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How I Live Above My Means

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How I Live Above My Means

Old 10-27-11, 12:00 PM
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KonAaron Snake 
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How I Live Above My Means

http://lifehacker.com/5848665/the-tr...t-of-commuting

Just for starters, this article is flawed...the main issue is that it doesn't account for the added cost of living in most urban environments, the higher housing/rent and, most importantly if you have kids, the added cost for schooling if you don't want to send your child into an urban POW camp. It might be that cities like NYC, which have viable public education, can dismiss this, but in Philly I would not be able to do the math without adding a private school to the numbers.

Now that we've got that out of the way, I don't have kids (that I know of) and the commute savings is how I live above my means. It really does work - I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but IF you're able to do it (and most can't), there are amazing benefits.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:02 PM
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I just stay broke and drunk, and never notice.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I just stay broke and drunk, and never notice.

Amen, brother.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:16 PM
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I can't believe how many people buy new cars every few years.. like they are obligated to do so because its expected of them by the neighbors/family/coworkers/whoever. I mean I've know of a few wealthy folks who drive old cars not worth much, but its the rare exception.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:23 PM
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My parents, middle class suburbanites, followed the beater car model. They'd buy 15 year old cars for $1000, expect to put in a few hundred a year, and get 5 years or so out of them until they moved on to the next one. It seemed to work for them.

My wife bought a new VW Diesel Jetta in 2005 (her first car) for 20+ grand. Engine died last week - 3000ish for a used 100k engine. New cars make NO sense - especially living in the city where you're forever banging up the body, flatting tires, etc.

I follow the short bike commute model in the article. There are not many times I need a car at all...and if I do, it's cheaper to rent every now and then.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:26 PM
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I work at the Memphis airport. I'd like to see this guy move within a couple miles of my workplace. We could take bets on how many days he would survive. Hours, if he rides his bike to work.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:35 PM
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Buying a new car is the single worst investment ever. Backed up by just about every celebrated financial advisor.
If you live in an urban environment, and can manage to go car-less, it's worth it!
We have friends here that moved back to the 'States from Europe. They decided on owning one car because the husband's work is but 3 miles round trip commute. He bikes. Wife must commute by car to work. Their savings are significant. And he loves that he gets to start and end his work days on his bike.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:39 PM
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My wife was lucky enough to get a job 3 blocks from where we live. We have saved thousands since her job change even though she makes a couple of thousand less a year. We could save even more if I could get the stones to bike my 18 mile commute at 4:00 AM.
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Old 10-27-11, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by riva View Post
I can't believe how many people buy new cars every few years.. like they are obligated to do so because its expected of them by the neighbors/family/coworkers/whoever. I mean I've know of a few wealthy folks who drive old cars not worth much, but its the rare exception.
Average mileage of cars in my family is well over 100k miles. Mine is the "newest" at 70k. Cars are so much more durable than they used to be, especially with proactive maintenance. We tend to buy new cars, but then we drie them into the ground.
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Old 10-27-11, 01:39 PM
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I was driving my old beater (200k mi) Mercedes that probably gets 12mpg on my stop 'n go 30mph no-highway commute. Then I started driving my daughter's old Neon. Man, 30mpg was a lot nicer on the wallet. So after I sold that - I bought a 90-100mpg 125cc scooter. So now my weekly fillups cost $4.25, my insurance is $99 every 6 months, and as a bonus my wife thinks I'm a complete dork, especially when I've strapped my bicycle to it, too.
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Old 10-27-11, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Now that we've got that out of the way, I don't have kids (that I know of) and the commute savings is how I live above my means. It really does work - I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but IF you're able to do it (and most can't), there are amazing benefits.
Given I drive between 75 and 125 miles a day between 2-5 clients a day I'm out of the commuting game, short of getting a new job. Though I would switch jobs if the financials worked out even and allowed me to commute. I'd do 20mi one way.

However, in the spring, I'm committing myself to doing things like going grocery shopping and the like via the bike. I just need to watch eBay for some cheap grocery panniers over the winter!

Unfortunately, a long bike commute here in the MN winter probably is an awful thing. Not bad in the urban core maybe but from the burbs in it'd have to be a bear.

