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Will Give Up All....Except For The New Car Keys

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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.

Will Give Up All....Except For The New Car Keys

Old 08-29-10, 11:47 AM
  #1  
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Will Give Up All....Except For The New Car Keys

Unemployment, And My New Car

Collecting unemployment is complicated for me. This is the first time I've ever done it. I've been entitled to it in the past but had never applied. And then there's the new car.

"....I am embarrassed to be collecting unemployment. I am embarrassed about it because my husband has a good job. I am more embarrassed about it because I have a brand new car. I feel like Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen driving a welfare Cadillac," but it's not like that. Really. We needed my job. We have two kids in college, and my job paid for our health insurance as well as my son's tuition. Now my unemployment barely covers our COBRA payment.

My old car, with 150,000 miles, is paid off, and I gave it to my daughter to get her to work and school. We tried all summer to share a car and take the bus, and it was hard. Not impossible — lots of people do it — but it was difficult, and this fall it will be tougher. She is working in Encino and going to school two days a week in Valencia, and we live in Echo Park. And I am looking hard for work. There are great deals on cars and the interest on a car loan is a lot less than on a student loan and I bought the most basic, no-frills model I could find. But it's brand new. And a beautiful color. And I love it......I feel guilty....about the memberships to the Sierra Club and the ACLU and others that we've let lapse. But this is Los Angeles, and I have to drive wherever it's necessary for job possibilities and to the super-cheap grocery store miles away and to my therapy group, which is actually free but very far from home....."


This person is like so many I have met here in Los Angeles. They will sacrifice & do without, sell their first child's soul, beg, rob & steal....but don't deny their right to drive. And this woman is considered to be an "educated" poised, knowledgeable, & upright member of the right social circle, just don't block access to her drug of choice!

Oh, by the way. I live in the same geographical area and learned to do without the "necessary" of car ownership all my adult life. And I never had the opportunities (free therapy, steady employment, employment paid health insurance, super cheap grocery store, professorship in a state school, nice husband who is still employed in a good job, and membership in the nice people protest groups) she had then and now.

My bikes are all basic, no frills models. And I use them just like she does in getting around here. Something to think about.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 08-29-10 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 08-29-10, 12:40 PM
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I can see where she is coming from. She is not defending her right to a car, she's defending her reliance on it, and her attachment to it. Unlike you, she hasn't learned how to function without a car, and right now, when she is looking for work all over the region, is not the time to take a crach course in bus and bike commuting. At least she's enlightened enough to be questioning her car dependence.
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Old 08-29-10, 12:58 PM
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Going cold turkey from driving is tough, usually ends up with the person of having a bad experience, and that person will have second thoughts about trying it again. Going down a gradual decline is far better than jumping off a cliff.
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Old 08-29-10, 02:13 PM
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There is a silver lining in that story. She no longer belongs to the Sierra Club or ACLU.
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Old 08-29-10, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
Oh, by the way. I live in the same geographical area and learned to do without the "necessary" of car ownership all my adult life. And I never had the opportunities (free therapy, steady employment, employment paid health insurance, super cheap grocery store, professorship in a state school, nice husband who is still employed in a good job, and membership in the nice people protest groups) she had then and now.
I agree that there are many people who truly need a car, but mostly in small towns and rural areas, not a big city like Los Angeles.
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Old 08-29-10, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
There is a silver lining in that story. She no longer belongs to the Sierra Club or ACLU.
Yeah, but you gotta wonder about that therapy group...
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Old 08-29-10, 06:03 PM
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I'm on the fence. I hate driving more and more, sitting in traffic and searching for parking drives me nuts. I lived without a car, for like 4 years, once in NYC before I even started cycling seriously. But inthe last several years I got so used to having a car handy for weekend getaways. But I've been thinking about moving out of NYC to Westchester, which is like the Northern suburbs, but it's on the mainland (no bridges to traverse to get anywhere) and it's great for biking. Once there I'll probably get rid of the car. But I can understand the fear of going car free entirely.

