   #3
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I think the obvious elephant in the room is bikes!

I get a similar response when people find out I spent a thousand dollars on my new Brompton... "wow, that's crazy expensive. I would never spend that much on a bike." I could have bought five Bromptons with the money from selling my car, and that's ignoring insurance/maintenance/fuel expenses.

Like you, I don't cheap out on things that matter to me. Footwear is something that I consider important, especially given the amount of walking I do. On the other hand, clothing I don't particularly care about, and I buy it mostly second hand or on sale. Everyone has the things that they consider "worth it".

I go to the grocery store at least 3-4 times a week, which enables me to have a constant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, I did this even when I had a car... it's easier to stop at the store on my way home from work than it is to go home, get the car, and go back.
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Old 01-30-13, 04:55 PM   #4
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...what does your car-free or car-light life give you the freedom to do?
Work less, play more. This is the goal for me. Not owning a car is a huge piece of the puzzle to that end.
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Old 01-30-13, 06:31 PM   #5
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I think the obvious elephant in the room is bikes!

I get a similar response when people find out I spent a thousand dollars on my new Brompton... "wow, that's crazy expensive. I would never spend that much on a bike." I could have bought five Bromptons with the money from selling my car, and that's ignoring insurance/maintenance/fuel expenses.
Ah yes, bikes. I spent $2k on a Retrovelo. It was a hell of a lot cheaper than a midlife crisis corvette. Many people think that I've spent crazy money on bikes -- I had a Raleigh SuperCourse mixte frame powder coated pink and built it with a NuVinci hub. I have about $5k total in 4 bikes (one is a $30 beater from Goodwill). Think about what a crap car $5k would get me. And then I still have to buy gas, tags, insurance... ugh!

Yep, you can have really awesome bicycles for a hell of a lot less than really crappy cars.

Last edited by ilynne; 01-30-13 at 06:34 PM. Reason: I forgot that you can't use potty words on bf.
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Old 01-30-13, 06:48 PM   #6
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Being car free(ok, car light; wifey owns a civic)
saves me enough money that I can travel to
places like the land of bicycles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPHI-JWj3Rw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi0156wPqe0
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Old 01-30-13, 07:09 PM   #7
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I am not a very materialistic person, even though I can afford to be one, if I wanted to. I only have few possesions of real value, I like to keep my life simple. I have few thousand dollars invested into my 3 bikes, also have lots of spare parts and my own tools. I am very picky about clothing and I like to wear expensive brand name athletic or outdoor clothing and shoes. Love outdoor gear and gadgets especially knives, have a nice collection of different blades.....also have my own excercise equipement at home, such as a barbell, kettlebells,gymnastic rings and few other things. A lot of my money which I save gets invested into stocks/mutual funds and retirement savings.

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Old 01-30-13, 07:41 PM   #8
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I am a graduate student. I am not car-free so that I can buy other expensive things. I am car-free so that I can go into debt less. Even if I was working I would probably life much the same way I do now, except maybe with higher quality food and a an extra night out or so per week....

When I used to work full time I saved the money for travel and ended up cycling across much of Asia. Way better than owning stuff.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/thecyclingvagabond
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Old 01-31-13, 03:53 PM   #9
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So what does your car-free or car-light life give you the freedom to do?
I certainly enjoy a meal out more often than my colleagues. I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner out without giving it a second thought.

I take a bus into Toronto on a whim, and take in the sights.

I buy clothes when I want to.

I am very social, so I like to do things outside the home. I think being car free makes doing little fun things easier.
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Old 01-31-13, 04:50 PM   #10
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I am a graduate student. I am not car-free so that I can buy other expensive things. I am car-free so that I can go into debt less. Even if I was working I would probably life much the same way I do now, except maybe with higher quality food and a an extra night out or so per week....

When I used to work full time I saved the money for travel and ended up cycling across much of Asia. Way better than owning stuff.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/thecyclingvagabond
Wow, quite the trip! I'll have to read and be jealous for a while...

I'm also a grad student, but in Canada we get paid for it. Where are you that you don't? I'm not sure I could handle 10 years of school without a stipend or scholarships here and there.

wolfchild: I've got to admit, your description of the things you own doesn't really support your statement of being non-materialistic...
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Old 01-31-13, 05:08 PM   #11
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When I used to work full time I saved the money for travel and ended up cycling across much of Asia. Way better than owning stuff.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/thecyclingvagabond
I use my car savings for travel too. Nice photos and narration. I got up to page 16 before I realized I should be doing some actual work on the PC. I shall continue at a later time.
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Old 01-31-13, 05:41 PM   #12
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Wow, quite the trip! I'll have to read and be jealous for a while...

I'm also a grad student, but in Canada we get paid for it. Where are you that you don't? I'm not sure I could handle 10 years of school without a stipend or scholarships here and there.

wolfchild: I've got to admit, your description of the things you own doesn't really support your statement of being non-materialistic...
I go to Michigan State and the funding in our department is pretty bad. I have a 1/4 TA ship which does cover my tuition but the stipend itself is less than $600 a month. Even though the cost of living in a small town in MI is low.... its not that low, so am still effectively forced to take out loans. Loands which are for profit by the way since graduate loans are not as regulated, the interest is set at 7.8% which is barley better than my credit card! I am hoping to receive external funding for school next year that will cover me better but you have to plan year to year because you never know what you will get.