Last edited by khatfull; 10-27-11 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 10-27-11, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I was driving my old beater (200k mi) Mercedes that probably gets 12mpg on my stop 'n go 30mph no-highway commute. Then I started driving my daughter's old Neon. Man, 30mpg was a lot nicer on the wallet. So after I sold that - I bought a 90-100mpg 125cc scooter. So now my weekly fillups cost $4.25, my insurance is $99 every 6 months, and as a bonus my wife thinks I'm a complete dork, especially when I've strapped my bicycle to it, too.
but now you pollute way more
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Old 10-27-11, 02:00 PM
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I hope no one is taking this as a self righteous preaching post; it is not meant to be anything other than an interesting, but flawed, argument/article and personal experience for those that are able to do it. I fully understand many/most can't and I am not judging anyone's choices. All decisions have pluses and minuses...I'd never dream of suggesting the balance I've chosen is better or more valid for someone else.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:02 PM
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Yep, cars are expensive. Gas, insurance, maintenance, tickets, parking... Whether or not you need one definitely depends on the person. I think most people would be better off not owning a car but there are many things about U.S. infrastructure and culture that makes it difficult.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
My parents, middle class suburbanites, followed the beater car model. They'd buy 15 year old cars for $1000, expect to put in a few hundred a year, and get 5 years or so out of them until they moved on to the next one. It seemed to work for them.
My father taught me this as well, always reiterating that "Cars are the biggest waste of money on the planet". He worked in the auto insurance industry for 40 years. He would buy old Volvos for $100 to $500, give my sister and I each one to drive into the ground and then re-sell them for $1000 each. Volvos, I tell ya, invest in old Volvos.

I sold my car 4 years ago and haven't once regretted it. The day I sold it, gas was $1.36 a litre.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by riva View Post
I can't believe how many people buy new cars every few years.. like they are obligated to do so because its expected of them by the neighbors/family/coworkers/whoever. I mean I've know of a few wealthy folks who drive old cars not worth much, but its the rare exception.
+100 My last new car was a 1981 Toyota. My current car is a rebuilt total (branded title). I've had it for 9 years, I've put about 100K miles on it.

Staying on topic of the bicycle forum, my last new bicycle was bought in 1975 (a UO8).

I don't live above my means. Instead, my focus for many years has been to maintain my standard of living, while REDUCING my cost of living. So living just as well (or better) for less has been the objective for many years.

Last edited by wrk101; 10-27-11 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
Yep, cars are expensive. Gas, insurance, maintenance, tickets, parking... Whether or not you need one definitely depends on the person. I think most people would be better off not owning a car but there are many things about U.S. infrastructure and culture that makes it difficult.
+100
Suburban sprawl being one of them. And the motto "bigger is better" another.

I don't think anyone will take it wrong. I happen to love car culture, but understand they are a necessary evil as well.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:42 PM
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Wish I could commute by bike - could have until 1999, when I was made redundant and was lucky enough to get immediate interesting and fulfilling employment in a new career 55 miles away by bike, 48 miles by motorway. I also have to make journeys during the day, so I'm stuck with the car. Moving house closer to work is not an option for a number of reasons.

My wife needs a car for when I'm at work as she has to be able to take her 86 year old mother out, so that's one more. My eldest son lives in London during the week (1 and 1/2 hour drive away), but at least he commutes 8 miles per day to work and back on his bike - and loves it, but had one bike stolen during the day despite an ABUS lock, one goes every 90 seconds in London. He drives home at weekends to stay with us, see his friends here in Kent and probably most importantly, to bring his washing and ironing here for his Mum to do! My youngest son has just got a job in Oxfordshire and we found him a house to rent. He was keen to commute by bike but having seen the roads he'd have to use and the antics of the drivers to use them I really don't feel it is safe.

When I started longer distance commuting in 1999, I had my car converted to LPG. It paid for itself in 6 months also the hydrocarbon emissions are 1,000 times less than unleaded petrol When that was wrecked in an accident in 2005 I bought another LPG converted car, nearly new but am now having to replace it after the last two years of expensive engine repairs/replacements the drive train computer is now faulty and it's not worth the cost of repair. I'm buying a used Turbo diesel version of the same car and with 55mpg the fuel cost is the same as the LPG model. I've done a deal (buy one get one free) and the free car is another used, factory LPG converted model for my youngest son, so reduced emissions and cheaper fuel costs are going to help his commute. My wife's car is a Toyota Aygo which gives 61mpg on unleaded and is low on emissions.

We really are trying to reduce our costs and environmental impact, but the honest truth is that with modern life and working styles, we rely on our cars and are forced to use them to commute at least some of the time. Public transport here is horrendously expensive, unreliable and uncomfortably crowded and many of us have to transport a fair amount of equipment and protective clothing to work. Sadly even where the distance makes commuting by bike possible, often the road conditions and traffic created by others having to commute by car, prevents it. With the UK population predicted to reach 70 million soon, partly as a result of uncontrolled immigration since 1997, I wonder if the future will be totally grid locked roads that will compel us all to go to work by bicycle or public transport? With petrol at over £6 per imperial gallon, diesel slightly more and LPG at around £3.50 the financial imperative already exists. Or will the recession reduce the number of people who have jobs to go to, to a level that the roads can handle? I've no idea but the future doesn't look that encouraging at present.

