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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 08-07-08, 10:49 PM
  #501  
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Since I last posted in this thread, I've moved to a different town in a different state to begin a not-so-different life as a grad student. This necessited getting an apartment, and filling it with things. I'd never have gotten any of it done without my family. Just wanted to say: appreciate those closest to you. Regardless of how simple or complex life may be (and it does vary), family's all you've got in the end. This doesn't always mean blood family; it does mean those you'd give your life for, and who'd do the same in return. Those are special peeps.

Now, in keeping with the theme of the thread, I've got lots of stuff. Lots. As a matter of fact, I just ordered a printer, as well as paper, and a few other accessories. Rather than beat myself up over having these things, I try to reember that the goal isn't necessarily to have as few things as possible, but rather, to have as few things as necessary. And even that might not be the goal. No matter how simply we live, we each afford ourselves and our loved ones various luxuries. Somewhere between excess and want lies balance. The trick, as with most things, is to find that balance.
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Old 08-29-08, 07:26 PM
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the simple life...

i too love this thread...

im in the process of "purging" most of my superfluous goods and commodities...

ive sold my ipod, watches, clothes, furniture in the last few months

haven't driven a car for 3 years now...finally got a bike...i only drink tap water (sometimes a beer)

i believe in living and taking advantage of our modern technology but doing so in a responsible way...

for instance... im minimizing my wardrobe and replacing cotton t shirts with merino or poly moisture
wicking fabrics...
they allow for less sweat and dirt and odor accumulation and in turn are easily cared for...
i can use a small table top washer on a 2 minute cycle and let the rapid-drying fabrics hang to dry

im getting to the point where i can live with everything i need on my back...(except the bike)

the laptop is one of my main tools... i use it for movies, research, art, music ( i even sold most of my art supplies in order to a buy a digital tablet which can accomodate thousands of different effects and techniques of traditional art supplies and it minimizes paper and material usage, and of course space)

i believe that reading is one of the greatest things we can do to learn...but i check out 2-3 books a week from the library and return them..

i try to eat locally and nutritious natural foods

...its great to hear that some other ppl have a good philosophy on life...most of my peers/family would think im crazy
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Old 08-30-08, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by shuguru314
i too love this thread...

im in the process of "purging" most of my superfluous goods and commodities...

ive sold my ipod, watches, clothes, furniture in the last few months

haven't driven a car for 3 years now...finally got a bike...i only drink tap water (sometimes a beer)

i believe in living and taking advantage of our modern technology but doing so in a responsible way...

for instance... im minimizing my wardrobe and replacing cotton t shirts with merino or poly moisture
wicking fabrics...
they allow for less sweat and dirt and odor accumulation and in turn are easily cared for...
i can use a small table top washer on a 2 minute cycle and let the rapid-drying fabrics hang to dry

im getting to the point where i can live with everything i need on my back...(except the bike)

the laptop is one of my main tools... i use it for movies, research, art, music ( i even sold most of my art supplies in order to a buy a digital tablet which can accomodate thousands of different effects and techniques of traditional art supplies and it minimizes paper and material usage, and of course space)

i believe that reading is one of the greatest things we can do to learn...but i check out 2-3 books a week from the library and return them..

i try to eat locally and nutritious natural foods

...its great to hear that some other ppl have a good philosophy on life...most of my peers/family would think im crazy
I wouldn't call you crazy Everybody is unique, some of us more so than others Personally I would rather see someone who thinks outside the box, rather than following the herd.

My wife and I have been doing a pretty serious purge of household items, biggest problem is she is big into the mementos and heirloom stuff. So it has been interesting. I mean what do you do with great-grandma's china? She remembers eating off of it as a little girl, and didn't want to get rid of it. So we compromised and kept 4 place settings and sold off the rest.(for a tidy sum!)

I have been burning my entire CD collection to a spare hard drive that I can download music to my MP3 player. Before I would make copies to play in my truck or in my laptop. Sometimes I am a late adopter of technology. I have a bunch of books downloaded, however I find an analog book is much easier for me to read for some reason....must be old fashioned.