Oh, and there is the wife too, who opposes the idea I believe she thinks I'm going crazy...
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Old 08-29-10, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Yeah, but you gotta wonder about that therapy group...
Your tag line made me think, my wife wanted to stop by our local next week. I ask why, we haven't been there in months? She said the city is thinking about closing it because of the budget shortfall.

But back to the levity, remember this story is from LA. You simply can't give up free therapy, what would all your friends think?
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Old 09-02-10, 12:48 AM
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At least the lady is embarrassed of having a new car and being on unemployment. I know a guy who has been on unemployment for nearly a year and is actually car shopping! He still doesn't have a job and I can't say that I envision him having one in the near future.
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Old 09-02-10, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mister View Post
At least the lady is embarrassed of having a new car and being on unemployment. I know a guy who has been on unemployment for nearly a year and is actually car shopping! He still doesn't have a job and I can't say that I envision him having one in the near future.
So what? People on unemployment can spend their money on anything they want, and they don't need to be embarrassed no matter what you think.
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Old 09-02-10, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post

Oh, and there is the wife too, who opposes the idea I believe she thinks I'm going crazy...
I recall the first time I mentioned wanting to buy a trailer to haul groceries, my partner missus burst into a laughing fit so severe I thought she would have a stroke. However, over time, things changed. Perhaps I can describe the progression:

--> --> --> --> -->

She really likes it when we need food and I volunteer to go get it ...
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Old 09-02-10, 09:11 PM
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Of course they can. I don't have to agree with it though. Maybe I should get fired, get unemployment and buy a Litespeed. That'd be sweet.

Originally Posted by Roody View Post
So what? People on unemployment can spend their money on anything they want, and they don't need to be embarrassed no matter what you think.
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Old 09-02-10, 09:47 PM
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I'm amazed at how people would spend most of their unemployment check on COBRA! Unless you have a condition that requires expensive medicine, there's no reason why to keep paying for health insurance.

It just goes to show you how expensive life gets once you lose your job and have to live on unemployment while still owning a car.
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Old 09-03-10, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mister View Post
Of course they can. I don't have to agree with it though. Maybe I should get fired, get unemployment and buy a Litespeed. That'd be sweet.
Knock yourself out. That'd be sweet for Litespeed, but not so much for you on $1,400 a month. Still, if you can figure out how to eat and appease your landlord on what's left, have fun.
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Old 09-03-10, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mister View Post
Of course they can. I don't have to agree with it though. Maybe I should get fired, get unemployment and buy a Litespeed. That'd be sweet.
I don't think you can get unemployment if you get fired for cause, or quit your job. But if you got laid off, and had a few grand in your checking account, why not spend it on a litespeed, a Porsche, or anything else you want to?
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Old 09-03-10, 05:54 PM
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IMO, the key here is "new." I've yet to see a new car payment that wasn't half or more what you would pay for a beater that still runs reliably. One of the most reliable cars I ever had was $800, and the seller was willing to take half right then and half at the next payday.
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Old 09-03-10, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
There is a silver lining in that story. She no longer belongs to the Sierra Club or ACLU.
+1
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Old 09-04-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I'm amazed at how people would spend most of their unemployment check on COBRA! Unless you have a condition that requires expensive medicine, there's no reason why to keep paying for health insurance.

It just goes to show you how expensive life gets once you lose your job and have to live on unemployment while still owning a car.
Why? I just got a statement from a specialist I recently saw (just a visit - no procedures) and the bill was over $300. Add in even just basic procedures, such as bloodwork, more detailed exams, etc., you can EASILY get over $1,000 just for one short visit. And, I'm not even talking surgery or any other major procedure. $h1t happens sometimes. It's good to have insurance for when it does.
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Old 09-04-10, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TuckertonRR View Post
Why? I just got a statement from a specialist I recently saw (just a visit - no procedures) and the bill was over $300. Add in even just basic procedures, such as bloodwork, more detailed exams, etc., you can EASILY get over $1,000 just for one short visit. And, I'm not even talking surgery or any other major procedure. $h1t happens sometimes. It's good to have insurance for when it does.
I have an agreement with our GP. I pay cash money for my visits and get a decent discount, it saves them a huge amount of time on paperwork AND they get their money NOW.

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