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How simply do you live?

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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.

How simply do you live?

Old 04-16-08, 11:17 PM
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hey apollo! thanks for the tips. this is exactly the kind of starter guide i was looking for. i'm gathering friends for my first dumpster dive. i've got a trader joe's and a whole foods scoped out. i'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 04-16-08, 11:47 PM
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People act like dumpster diving is all about getting hepatitis from eating half-eaten Big Macs -it's not. Grocery stores throw away a lot of food. Also, depending on who you ask, it's no less ridiculous or unseemly for an adult to ride a bicycle everywhere he goes.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:28 AM
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Hands down my favorite forum and thread on the bikeforums... Even if I am mostly a lurker lol!

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Old 04-17-08, 04:31 PM
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My friend gets tons of produce for his tortoises. He went to a local produce stand. He asked if they had any stuff they were throwing out. He came back out with three boxes of lettuce all different kinds. A huge flat of Mushrooms and a bag of fruit. HE paid nothing. And the tortoises got a very healthy week of food.
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Old 04-17-08, 05:18 PM
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Hands down my favorite forum and thread on the bikeforums... Even if I am mostly a lurker lol!

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Old 04-22-08, 03:30 AM
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Interesting thread - my fiancee & I have long been talking about how we have far too much stuff, now we are motivated to do something about it. I would love to go car-free one day, but it's a bit more difficult in the Midwest than along the Northeast Corridor (when you're surrounded by farmland, they just keep building out.) Plus, my fitness level needs to come up quite a bit before that's viable .

As far as dumpster diving - I don't do it personally (I'm a bit of a "germ freak"), but I used to have a job delivering to grocery stores. When a product is expired, the store usually pulls it off the shelves and puts it in the "back room" to be returned to the delivery man / distributor for a partial credit. 99% of the time, the delivery man just needs a count of the items, or the UPC code - often, they will just tear off the UPC code and chuck the items in the store's dumpster. I used to see quite a few people dumpster diving (often with the manager's blessing) and it wasn't unusual for them to pull out loads of canned goods, prepackaged coffee cakes/donuts, bread, etc. that were just one day past the expiration date - the cans/boxes were still sealed, just the UPC code was missing. Unless the manufacturer's have found a way to make the food magically turn rancid on midnight of the expiration date, that stuff is perfectly edible if the packaging isn't compromised. Meat & produce are a bit trickier, but I know people who've done it - one tip is to look for large bags of produce (it's not unusual to find a whole large bag of oranges/apples/onions/potatoes/etc. that was thrown out because just one of them got squished). It's not for me, but I do agree that this country wastes a ton of food that could easily go to people who need it...
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Old 04-24-08, 10:57 AM
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let's see....I'm vegan and I don't drink or smoke. I have a lot of crap that I don't need right now, however. This post has inspired me so I'm probably going to go home and get rid of a lot of it. I recently cleaned out my closet and I'm down to two pairs of pants and a few shirts. I'm still working on going car-free, I'm not yet at the fitness level to ride 16 miles out to the barn every day.

and all of my food comes out of dumpsters. if I can't eat it it goes to the food not bombs my friends and i run.
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Old 04-27-08, 01:43 PM
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Well, this thread is certainly a hit to my superiority complex. I'm supposed to be the one who lives with less than everyone else, dammit! (okay, I need to work on the serenity thing just a little bit...)

Everything I own can fit into a small studio apartment, but just barely. Most of what I own was found when students at local colleges decided to toss away perfectly good stuff. I rummage through the trash, load the best stuff up and take most of it to donate to the Lupus foundation. A few things I keep for myself in exchange for the effort. However, even if I don't use something regularly I tend to keep it around, so I get a good bit of clutter including an overly full closet and a ton of books.

It's really good to see that other people do better than I do, and somewhat inspiring.
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Old 04-29-08, 05:52 AM
  #434  
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Originally Posted by bokes
I own clothes, a few bikes, camping equipment, skis, bed, chair, kitchen stuff, laptop, projector (for dvds), a guitar, tools, and that's about it. I just rent furnished flats, or borrow excess furniture from my family.

I have a passion for adventure, travel, languages, and have a ton of hobbies, so 10 years ago when i graduated from Uni i decided to work a year, take a year off, work a year, take year off... at the expense of buying a nice house, kids, car, and lots of stuff.

