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  1. #1
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    Living Simple Beyond Car Light/Free

    Do you or do you know anyone who lives simply?

    I'm interested in simplifying my life, but beyond only reducing my possessions to the bare essentials and being car light (unable to go car free at the moment) I'm looking for additional ideas/suggestions on simple living.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    You might enjoy the sticky thread about simple living here on the LCF forum. There are more than 1600 posts on it at this time.

    How simply do you live?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Do you or do you know anyone who lives simply?

    I'm interested in simplifying my life, but beyond only reducing my possessions to the bare essentials and being car light (unable to go car free at the moment) I'm looking for additional ideas/suggestions on simple living.
    Live in an RV. No need for insurance. Buy a piece of land to put it on and you don't have to deal with any landlord . . . except at tax time. Youtube is full of videos of people who have tried different methods of living simply and self-sufficiently. Just google "off grid" and then "RV," "tiny house," etc. to get ideas.

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    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Do you or do you know anyone who lives simply?

    I'm interested in simplifying my life, but beyond only reducing my possessions to the bare essentials and being car light (unable to go car free at the moment) I'm looking for additional ideas/suggestions on simple living.
    "Living Simply" has different meanings for different people. The details are up to you, I'm afraid. Myself, I'm interested in keeping things low-stress, trying keep my carbon footprint low, and in spending way less than I earn. On the other hand, I do want to have a good time and have a few nice things, too. So, without judging the choices of others, this is what I do:

    1. I keep my overhead very low. I live in a small, relatively low-cost condo with a 3.5% mortgage. (Where I live, paying a mortgage can actually be a lot less expensive than renting.) I don't own a car, I try to buy clothes in thrift stores (which is time consuming but often worth it), and I shop around like crazy for high-cost things like plane tickets and power tools. I used to have a sail boat, but I discovered that having friends with sailboats, and being very willing to help them out with maintenance, was a smarter option...

    2. I ride my bike or walk everywhere within 10 miles, which is almost all of my trips during the week. If it's more than ten miles, but still local, I take the bus or do car sharing. (Owning a car is of course necessary for a lot of people, but if you can get by without one, do it; those things can suck you dry faster than most people imagine.)

    3. I save money whenever possible. When I have a lot saved up, I invest it in stocks. Once I buy the stocks, I hold on to them forever. (i.e., I'm investing, not gambling.) I'm not talking real wealth here, but it's a whole lot easier to live simply and make good financial decisions if you're not on the verge of homelessness.

    4. I don't sweat the small stuff. I buy coffee at coffee shops on work days. I go out to eat. I drink expensive beer. I ride a really nice bicycle (but only one). Yes, it costs money to do these things, but not that much, and I enjoy them, and because I'm not paying a huge mortgage or ridiculous rent, or paying several hundred dollars a month to own and operate a car or truck, I can do them all and still save money, and not feel like I'm living the life of an ascetic.

    The bottom line for me is this: Spend less than you make. Do what you can to not destroy the planet. Have some fun.
    Last edited by bragi; 01-21-15 at 12:38 AM.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    , I invest it in stocks. Once I buy the stocks, I hold on to them forever. (i.e., I'm investing, not gambling.) I'm not talking real wealth here, but it's a whole lot easier to live simply and make good financial decisions if you're not on the verge of homelessness.

    Sounds like you need to pay a visit to skeptic-money.
    Assume nothing; Question everything

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    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Live in an RV. No need for insurance. Buy a piece of land to put it on and you don't have to deal with any landlord . . . except at tax time. Youtube is full of videos of people who have tried different methods of living simply and self-sufficiently. Just google "off grid" and then "RV," "tiny house," etc. to get ideas.
    How about a houseboat?

    This question just came to mind: does living simply necessarily imply living cheaply? For example, luxury RV vs camper top on a pick-up truck?

    Or, I ride an expensive road bike, that encourages cycling, and while likely more complicated than a simple so-called BSO (bicycle-shaped object), it keeps me driving less (living more simply).

    Basically, does more money make living simply easier and more enjoyable? My examples I guess make life more complex, but I think there must be a "lower limit" of tolerance for a simple lifestyle. Just sayin'.