The link I posted was just to my longest trip (that I wrote about). If you click on my name then my other journals will pop up with trips across other parts of Asia. Thanks for reading! I would like to turn all the journals into a kind of e-book one day but I havent had the free time to do it since starting school.
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Old 01-15-14, 03:36 AM   #13
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So what does your car-free or car-light life give you the freedom to do?
Travel!!
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Old 01-15-14, 04:49 AM   #14
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Retire at 40.
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Old 01-15-14, 08:45 AM   #15
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Living car free keeps me way more fit than my friends, so it actually allows me access to their girlfriends.

Joking, obviously. But since I am getting 12 times the exercise of my buddies, it means I can afford donuts, pizza, Wendy's burgers, and other yummy comfort food in moderation... without blowing up like Violet Beauregarde. The financial benefits I don't think I've ever sat down and thought about, but biking double digit miles a day allows me a guilt free Royale with cheese now and then when my pals are all worrying about getting fat.

Priceless.
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Old 01-15-14, 10:34 AM   #16
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I am a graduate student. I am not car-free so that I can buy other expensive things. I am car-free so that I can go into debt less.
I was car-free in college. At the graduation ceremony, I proudly wore a sticker on my mortarboard that said "Don't Laugh, It's Paid For".
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Old 01-15-14, 03:36 PM   #17
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Well, the last couple months it's allowed me to pay my unexpected $300 electric bills!
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Old 01-15-14, 03:40 PM   #18
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I was car-free in college. At the graduation ceremony, I proudly wore a sticker on my mortarboard that said "Don't Laugh, It's Paid For".

I love it!!
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Old 01-15-14, 04:02 PM   #19
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STD tests.
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Old 01-15-14, 06:11 PM   #20
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A lot of things have become possible for me because I haven't spent money on owning a car. I paid off all of my student loans in a year. I invested about one year's worth of income from my job in learning how to own and operate my own business. I've also given away about one year's worth of income to a program that helps people in Haiti learn more, earn more, and give back to their families and communities. I would like to see everyone have the choice and opportunity to give generously to causes that they care about.
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Old 01-15-14, 09:49 PM   #21
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I was the only person in my family of seven to actually buy a house thanks to being carfree. I like to spend money on public transit and it doesn't matter if it's bus, commuter rail, subway because this is the way I'll travel. I love food and eating out is pratically a daily affair so you won't see me consuming junk. I like subscriptions like Sirius Radio, Netflix, Aereo and Amazon but they have so much value. My bike collection is out of control but every other year I'll thin the herd.

I used to buy alot of clothes at one time but since three closets are filled, there's no more space! At this point, I'm tired of spending unless it's for the house, food or transit. I do help out other family members who are less fortunate.
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Old 01-17-14, 12:16 AM   #22
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I tend to think of the benefits more in terms of quality of life. Thanks to a car free/car lite lifestyle, I've been able to explore and really get to know the various places I've lived in the past decade. I've been able to find cool and interesting things, like secret paths, alleyway graffiti murals, and overgrown abandoned buildings. I've been at liberty to explore the bad neighborhoods as well as the good ones, thanks to being on a bike.

Financially, car independence is the only reason I can buy a house. Also, if I were spending $500 a month or whatever on a car, I'd have to put my student loans in forbearance...or quit my awesome job and retrain for a profession that actually pays well
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Old 01-17-14, 04:23 AM   #23
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Well, here's the short version after I couldn't post my first response.
I've been car free for over 14 years. I am debt free. I bank and invest over 1/2 of my monthly take home pay without fail.
I think society has everyone brainwashed into thinking smart phones are something they 'need' to have to get by. Ridiculous.
I know first-hand of people who can't make their rent money, owe thousands upon thousands of $$$s, but have tablets and cellphones like it's perfectly acceptable to piss upwards of $75+ a month to own a phone smarter than they are.
Being car free lets me blow big money on things like stereo gear and expensive bicycles. I take transit, walk or bike everywhere I go. It's easy since I live within a 45 minute walk to work door to door, and transit works really well where I live.

FM

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Old 01-17-14, 04:25 AM   #24
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I tend to think of the benefits more in terms of quality of life. Thanks to a car free/car lite lifestyle, I've been able to explore and really get to know the various places I've lived in the past decade. I've been able to find cool and interesting things, like secret paths, alleyway graffiti murals, and overgrown abandoned buildings. I've been at liberty to explore the bad neighborhoods as well as the good ones, thanks to being on a bike.

Financially, car independence is the only reason I can buy a house. Also, if I were spending $500 a month or whatever on a car, I'd have to put my student loans in forbearance...or quit my awesome job and retrain for a profession that actually pays well
Beautiful post! When somebody says the city I live in is "ugly" I just smile to myself because I know better. It's a beautiful place when you get off the main strips and slow down enough to see what's really there.
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Old 01-17-14, 08:31 AM   #25
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I think society has everyone brainwashed into thinking smart phones are something they 'need' to have to get by. Ridiculous.
I know first-hand of people who can't make their rent money, owe thousands upon thousands of $$$s, but have tablets and cellphones like it's perfectly acceptable to piss upwards of $75+ a month to own a phone smarter than they are.
I've been "Cable Free" for over 5 years and recently subscribed to Aereo so I can watch live television from local broadcasters. It amazed me how much "programming" is going on that I felt uncomfortable watching one commercial after another on cell phones and new cars. I was thinking of canceling Aereo because I don't want to be programmed into consumption again.
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