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Old 08-31-08, 10:12 PM
  #504  
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This is my first post on bikeforums. This is the first thread that I looked at seriously and I've read every last post on here. I own a Trek 3.2 FX and I sometimes borrow my mom's and my former bike which is a Trek Hybrid that has a huge basket on the back. In the past 2 months I've really committed myself to not using my car. I worked from home a lot before so I didn't think much of it but then once I got a job outside the house I started using the car. That was a temp job and I told myself the next job I get will be a bike commute. From day 1 at the new and current job, I rode my bike, 10km each way. It's great and I love it! I'm almost glad I don't live closer to work, otherwise I don't get an excercise to and from work! haha

So that was all before I discovered bikeforums.net What I got from this post was how happy I could be by living a minimalistic life style. First off, I'd like to define what I see as living minimalistic. That is having as few possessions as possible of the ones you don't really use. In the past month I've sold lots of things such as 2 backup ice hockey goalie pads, surfboard, my car is for sale, i gave away some clothes that I never wear, an old laptop that I never use... Lots of stuff that I'm sure other people would enjoy more than me.

I see living minimally as living with little worries and not having such a large estate to keep track of. But in some instances, I do things like spend a lot of time in my Mom's very large yard taking care of her garden and fruit trees, but to me that is enjoyable so I don't consider it work, therefore I still count that as something I can do in my minimal life style. Letting go of some friends who live too far is something I've been doing, I've been working on making my life much smaller. I end up saving so much money that I'll be buying a sweet ass 1 bedroom condo with a spiral staircase to the upstairs bedroom!! It even comes with a carport which is great because my guests will always have parking if they need it since I won't own a car.

Again, I don't see living minimally as living with no technology, I see it as living with little worries. I got rid of my TV because I don't need it, everything i need is on the internet!

Thanks again! I wonder if any ladies are into a guy living in South OC without a car.. haha!
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Old 09-14-08, 10:54 PM
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Anything I don't use I sell, give to charity, or trash. I do have books, movies, etc. but unless I will be reading a book over again I give it to the library and I borrow a lot books from them too instead of buying. I'm 26 and still have clothes from high school if that tells you anything about my fashion cares. I think it's cool to check out these threads where people have like 30 bikes and parts everywhere but to own more than one bike would drive me crazy. Ok, actually I have a bmx bike too but that's for sale, so there.
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Old 09-30-08, 07:33 AM
  #506  
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4 bikes (2 road, 1 mtn and 1 commuter), car (only driven when i have leg/foot injuries), computer/office supplies, 2 sofas, 2 tables, 4 chairs, lamps, kitchenware, toiletries, 2 fans, radio/cd player, some books, cd's, minimal clothing and numerous backpacking/camping/fishing supplies.

i am curious to see the posts on this thread grow as the 'american dream' morphs into a world dream. imo, this is a good thing. consumption in the u.s.a. has been out of control for ~ 50 years! great american leaders will return to politics during this balancing phase of our economy. and lost industries too will return.

i commend those like you and your examples on these posts.

extend and diversify your skills. and contribute more to community so others may follow your lead.
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Old 10-12-08, 01:35 AM
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I live pretty simply: mostly car free, mostly vegan, small fairly uncluttered house on a small lot, old computer, very old stereo, etc.

My luxuries: multiple bikes (mostly cheap), multiple guitars (uh, not cheap) - but hey, each one (bikes and guitars) has a different purpose. Thought about selling a bike the other day, but my son said, "don't sell any bikes, I want to inherit them all!"
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Old 10-13-08, 11:38 AM
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What are some things that easily pile up and take up a lot of space? For me, itís DVDs followed by books. I have always looked at finding ways to "relieve" myself of the extra clutter without losing access to these resources, preferably the ease of having them on hand whenever I want. Does anyone know of a storage service that allows you to "store" them offsite, then send for them whenever you want. What would also be cool is if this service would basically sell the item (like put it on eBay automatically) at the click of a button. Then again, I guess I could rip the DVDs then sell them, although the legal issues with that are a bit shady.

Also, what about living paperless. Any tips for doing that?
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Old 10-13-08, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by z3px
...Does anyone know of a storage service that allows you to "store" them offsite, then send for them whenever you want. What would also be cool is if this service would basically sell the item (like put it on eBay automatically) at the click of a button...