    ADDENDUM: After posing my question I read this post; good, reasonable approach to the question:

    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    "Living Simply" has different meanings for different people. The details are up to you, I'm afraid. Myself, I'm interested in keeping things low-stress, trying keep my carbon footprint low, and in spending way less than I earn. On the other hand, I do want to have a good time and have a few nice things, too. So, without judging the choices of others, this is what I do:

    1. I keep my overhead very low…

    2. I ride my bike or walk everywhere within 10 miles…

    3. I save money whenever possible…

    4. I don't sweat the small stuff…

    The bottom line for me is this: Spend less than you make. Do what you can to not destroy the planet. Have some fun.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-21-15 at 07:59 AM. Reason: Added Addendum

  7. #7
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    "Living Simply" has different meanings for different people. The details are up to you, I'm afraid. Myself, I'm interested in keeping things low-stress, trying keep my carbon footprint low, and in spending way less than I earn. On the other hand, I do want to have a good time and have a few nice things, too. So, without judging the choices of others, this is what I do:

    The bottom line for me is this: Spend less than you make. Do what you can to not destroy the planet. Have some fun.
    Ive always lived this way. The biggest expense I've ever had is my $16,000 house in the country which I managed to pay cash for thanks to scrimping and saving. Dropped another $8-10k (somewhere around there) on repairs and updates. I planted a vegetable garden which tastes better than any produce bought in stores, raised chickens(to include 2 laying hens) for awhile, and get around mostly by bike. I swapped out the old oil furnace with a wood pellet stove, which is cheaper and IMO warmer than oil is. My next project is to install solar panels, but financing such an expense isn't something I'm fond of so that may take awhile. I have no debt, have a good paying job, work part time out of my garage as a shade-tree mechanic, I'd rather use cash over credit but when I use credit I pay it off immediately. I don't go to the gym, instead I've taken to free (or next to free) exercises such as jogging (not much of a runner), hiking, cycling, rowing (inherited a canoe from a late friend).

    I've always had a bad habit of buying CDs and DVDs faster than I could watch them, so I've got a lot of these things basically collecting dust in a spare room. I do listen/watch a lot of them, and since my internet isn't the greatest streaming on Netflix isn't an option, our public library & Redbox although would be convenient, has too limited of a selection (I enjoy the classics over newer blockbusters). I figure since I don't have a cable bill and rarely eat out/go to the theater anymore, I can afford a rare $5-10 DVD/Bluray here and there.

    Really there's nothing I canthink of that will simplify my life more. Grocery shop twice a month, I try to keep on budget so my monthly expenses don't exceed $500-not an easy task these days, especially with a car.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  8. #8
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    and since my internet isn't the greatest streaming on Netflix isn't an option, our public library & Redbox although would be convenient, has too limited of a selection (I enjoy the classics over newer blockbusters). I figure since I don't have a cable bill and rarely eat out/go to the theater anymore, I can afford a rare $5-10 DVD/Bluray here and there.
    Try Netflix DVD by mail service. They have tons of movie classics available, many with commentaries and other interesting extra features unavailable on streaming service. Turn around is quick, one day here. I mail DVD today, the next day Netflix receives it and puts another in the mail, day after that I receive I receive the next DVD in my queue.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Live in an RV. No need for insurance. Buy a piece of land to put it on and you don't have to deal with any landlord . . . except at tax time. Youtube is full of videos of people who have tried different methods of living simply and self-sufficiently. Just google "off grid" and then "RV," "tiny house," etc. to get ideas.
    And this is the issue. People might TRY different things and put them up on youtube as a solution to the world's problems, but do they SUSTAIN those ideas?

    Show me someone who has been living in an RV or a tiny house for 20 years, especially when there are children involved.

    I won't say you can't, but I doubt that you will.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    How about a houseboat?

    This question just came to mind: does living simply necessarily imply living cheaply? For example, luxury RV vs camper top on a pick-up truck?

    Or, I ride an expensive road bike, that encourages cycling, and while likely more complicated than a simple so-called BSO (bicycle-shaped object), it keeps me driving less (living more simply).