I've had an incredible time but i always feel like i'm fighting the expectations of society that view me as an underachiever. But I always tell myself that if i were to die tomorrow, i'd be much happier than if i had climbed the corporate ladder.
this post really spoke to me, having taken the corporate ladder route and did the house and car, not the kids yet. I'm now 30 and these things in the end did not make me happy and looking back, it was all meaningless.

i have now sold my house, living "home-free" for almost a year and soon to be car-free. sold most my possessions or gave them away, i still have my corporate job which pays well over 6 figures. but without home, car and possessions, just a bike, clothes and a laptop/cell and corporate gym membership for hot showers, my expenses are under 20.00 a day, mainly for food. i feel free, out of the rat race and also not have huge chunks of my earnings go out to bills. I plan to just save and maybe just retire in 5 to 10 years, travel the world, hardest part is leaving such a high paying job. it is my current dilemma. i dont know if i will be able to do it when the time comes and it is the last "trap" i feel i am a slave to.

amazing thread by the way.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:15 PM
  #435  
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im 16 and my dream is to live this way: out of a backpack. it might sound kind of dorky, but right now, in my english class, we're reading "into the wild" and it is just so inspiring, the way a 19 year old just hitchhikes around the US for about 2 years. i really hope that after college, i will have the ability to live like this.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Street rider
im 16 and my dream is to live this way: out of a backpack. it might sound kind of dorky, but right now, in my english class, we're reading "into the wild" and it is just so inspiring, the way a 19 year old just hitchhikes around the US for about 2 years. i really hope that after college, i will have the ability to live like this.
My knowledge is way out of date, but I think college is an excellent opportunity to travel light and live simply. The main thing is to avoid supporting a car. Hit the books hard, find entertainment on campus, keep expenses as low as possible. Look for opportunities to enroll in summer sessions at other colleges or participate in summer academic programs. Hang around the lesser known departments which are always trying to recruit new majors, they may be able to scare up some funding if they like you. Travel. Bike around. Write.
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Old 05-07-08, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Street rider
im 16 and my dream is to live this way: out of a backpack. it might sound kind of dorky, but right now, in my english class, we're reading "into the wild" and it is just so inspiring, the way a 19 year old just hitchhikes around the US for about 2 years. i really hope that after college, i will have the ability to live like this.
I hitchhiked all over the US and a little in Europe while I was still a teenager. It was awesome!

However, that was 35 years ago. Nowadays, people are very reluctant to pick up hitchhikers. You might be better off traveling on a bike rather than hitchhiking. Just a suggestion.

Another suggestion is not to wait until after college. Take your summers off, or even a whole year off, and do some travelling before then. You'll probably get more out of college if you have some traveling under your belt.
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Old 05-07-08, 12:25 PM
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Well let's see, back in 1999 I moved to my 20 acres in south-central Kentucky. I'm not connected to any public utilities, I heat and cook with wood, grow alot of my own food and ride either my mountain bike or the recumbent trike that I built myself for my transportation. Life's good when it's kept simple! If I can figure out how to post pics of my trike I'll do it.
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Old 05-07-08, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by recumbentrike2
Well let's see, back in 1999 I moved to my 20 acres in south-central Kentucky. I'm not connected to any public utilities, I heat and cook with wood, grow alot of my own food and ride either my mountain bike or the recumbent trike that I built myself for my transportation. Life's good when it's kept simple! If I can figure out how to post pics of my trike I'll do it.
Go to https://photobucket.com/ and sign up for a free account. Then we can talk you through the process of posting pics.
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Old 05-07-08, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
I hitchhiked all over the US and a little in Europe while I was still a teenager. It was awesome!

However, that was 35 years ago. Nowadays, people are very reluctant to pick up hitchhikers. You might be better off traveling on a bike rather than hitchhiking. Just a suggestion.

Another suggestion is not to wait until after college. Take your summers off, or even a whole year off, and do some travelling before then. You'll probably get more out of college if you have some traveling under your belt.
One way to travel that's safe and feasible for a 16 year old is to spend a summer elsewhere with relatives. They might be able to help find a summer job, too. Nothing for parents to worry about, little if any cost for traveling, guaranteed comfortable accommodations, gets you out of the house. Be sure to take your bike!
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Old 05-15-08, 04:35 PM
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OK, time for my story.