Also, what about living paperless. Any tips for doing that?
I like your idea for a Stuff Management Service! The shipping charges for moving things back & forth would be significant but I bet there are people who would consider it worthwhile.

One thing that helps with living paperless is to do all banking online and have all your bills set up as either auto pay or online. Doing it that way also helps when you travel.

I've heard of at least one service that receives all your mail, throws away what's obviously junk, scans the rest and puts the images online where you can read them. That particular service is for houseboaters and RVers who have no fixed address, and I think the cost is very significant. I wonder if such a service could be provided more cheaply. Maybe it would be a good small business for a car free person who lives close to a post office.
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Old 10-13-08, 01:06 PM
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We pay as many bills as we can online right now, but non the less we still end up with more paper than i want.

I also thought about bringing a bunch of stuff to our library but i would be afraid they would sell or other wise get rid of the majority of the books i would donate (mostly technical books).
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Old 10-18-08, 07:05 PM
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Libraries Sell Donated Books

Originally Posted by z3px
We pay as many bills as we can online right now, but non the less we still end up with more paper than i want.

I also thought about bringing a bunch of stuff to our library but i would be afraid they would sell or other wise get rid of the majority of the books i would donate (mostly technical books).
Years ago I donated money to a campaign to donate certain religious books to the local library system. At the annual library book sale all of the brand new books that had been donated were for sale. If the librarians don't like your books they will be sold or discarded.

I like the idea of automatic bank withdrawal for bills, it is just that I don't trust them to get it right or the people in charge of the information. My favorite way to pay bills is via telephone using a credit card using automated systems. That way no people are involved and I save some paper and postage.

I have begun to sell some of my possessions. It turns out that 80% of the things I own were inherited from my parents. My goal is to sell as much as possible and have no more possessions than would fit in the smallest U-haul van. This attitude is so different from my attitude as a young adult. I still want things but not every thing.

I have a few months to achieve my minimalist goals. My apartment lease ends in May 2009. If I choose to move or if the new building owners refuse to renew my lease because of my dog (this building has been converted to a no pets complex) it will be very easy and inexpensive to move.

Less than three months ago I wanted to get a really big computer monitor to go with the computer I wanted to buy. Since the computer I wanted hasn't been updated for a while I ended up getting my first notebook computer. When I put it on a tray on my lap and watch streaming HDTV shows the apparent size of the screen is really big. Now I don't even want a big screen TV because of this.

Living a minimalist lifestyle actually seems to be a liberating experience. When I was twenty years old the more stuff I got the better I felt. Now at age forty-five the more stuff I get rid of the better I feel.
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Old 10-20-08, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by z3px
What are some things that easily pile up and take up a lot of space? For me, itís DVDs followed by books. I have always looked at finding ways to "relieve" myself of the extra clutter without losing access to these resources, preferably the ease of having them on hand whenever I want.
Put those DVD's on an external harddrive, they are pretty cheap now days, then sell them off on Craigslist to recoup the cost of the harddrive. Donate your books to the library. They'll safely hold on to them and you can check them out if you ever feel like re-reading them.
I also thought about bringing a bunch of stuff to our library but i would be afraid they would sell or other wise get rid of the majority of the books i would donate (mostly technical books).
Try a college library, they like tech books there. You could always ask what would happen to the type of books you plan to donate.
Almost all tech info you would ever need to reference can be had on the internet now days anyhow.

Last edited by mtnwkr; 10-20-08 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 10-23-08, 08:21 PM
  #513  
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Slowly getting settled into my new place. 2 room apartment and I am slowly working to de-clutter and simplify more. Bed set is getting sold soon, along with the living room furniture to be replaced by a futon. The "bedroom" will be an office/den with a bike rack to free up some space, my computer desk and maybe a chair.

Although I just moved in, and hate the thought of moving again, I might look at another apartment when this lease is up. There is a complex that would be equal distant from work and school (sitting just about in the center from those 2 ends). Would still give me good walking distance to a lot and easy bike/bus elsewhere. It would also free up another $100 or so on bills. Just a studio/flat, with a kitchenette and a shared bath down the hall.

I'm going to work on clearing out a lot. Try to scale back my kitchen stuff, thin out my closet, etc.