    Basically, does more money make living simply easier and more enjoyable? My examples I guess make life more complex, but I think there must be a "lower limit" of tolerance for a simple lifestyle. Just sayin'.
    The problem with expensive living is that it requires funding. Making more money is more complicated that making less. It's that simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    And this is the issue. People might TRY different things and put them up on youtube as a solution to the world's problems, but do they SUSTAIN those ideas?

    Show me someone who has been living in an RV or a tiny house for 20 years, especially when there are children involved.

    I won't say you can't, but I doubt that you will.
    Where credit is cheap, temptation is strong. A tiny house is a good start if you want to keep everything from the cost to maintenance and repairs within your own ability range. The bigger your house, the harder it is to build and maintain yourself. Some people could probably start with a tiny house and find they're so good at building, they could move on to build something several times larger and maintain it themselves. They might also want to build on additional tiny-houses and connect them to the first one as separate modules.

    The general idea of the tiny house or RV is that that you can probably afford to pay for it outright, which keeps you out of debt. Plus, since it's small, there's less trouble maintaining it. It simplifies your life if you don't like dealing with contractors, laborers, bankers, etc., etc. Just doing it yourself on your own terms makes for a great deal of simplicity.

  11. #11
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Ive always lived this way. The biggest expense I've ever had is my $16,000 house in the country which I managed to pay cash for thanks to scrimping and saving. Dropped another $8-10k (somewhere around there) on repairs and updates. I planted a vegetable garden which tastes better than any produce bought in stores, raised chickens(to include 2 laying hens) for awhile, and get around mostly by bike. I swapped out the old oil furnace with a wood pellet stove, which is cheaper and IMO warmer than oil is. My next project is to install solar panels, but financing such an expense isn't something I'm fond of so that may take awhile. I have no debt, have a good paying job, work part time out of my garage as a shade-tree mechanic, I'd rather use cash over credit but when I use credit I pay it off immediately. I don't go to the gym, instead I've taken to free (or next to free) exercises such as jogging (not much of a runner), hiking, cycling, rowing (inherited a canoe from a late friend).

    I've always had a bad habit of buying CDs and DVDs faster than I could watch them, so I've got a lot of these things basically collecting dust in a spare room. I do listen/watch a lot of them, and since my internet isn't the greatest streaming on Netflix isn't an option, our public library & Redbox although would be convenient, has too limited of a selection (I enjoy the classics over newer blockbusters). I figure since I don't have a cable bill and rarely eat out/go to the theater anymore, I can afford a rare $5-10 DVD/Bluray here and there.

    Really there's nothing I canthink of that will simplify my life more. Grocery shop twice a month, I try to keep on budget so my monthly expenses don't exceed $500-not an easy task these days, especially with a car.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Ive always lived this way. The biggest expense I've ever had is my $16,000 house in the country which I managed to pay cash for thanks to scrimping and saving. Dropped another $8-10k (somewhere around there) on repairs and updates. I planted a vegetable garden which tastes better than any produce bought in stores, raised chickens(to include 2 laying hens) for awhile, and get around mostly by bike. I swapped out the old oil furnace with a wood pellet stove, which is cheaper and IMO warmer than oil is. My next project is to install solar panels, but financing such an expense isn't something I'm fond of so that may take awhile. I have no debt, have a good paying job, work part time out of my garage as a shade-tree mechanic, I'd rather use cash over credit but when I use credit I pay it off immediately. I don't go to the gym, instead I've taken to free (or next to free) exercises such as jogging (not much of a runner), hiking, cycling, rowing (inherited a canoe from a late friend).

    I've always had a bad habit of buying CDs and DVDs faster than I could watch them, so I've got a lot of these things basically collecting dust in a spare room. I do listen/watch a lot of them, and since my internet isn't the greatest streaming on Netflix isn't an option, our public library & Redbox although would be convenient, has too limited of a selection (I enjoy the classics over newer blockbusters). I figure since I don't have a cable bill and rarely eat out/go to the theater anymore, I can afford a rare $5-10 DVD/Bluray here and there.

