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?