Still trying to get the car sold.
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Old 10-23-08, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
My wife and I have been doing a pretty serious purge of household items, biggest problem is she is big into the mementos and heirloom stuff. So it has been interesting. I mean what do you do with great-grandma's china? She remembers eating off of it as a little girl, and didn't want to get rid of it. So we compromised and kept 4 place settings and sold off the rest.(for a tidy sum!)

I have been burning my entire CD collection to a spare hard drive that I can download music to my MP3 player. Before I would make copies to play in my truck or in my laptop. Sometimes I am a late adopter of technology. I have a bunch of books downloaded, however I find an analog book is much easier for me to read for some reason....must be old fashioned.

Aaron
I know what your wife is going through with the china. In my family, it's a tradition for the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, etc. etc. to buy the girl turning 18 a china set ... and I was no different. I turned 18 and went through the process of picking a pattern. Then the set was added to over the years.

So ... part of me thinks I should just sell the set ... and part of me wants to keep it.

I too am planning to burn my CDs onto my auxiliary hard-drive ... and my cassettes too if I can. And, unfortunately, I need to get rid of a whole heap of my books.

There's a lot of emotion involved in these sorts of changes. But as of the beginning of December ... just over a month from now ... I will be hauling everything out of storage (that's where 3/4 of my stuff is right now, and has been for 4 years) and will go through it all and figure out what I want to do with it ... with selling, giving away, or tossing in the forefront of my mind. I figure it will take me the whole month of December to accomplish this ... at least. I suspect I'll be relieved when it's done ... but just a bit sad at the same time.
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Old 10-29-08, 11:23 PM
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Lately, lots of people have been setting their thermostats way low in the winter. If you're doing that, here's a super cheap way to keep warm while you're on the Internet.

Put a blanket or tablecloth over your computer table. Ideally it should reach all the way to the floor, all around the table. Put the computer case under the table, along with any other heat generating electronics you might be using. The cloth-enclosed space under the table will soon get nice and toasty. Sit at your computer table with your legs under the tablecloth. For maximum warmth, prop your feet up on something under the table.

If you're using a laptop, you'll need some other very mild heat source to put under the table, like maybe an incandescent lamp. Obviously it's a bad idea to use anything with an open flame or red hot heating element.

I got the idea after looking at a Japanese style kotatsu table:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kotatsu
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Old 10-30-08, 12:14 AM
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I got a programmable thermostat five years ago. I have the temperature at 20 C or 68 F in the evenings when I'm home and when I get up in the mornings. At night I let it drop to around 16 or 17 C (61 to 63 F) and when I'm at work, I'll drop it down to 15 C or 59 F. There's no point in heating an empty house. At night, I don't need much heat.
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Old 10-30-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Platy
Lately, lots of people have been setting their thermostats way low in the winter. If you're doing that, here's a super cheap way to keep warm while you're on the Internet.

Put a blanket or tablecloth over your computer table. Ideally it should reach all the way to the floor, all around the table. Put the computer case under the table, along with any other heat generating electronics you might be using. The cloth-enclosed space under the table will soon get nice and toasty. Sit at your computer table with your legs under the tablecloth. For maximum warmth, prop your feet up on something under the table.
I appreciate your sharing of the idea but I would be very careful trying it. In many cases that heat is designed to be carried away from the electronics to help keep them cool, especially with a computer. If you're trapping the heat that would otherwise dissipate, the electronics may be stressed and might even fail.

I would be more inclined to put on more clothes, but wait until I truly need to. By doing this I have been able to acclimate myself to temperatures that I would whine about before (before I became big on conservation). Now I am fine if the house is as low as 60 degrees. Right now our house is 61 and I'm in shorts. I will even put on a winter hat inside if it means not having to turn the heat on. I actually enjoy the delayed gratification of tolerating the cold and then gradually warming up, as I do when coming home from a cold commute. I suppose I'm strange!

Here's a few related ideas some of you may like:

* I bought my wife an iPod touch. It is really amazing how well the thing works for surfing the internet. It's almost like have a mini portable computer with you. I'm certain it uses far less power, though of course it still means you need a modem and wireless router (or a combo) running. It can't do everything, but it can do at least 75% of my browsing. So if you have something like it consider using it instead of the computer when possible. I have used browsers on other electronics such as my sony PSP or a cell phone and the iPod blows it away in speed, usefulness, and especially interface. You can use it in the comfort of your bed, warm under blankets, though I completely shut down all of our computer equipment including modem and router before getting in bed.