    Really there's nothing I canthink of that will simplify my life more. Grocery shop twice a month, I try to keep on budget so my monthly expenses don't exceed $500-not an easy task these days, especially with a car.
    Wow, that's pretty impressive. You make me feel like an amateur...
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  12. #12
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    4. I don't sweat the small stuff. I buy coffee at coffee shops on work days. I go out to eat. I drink expensive beer. I ride a really nice bicycle (but only one). Yes, it costs money to do these things, but not that much, and I enjoy them, and because I'm not paying a huge mortgage or ridiculous rent, or paying several hundred dollars a month to own and operate a car or truck, I can do them all and still save money, and not feel like I'm living the life of an ascetic.
    I always wonder if my vision of "simple living" might seem pretty misguided to my grandparents... if they were still alive. Sure, I'll ride a bike, but I also take airplane trips. I do several things (like take navy showers...) to save energy, but I use the clothes dryer when it's convenient.

    I've also noticed that simple living often means getting set up with an acre in the country. That usually means having a car. Frequently that might mean growing your own food... although there's a lot of evidence that this food is not very ecologically friendly (ie, you might have to travel 10 miles to pick up some organic fertilizer...)

    Sometimes I think doing your own thing, doing it efficiently and thoughtfully, avoiding the heap of mythology that is so conveniently packaged for us and having a bit of fun once in a while... that's where I'm headed. I don't know if it's living simply. Maybe not.

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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I always wonder if my vision of "simple living" might seem pretty misguided to my grandparents.
    I think that simple living boils down to figuring out what matters the most to you and focusing your time there. Less stuff is good, because stuff takes time so the less you have the more you can focus on what you want to do the most. But it also applies to anything else that takes time in your life, relationships, obligations etc.

    For me growing my own food would not be simple living. I prefer focus on other things than spending a lot of time growing food. I'm glad to have food available and quick to prepare. Living out in the country, while appealing wouldn't serve my needs well. I prefer a small apartment with landscaping done by the landlord so I don't have to think about it.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 01-21-15 at 10:17 PM.
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    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I always wonder if my vision of "simple living" might seem pretty misguided to my grandparents... if they were still alive. Sure, I'll ride a bike, but I also take airplane trips. I do several things (like take navy showers...) to save energy, but I use the clothes dryer when it's convenient.

    I've also noticed that simple living often means getting set up with an acre in the country. That usually means having a car. Frequently that might mean growing your own food... although there's a lot of evidence that this food is not very ecologically friendly (ie, you might have to travel 10 miles to pick up some organic fertilizer...)

    Sometimes I think doing your own thing, doing it efficiently and thoughtfully, avoiding the heap of mythology that is so conveniently packaged for us and having a bit of fun once in a while... that's where I'm headed. I don't know if it's living simply. Maybe not.
    I don't go out of my way to live as "Simply" as humanly possible; I just try to to live well within my means in as simple (small s) a way as possible, without getting all Mosquito Coast about it. Compared to most Americans, though, I think I live very simply indeed. I have a few friends and acquaintances who are penny-wise and pound-foolish to an astonishing degree. One very old friend will give me grief for my admittedly stupid $50/mo coffee shop habit, and say no to some dining-out suggestions on the grounds that it's too expensive, never once considering the fact that my total yearly coffee/IPA/going out to eat/book-buying/bike touring habits cost less than what his family pays for car insurance.
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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    I think that simple living boils down to figuring out what matters the most to you and focusing your time there. Less stuff is good, because stuff takes time so the less you have the more you can focus on what you want to do the most. But it also applies to anything else that takes time in your life, relationships, obligations etc.

    For me growing my own food would not be simple living. I prefer focus on other things than spending a lot of time growing food. I'm glad to have food available and quick to prepare. Living out in the country, while appealing wouldn't serve my needs well. I prefer a small apartment with landscaping done by the landlord so I don't have to think about it.
    I think this puts it well. I like Thoreau's phrasing of "live deliberately" better than simple living. It's worthwhile to spend some time and effort thinking about which possessions will make you happier in the long run.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    The problem with expensive living is that it requires funding. Making more money is more complicated that making less. It's that simple.