I live in a two bedroom apartment with two other people (a friend from college and his girlfriend), which works out to just a little over $210 per month each in rent (before utilities, of course, which works out to maybe another $35-$50 per month each if it's not winter). Not bad for being in a safe neighborhood that's 15 minutes away by bike from downtown Chicago. I have either built my furniture or scrounged it up from the basements of my relatives. I don't own or drive a car. I haven't purchased a drop of gasoline in maybe seven months, and I spent less than $100 on gas in 2007. I try not to ride the "El" of the bus, but I usually do maybe once a week ($2 per ride). I work as an administrative assistant at a nonprofit organization based out of the University of Chicago; it is not a good job (lots of silly intra-office drama and patronage, pay is crap), but it does provide health insurance and I'd rather do this than work anywhere in Corporate America. And I've only been out of university for 1.5 years, so I can always go back to grad school or something. While I'm not opposed to dumpster diving, it is something I only do rarely, and mainly just for bread and stuff like that. I spend maybe $10-$15 on food per day, and maybe around $70 per week on entertainment (going to the bar, concerts, etc.). I have a crappy 25-year-old TV with rabbit ears just to watch PBS and The Simpsons. Not too many major possessions: a 2004 Fender Stratocaster, a late-'90s Seagull "Coastline Series" Dreadnought acoustic guitar, a few computers, an old Technics turntable and records, a few bikes, lots and lots of books, and that's about all.

I'm pretty happy with my simple lifestyle, though my family sometimes thinks I'm insane for avoiding the "brass ring" like the plague. Soon I will partially parlay my savings into German language classes in preparation for another long trip to Europe (it will be my second since finishing school) and perhaps moving to Germany to teach English. Or maybe I will do Peace Corps... I don't know yet...
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Old 05-15-08, 04:45 PM
  #442  
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I cannot live without books. ($1)
I also cannot live without wine.
I refuse to live without medjool dates.
Life without many varieties of quality cheese from around the world is meaningless.

I guess I don't live as simply as it might appear...
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Old 05-16-08, 08:39 AM
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"Life without many varieties of quality cheese from around the world is meaningless."

Hahaha FTW + 1,000

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Old 05-16-08, 09:04 AM
  #444  
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Originally Posted by bkrownd
I cannot live without books. ($1)
I also cannot live without wine.
I refuse to live without medjool dates.
Life without many varieties of quality cheese from around the world is meaningless.

I guess I don't live as simply as it might appear...

I agree with this short list of absolute necessities but must add:
Music.
Bread.
Tools. All kinds from mechanic to carpentry to sewing to cooking. I can't imagine a life without a knife or in my case one for every use.
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Old 05-17-08, 06:20 AM
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I notice most of these living simply are youngsters or single people. It would be interesting to revisit them in 20yrs when families, long term relationships, etc have kicked in and see how many many possessions/responsibilites are tying them down.

Jim
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Old 05-17-08, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bigjim1
I notice most of these living simply are youngsters or single people. It would be interesting to revisit them in 20yrs when families, long term relationships, etc have kicked in and see how many many possessions/responsibilites are tying them down.
Or they may be still enjoying the simple life of minimal possessions and minimal responsibilities!

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Old 05-17-08, 04:44 PM
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Or they may be still enjoying the simple life of minimal possessions and minimal responsibilities!
Good for them if they are. But getting kids and partners on the same wavelength is not so simple. I'm not convinced. I'm slowly getting rid of a lot of stuff but I am the only one in the household doing this.

Jim.
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Old 05-17-08, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bigjim1
I notice most of these living simply are youngsters or single people. It would be interesting to revisit them in 20yrs when families, long term relationships, etc have kicked in and see how many many possessions/responsibilites are tying them down.

Jim
That assumes that they will choose to have families and/or long term relationships. Personally, I have no intentions of ever having children, and I refuse to be in a relationship with someone who can't accept my lifestyle. Pretty simple, really.
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Old 05-18-08, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bkrownd
I cannot live without books. ($1)
I also cannot live without wine.
I refuse to live without medjool dates.
Life without many varieties of quality cheese from around the world is meaningless.

I guess I don't live as simply as it might appear
...
I get most books from the public library, and only buy the ones that I want to keep and reread over the years.

I love imported (and some domestic) cheeses too. I limit quantities both because of the price and because of the calories. Great cheese can be enjoyed in small quantities for not much money. I will buy 4 ounces of Parmigiano or Gruyere for around 3 or 4 bucks and make it last a week or so. One ounce of fine cheese tastes great with a couple dates or other fruit, as a snack or dessert.
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Old 05-18-08, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bigjim1
Good for them if they are. But getting kids and partners on the same wavelength is not so simple. I'm not convinced. I'm slowly getting rid of a lot of stuff but I am the only one in the household doing this.

Jim.
You're talking about relationships, which are always complex, even for somebody leading a simple life. I'm trying to learn that my life can be simple even if I can't force (and really shouldn't try to force) my loved ones to do the same.

So much of it is mental--discovering that things don't really make me happy, and getting others to do what I want doesn't really make me happy either.
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