* I overheard this from a Lowe's employee: at night, turn the heat to your house off or way down, close the bedroom door, and run a smaller heater in that room only. My wife and I are now doing this and it works very well. We turn the main thermostat all the way down to 55 and keep the bedroom at around 64. We use a small ceramic heater with a thermostat, and it runs very little - on average it seems to kick on only a few times per night.

On a side note, does anyone know how low and high I can set my thermostat without making our Yorkie-Poo suffer? Does putting a sweater on the dog help? I like to run our heat and cooling as little as possible, but I also don't want to endanger our puppy.
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Old 10-30-08, 12:33 PM
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I've been wanting to live simply for a while. I just can't bring myself to do it.

I'm not hugely materialistic, but I am finding it hard to get rid of things. I also love gadgets.

I have a home theater PC and HDTV that I seldom use, but I haven't had it long, and it would seem such a waste to get rid of. I keep buying new things for my bikes. I feel that I can't live without my high-speed internet service. I have a cell phone, but it's my only phone.

I live in a 1100 sq. ft. home that I own. I live alone (now), other than my two dogs. I have two cars, but they are old, and paid off.

Part of me wants to find new homes for the dogs, sell the house, and move to a small apartment closer to work. I could then sell the cars.

On the other hand, selling my house in this economy could be difficult, and I love my dogs.
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Old 10-30-08, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell
I could then sell the cars.
Have you considered selling one of the cars now? That might be a good start.
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Old 10-30-08, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell
I've been wanting to live simply for a while. I just can't bring myself to do it.

I'm not hugely materialistic, but I am finding it hard to get rid of things. I also love gadgets.

I have a home theater PC and HDTV that I seldom use, but I haven't had it long, and it would seem such a waste to get rid of. I keep buying new things for my bikes. I feel that I can't live without my high-speed internet service. I have a cell phone, but it's my only phone.

I live in a 1100 sq. ft. home that I own. I live alone (now), other than my two dogs. I have two cars, but they are old, and paid off.

Part of me wants to find new homes for the dogs, sell the house, and move to a small apartment closer to work. I could then sell the cars.

On the other hand, selling my house in this economy could be difficult, and I love my dogs.
I can empathize with the getting rid of things. I think you finally reach a point where it's just right and everything clicks and you're motivated to do it. I'll be boxing up a lot of my dishes here soon-really just need 3-4 of everything dining wise. Going to do the same with pots and pans. Just bought a new coffee maker and grinder about 3-4 months ago. Now I'm realizing how much space it takes up and how little I have been using either. I have a tea kettle and a french press-so I figure I have those 2 which can make coffee, I can use tea bags when I need to stretch the budget and I can always grab a thing of ground coffee as needed.

I also love my gadgets, but those too are going to slim down. I want to get a vacuum sealer to help stock up on food and help keep it longer. My george foreman grill will probably go, but I'll keep the electric griddle. Probably the biggest thing I have an attachment to are my books. I'll save those that are related to the degree I'm working on and will serve some purpose professional at a later date. The rest will probably go to the library.

As far as your dogs, what about a pet friendly apartment? I don't know the size of your dogs, but there a lot of land lords who cater to pet owners with large amounts of green space to walk the dogs. Find a place near a local park or, better yet, a dog park.
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Old 10-30-08, 07:27 PM
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Another aspect of simple living ...

As you know, Rowan and I got married in August. Rather than doing the big wedding thing that everyone around us seems to be doing, we opted to go with something very simple.

-- We planned the whole thing in less than 2 months, and really, if you counted up the hours, it was probably less than 10 hours of "work".

-- The whole thing, reception and all, cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $300.00

-- We opted to do something memorable and meaningful to us.

We set up camp in the Jasper area, and spent a few days exploring the area.

Then, on the morning of August 24th we were up bright and early to ride a century (100 miles) through the mountains. We wanted to ride a century because we met on a long cycling event (Paris-Brest-Paris), and cycling has been an important part of our lives.