    Where credit is cheap, temptation is strong. A tiny house is a good start if you want to keep everything from the cost to maintenance and repairs within your own ability range. The bigger your house, the harder it is to build and maintain yourself…

    The general idea of the tiny house or RV is that that you can probably afford to pay for it outright, which keeps you out of debt. Plus, since it's small, there's less trouble maintaining it. It simplifies your life if you don't like dealing with contractors, laborers, bankers, etc., etc. Just doing it yourself on your own terms makes for a great deal of simplicity.
    On the other hand, not to sound greedy, I think making more money is more satisfying (and likely more interesting); and is not satisfaction a motivation / goal to live simply?

    For example, I have all my maintainence of my bike done and billed by my trusted, skilled mechanics, as I might have home repairs done by skilled craftsman, rather than myself, making my life simpler and saving time and energy to do what I enjoy and have an aptitude for, including making more more money, riding my bike, (unpaid) posting to Bike Forums, etc. (Paradoxically, I'm such a good customer, I think, that my mechanics do a lot of minor things gratis.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    ...For me growing my own food would not be simple living. I prefer focus on other things than spending a lot of time growing food. I'm glad to have [more expensive] food available and quick to prepare. Living out in the country, while appealing wouldn't serve my needs well. I prefer a small apartment with landscaping done by the landlord so I don't have to think about it.
    Of course, living within one’s means is a prudent practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    …This question just came to mind: does living simply necessarily imply living cheaply?…Basically, does more money make living simply easier and more enjoyable? My examples I guess make life more complex, but I think there must be a "lower limit" of tolerance for a simple lifestyle...

    After posing my question I read this post; good, reasonable approach to the question:

    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    "Living Simply" has different meanings for different people. The details are up to you, I'm afraid. Myself, I'm interested in …and spending way less than I earn. On the other hand, I do want to have a good time and have a few nice things, too…
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-22-15 at 07:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    On the other hand, not to sound greedy, I think making more money is more satisfying (and likely more interesting); and is not satisfaction a motivation / goal to live simply?
    It's not making more money to be satisfied that's the problem, it's the people who can't be satisfied without making more money who have trouble living simply. I know people who make under $20k/year who cannot be happy with their income because they can't understand how their costs of living are due to the complexity of their economic situation.

    Many think that renting an apartment simplifies their life but they don't seem to understand the social-economic relations between landlords, contractors, and laborers that keep their rent increasing. Instead of simplifying their lives by buying a small, inexpensive house to fix up or building a tiny house, or getting an RV, they fixate on complaining that they should be getting paid more - but they don't seem to understand that the low wage of their job is part of the same political-economy that keeps landlords, contractors, and laborers getting paid more than service personnel.

    Simplifying one's life is a way to get out of this nonsensical rat-race where most people really can't get ahead because doing so would involve changing social classes, which most people just can't do. If you want to go from being service personnel to being, say, a laborer, you have to compete in terms of skills with those who are already working in those capacities and many construction workers already feel like there is not enough work for too many people. There is an economic reason why such a large service sector has evolved and there are economic reasons why they don't get paid more than they do.

    Living simply is a way of being happy with relative social-economic immobility. You make lifestyle changes that save money and focus on being happy with the choices of having a cheaper place to live, doing more yourself instead of hiring professionals, riding a bike instead of driving.

    How much more complex is the economy because of all the people who are so desperate for money that they put social pressure on others to spend more to create more business revenues and jobs instead of accepting the need to save and simplify to escape this rat race where people are hired to pressure others into spending (and borrowing) money they'd be better off saving?

    For example, I have all my maintainence of my bike done and billed by my trusted, skilled mechanics, as I might have home repairs done by skilled craftsman, rather than myself, making my life simpler and saving time and energy to do what I enjoy and have an aptitude for, including making more more money, riding my bike, (unpaid) posting to Bike Forums, etc. (Paradoxically, I'm such a good customer, I think, that my mechanics do a lot of minor things gratis.)