That's my experience and situation. While I'd love to be able to avoid driving, like many other people I find that for me it's not a viable plan. However much it costs and however long it takes, the alternative would be to be unable to provide for my family.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:46 PM
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I have cars. I commute when I can (kids school and activities complicates commuting during the school year). I subscribe to the get the car, maintain it and run it for a long time mode. As for new or used..... I have really had mixed results..... My personal ride is 97 bmw 328 with 75k on it...got it used with 37k and have had no more than normal issues for that car. Have had bad results with a low milage Toyota Landcruiser.....as best I can tell it was regularly serviced and started to have problems at 45 k miles. Similar with a Ford exploreer.

So unless I find a used car that I can really check the service on. My tendency is to buy new becuase you know it has been serviced right from day one. The depreciation cost can be made up in less maintenance costs down the line.

ymmv

Commuting when i can has way more benefits than $$ The most important is get in energized and ready to conquer the world. And strangly enough, when I commute my weight starts dropping.
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Old 10-27-11, 02:52 PM
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I moved to an area of town where I can walk/ride to food/groceries and even some meager shopping if I want to. More often than not, my truck stays parked for extended periods of time, as I'll gravitate to the local places. However, if I were to live near my work, I couldn't ride/walk to any of the above. My office is moving in a month, so I will be ~10 miles from my new office, and I plan on riding in, I just have to get up an hour earlier.

Edit - Just checked the map-10.1 miles by bike. 1 hour (I find that google maps underestimates the biking speed), 25 minutes by vehicle.

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Old 10-27-11, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I was driving my old beater (200k mi) Mercedes that probably gets 12mpg on my stop 'n go 30mph no-highway commute. Then I started driving my daughter's old Neon. Man, 30mpg was a lot nicer on the wallet. So after I sold that - I bought a 90-100mpg 125cc scooter. So now my weekly fillups cost $4.25, my insurance is $99 every 6 months, and as a bonus my wife thinks I'm a complete dork, especially when I've strapped my bicycle to it, too.
Ok, I have seen this done once, and it looked very precarious... my husband and I both have scooters, and I have yet to figure out how to carry my bicycle with it. Any tips?

Oh and to further this discussion, our scooters are worth more than our car (a 1990 honda civic with 180K+ miles), but cheaper to insure, and a lot cheaper to gas up.

I still mostly ride my bicycle though as the majority of my trips are no longer than 3-4 miles, and parking is never a problem with the bicycle.
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Old 10-27-11, 03:05 PM
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I can't imagine life without a car.

I have had wanderlust since an early age.... I just gotta see what's over the horizon, down the next road, behind the next hill, on the other side of the river. I LOVE to drive. I satisfies a deep seated itch that can't be scratched any other way. I get to choose when to go, where to go, and how to get there.

A perfect vacation for me is striking out into unfamiliar territory, and meandering around seeing interesting things and meeting interesting people.

For me, life would suck without car at my disposal. Too many places to go, too many things to see.
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Old 10-27-11, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
I can't imagine life without a car.

I have had wanderlust since an early age.... I just gotta see what's over the horizon, down the next road, behind the next hill, on the other side of the river. I LOVE to drive. I satisfies a deep seated itch that can't be scratched any other way. I get to choose when to go, where to go, and how to get there.

A perfect vacation for me is striking out into unfamiliar territory, and meandering around seeing interesting things and meeting interesting people.

For me, life would suck without car at my disposal. Too many places to go, too many things to see.
i agree with all of this as long as you replace car with bicycle.
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Old 10-27-11, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by alr View Post
Ok, I have seen this done once, and it looked very precarious... my husband and I both have scooters, and I have yet to figure out how to carry my bicycle with it. Any tips?
I don't have any pics yet, but it's based on a Carver SurfRack. (Pic is link to Carver's site)

I have the front fork clamped at the rear j-hook, and the back wheel is tied down to the front j-hook. I carry the front wheel next to the clamped frame using the cords.
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Old 10-27-11, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by -holiday76 View Post
i agree with all of this as long as you replace car with bicycle.
Fine in concept, far too limiting in practice.

Besides - a lot of the fun of driving is hearing the ponies rumbling and snapping through a crisp gearbox.
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