We finished the century about 4 pm, and relaxed next to a lake near Jasper until my parents arrived about 45 minutes later. They brought our inexpensive wedding attire, and we changed into it and got ready.

My cousin and his wife arrived a few minutes later, and we rolled our bicycles down to the dock at the lake. About 10 minutes later, we were married.

Our reception was at a lovely little restaurant in Jasper ... just the 6 of us.

We didn't spend much money at all ... but it was lovely, quiet, stress-free, and just the what we wanted.
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Old 10-30-08, 07:39 PM
  #522  
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Originally Posted by Machka
Another aspect of simple living ...
Clearly you thought through some of the issues of wedding planning and came up with a relaxing, affordable solution. I never cease to be amazed when I listen to the ladies at work talking about wedding plans. They usually entail a great deal of debt and sound a lot like the beginning of indentured servitude.

When I got married in 1979, most people I knew went for something that was also very affordable. You tried to take advantage of doing things for yourself and if you couldn't afford it, you didn't need it.
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Old 10-30-08, 07:55 PM
  #523  
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Originally Posted by gerv
Clearly you thought through some of the issues of wedding planning and came up with a relaxing, affordable solution. I never cease to be amazed when I listen to the ladies at work talking about wedding plans. They usually entail a great deal of debt and sound a lot like the beginning of indentured servitude.

When I got married in 1979, most people I knew went for something that was also very affordable. You tried to take advantage of doing things for yourself and if you couldn't afford it, you didn't need it.
I go to University, and a whole bunch of girls got engaged this past summer, with plans to get married this coming summer right after they graduate. Their rings alone cost several thousand dollars, and on top of $30,000+ in student loan debt, they are all planning these huge weddings for which they'll have to go even deeper into debt.

It just doesn't make sense to me ... I've successfully avoided student loans for my education by working as much as possible (although I do have a small debt), and I'd rather avoid incurring any other debt if I can help it!!

"If you couldn't afford it, you didn't need it" has been my motto all my life.
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Old 10-31-08, 08:47 AM
  #524  
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Originally Posted by politicalgeek
I can empathize with the getting rid of things. I think you finally reach a point where it's just right and everything clicks and you're motivated to do it. I'll be boxing up a lot of my dishes here soon-really just need 3-4 of everything dining wise. Going to do the same with pots and pans. Just bought a new coffee maker and grinder about 3-4 months ago. Now I'm realizing how much space it takes up and how little I have been using either. I have a tea kettle and a french press-so I figure I have those 2 which can make coffee, I can use tea bags when I need to stretch the budget and I can always grab a thing of ground coffee as needed.

I also love my gadgets, but those too are going to slim down. I want to get a vacuum sealer to help stock up on food and help keep it longer. My george foreman grill will probably go, but I'll keep the electric griddle. Probably the biggest thing I have an attachment to are my books. I'll save those that are related to the degree I'm working on and will serve some purpose professional at a later date. The rest will probably go to the library.

As far as your dogs, what about a pet friendly apartment? I don't know the size of your dogs, but there a lot of land lords who cater to pet owners with large amounts of green space to walk the dogs. Find a place near a local park or, better yet, a dog park.
I've already gotten rid of excess dishes, knick-knacks, and some furniture. My ex-wife laughed when I told her I still needed to simplify, and told me I lived simply enough already.

One dog is large (nearly 100 lbs), the other barks a lot, so not really apartment friendly.

Originally Posted by Machka
As you know, Rowan and I got married in August. Rather than doing the big wedding thing that everyone around us seems to be doing, we opted to go with something very simple.

-- We planned the whole thing in less than 2 months, and really, if you counted up the hours, it was probably less than 10 hours of "work".

-- The whole thing, reception and all, cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $300.00

-- We opted to do something memorable and meaningful to us.
That is awesome. When my ex and I married in 1995, we were poor, and had a very cheap wedding also. It wasn't nearly as cool as yours though

Originally Posted by kmcrawford111
Have you considered selling one of the cars now? That might be a good start.
Yes, I have. Neither is worth much though.

I wish there were a legit way to sell my iTunes library also
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Old 10-31-08, 09:00 AM
  #525  
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The only other thing I could think of with the dogs is to rent a small house?
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