    Of course, living within one’s means is a prudent practice.
    You may have the funding to pay others to do all these things for you now but you should realize that if you spend away all you have and are in a position to need to get new money by some other means, you may end up working for far less than these people you hire. Then they will be paying your manager to pay you minimum wage to fry their french fries for them. At that point, you can continue to smile and say your life is wonderfully simple because you're told exactly what to do for 40+ hours/week or you may look back and wished you had managed your money more wisely while you had the chance not to run out.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    It's not making more money to be satisfied that's the problem, it's the people who can't be satisfied without making more money who have trouble living simply. I know people who make under $20k/year who cannot be happy with their income because they can't understand how their costs of living are due to the complexity of their economic situation.
    I don’t think $20K per year is a happy income if it is to support a “complex economic situation."

    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Living simply is a way of being happy with relative social-economic immobility. You make lifestyle changes that save money and focus on being happy with the choices of having a cheaper place to live, doing more yourself instead of hiring professionals, riding a bike instead of driving…
    This sounds like adherence to a caste system rather than opportunity for “upward mobility” (but not necessarily away from simplicity as I have described).

    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    How much more complex is the economy because of all the people who are so desperate for money that they put social pressure on others to spend more to create more business revenues and jobs instead of accepting the need to save and simplify to escape this rat race where people are hired to pressure others into spending (and borrowing) money they'd be better off saving?
    Now this is IMO a nice description of consumerism (conspicuous consumption), I would consider the antithesis of simplicity.

    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    You may have the funding to pay others to do all these things for you now but you should realize that if you spend away all you have and are in a position to need to get new money by some other means, you may end up working for far less than these people you hire. Then they will be paying your manager to pay you minimum wage to fry their french fries for them. At that point, you can continue to smile and say your life is wonderfully simple because you're told exactly what to do for 40+ hours/week or you may look back and wished you had managed your money more wisely while you had the chance not to run out.
    Deciding what to do with one’s money is a matter of priorities; of what needs to be done, and how to accomplish it. For cycling, my priority would be safety and efficiency, better and more easily done by a hired mechanic, freeing me up to confidently ride my bike to work to enjoy the satisfaction of making money, to avoid being reduced to frying French fries; I don’t think I would be smiling.

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Do you or do you know anyone who lives simply?

    I'm interested in simplifying my life, but beyond only reducing my possessions to the bare essentials and being car light (unable to go car free at the moment) I'm looking for additional ideas/suggestions on simple living.
    "Simple Living" can best be summed up this way........."Spend less then you earn and save/invest the rest".

    Remember, no one needs all the stuff they spend/waste money on. No one..........
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    I don’t think $20K per year is a happy income if it is to support a “complex economic situation."
    You say it as if everyone has the choice to make more money than they do. If that's your income, you have the choice to get a car and struggle to keep up with the bills or get a bike and/or a bus pass. You can struggle to pay the rent and not get evicted or yelled at by the landlord or you could get an RV or tiny house and only have to make sure to pay the taxes and utilities.

    This sounds like adherence to a caste system rather than opportunity for “upward mobility” (but not necessarily away from simplicity as I have described).
    Call it "class" or "caste" and argue over the technicalities of potential vs. probably mobility, but the simple fact is that a large number of people are going to work in service jobs and get paid less than landlords, skilled workers who get paid to maintain and manage their apartment, etc. so they can either try to keep up with the economic complexity of outsourcing everything or attempt to insource and simplify what they can, and save some of their meager income instead of giving it all away to people who take more than they pay back in return.

    Deciding what to do with one’s money is a matter of priorities; of what needs to be done, and how to accomplish it. For cycling, my priority would be safety and efficiency, better and more easily done by a hired mechanic, freeing me up to confidently ride my bike to work to enjoy the satisfaction of making money, to avoid being reduced to frying French fries; I don’t think I would be smiling.
    There's satisfaction in making money when you are making it. When you're not, there's satisfaction in losing it slower. There's even satisfaction in losing it slower when you are making it because it means you can stave off desperation that much longer if something happens to your income and you can't replace it with a new income source for who knows how long.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    And this is the issue. People might TRY different things and put them up on youtube as a solution to the world's problems, but do they SUSTAIN those ideas?

    Show me someone who has been living in an RV or a tiny house for 20 years, especially when there are children involved.

    I won't say you can't, but I doubt that you will.
    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Where credit is cheap, temptation is strong. A tiny house is a good start if you want to keep everything from the cost to maintenance and repairs within your own ability range. The bigger your house, the harder it is to build and maintain yourself. Some people could probably start with a tiny house and find they're so good at building, they could move on to build something several times larger and maintain it themselves. They might also want to build on additional tiny-houses and connect them to the first one as separate modules.

    The general idea of the tiny house or RV is that that you can probably afford to pay for it outright, which keeps you out of debt. Plus, since it's small, there's less trouble maintaining it. It simplifies your life if you don't like dealing with contractors, laborers, bankers, etc., etc. Just doing it yourself on your own terms makes for a great deal of simplicity.
    Are you a politician?

    You typed a lot of words, but didn't come close to answering Rowan's question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Are you a politician?

    You typed a lot of words, but didn't come close to answering Rowan's question.
    I said, "where credit is cheap, temptation is strong," meaning that people struggle with innovative solutions and then look around at all the other people who have given in to the temptation of buying an easy fix with cheap credit and many give in and take the same route. It's like repairing and tuning up and old bike for $100 but seeing all your friends buy new bikes with their credit card so you break down and get the shiny new bike and ditch your old one to avoid getting your hands greasy.

    You could ask, "how many people are happy maintaining an old bike for 20 years by reference to the number of people who get a shiny new one on credit and keep their hands clean BUT that would be ignoring all the misery people go through because they're in debt. It's easy to separate happiness with purchases from the misery of debt but in reality they are two sides of the same coin.

    That was my answer to Rowan's question: that many people may try living in a tiny house or RV and then give up and go into debt or pay rent to live more mainstream, but are they really happier or did they just re-indenture themselves to a rat-race where their participation is driven by their debt?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    And this is the issue. People might TRY different things and put them up on youtube as a solution to the world's problems, but do they SUSTAIN those ideas?

    Show me someone who has been living in an RV or a tiny house for 20 years, especially when there are children involved.

    I won't say you can't, but I doubt that you will.
    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    I said, "where credit is cheap, temptation is strong," meaning that people struggle with innovative solutions and then look around at all the other people who have given in to the temptation of buying an easy fix with cheap credit and many give in and take the same route. It's like repairing and tuning up and old bike for $100 but seeing all your friends buy new bikes with their credit card so you break down and get the shiny new bike and ditch your old one to avoid getting your hands greasy.

    You could ask, "how many people are happy maintaining an old bike for 20 years by reference to the number of people who get a shiny new one on credit and keep their hands clean BUT that would be ignoring all the misery people go through because they're in debt. It's easy to separate happiness with purchases from the misery of debt but in reality they are two sides of the same coin.

    That was my answer to Rowan's question: that many people may try living in a tiny house or RV and then give up and go into debt or pay rent to live more mainstream, but are they really happier or did they just re-indenture themselves to a rat-race where their participation is driven by their debt?
    More "politician" talk.

    So ... I guess you are unable to answer Rowan's question then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    More "politician" talk.

    So ... I guess you are unable to answer Rowan's question then?
    I can't understand how you think I'm not answering Rowan's question. I completely explicated the answer in my last post response.

    What kind of answer do you expect? I can't tell if you just can't connect my response to his question logically and so you dismiss it as "politician talk" or whether you understand what I'm saying but you think he's asking something different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    And this is the issue. People might TRY different things and put them up on youtube as a solution to the world's problems, but do they SUSTAIN those ideas?

    Show me someone who has been living in an RV or a tiny house for 20 years, especially when there are children involved.

    I won't say you can't, but I doubt that you will.
    Some do, some don't. Cheap RV Living.com-Home is full of tales about people who have been vehicle-dwelling long term. Or short.

    If someone is living off-grid successfully, long-term, how would you know about it if they are not trumpeting their lifestyle? Is trumpeting a simple living lifestyle part of living simply...?

    The Tiny House movement is just really getting going. Long term? Who knows.

    You mention children, but most live without previous to and after they leave.

    Most retirees on fixed income are living pretty simple, but apparently if it is forced rather than by choice, it doesn't count?

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