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Man, what a feeling :)

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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.

Man, what a feeling :)

Old 01-28-13, 10:13 AM
  #1  
DocsDad
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Man, what a feeling :)

Well, we are now “car-lite”. At least I consider us that way after ditching our old van a few days ago. We now have one gas-miser micro car to share. But because I work 30 miles from home, one (or both) of us will be without or commuting by bike. (Grateful for showers at work.) We are looking forward to grocery shopping via bike and this new level of freedom.

I just told our insurance agent to shove his money draining policy right up his….. OK OK, well maybe I said something like “please take the van off the policy”.

Our older boys are out of the house and my wife is now homeschooling our youngest. We ditched our smartphones and have pre-paid phones. We have no cable tv. Gotta love simple living.

With the one exception of a small mortgage…. we are completely debt free.

Man what a feeling.
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Old 01-28-13, 10:33 AM
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Hooray for you!

We are in a similar situation. There's 5 of us in the household. My wife has some health issues back in 2010.
In order to re-structure the home finances for one income and to pay medical bills; I shut off every service not considered necessary. That included smart-phones, cable, etc. I sold one of the cars (the one with the payment). We kept the smaller, older (and paid for) hatchback for trips requiring a car. I rent for long trips.
I've been riding my bike and using multi-modal (local MTA bus service) transportation. I drove the car to work 5 times in all of 2012. I've not driven it this year (yet anyway).
Other than a couple student loans, the house, one home related repair bill, and the usual utilities we are debt free. If it were totally up to me, I could simplify even further. The wife and kids are not quite as flexible as I am though.
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Old 01-28-13, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DocsDad View Post
With the one exception of a small mortgage…. we are completely debt free.

Man what a feeling.
Congrats! It can be very liberating shedding some "weight" in life. There may be a few glitches here and there but you won't regret it, and you can always selectively add a thing or two back into your lives if you feel like it. I "figured it out" at 30 and I am now 55. No regrets yet.

My rule was to limit all items that require a monthly payment and to never pay interest. I too have a Go-Phone (pre-paid). The phone itself costs $5. Car free 25 years. (Wife has a car - that's her problem). We teamed up to buy a small cottage (paid in full over 7 years - only interest I have ever paid on anything). Utilities are reasonable and we have no children. The only real bugaboo is paying health insurance premiums - if not for this I would rarely have to go to work.

Enjoy your new life! Keep us filled in.
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Old 01-28-13, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
My rule was to limit all items that require a monthly payment and to never pay interest.
We figured out a way to lower monthly costs. Instead of renting control boxes and remote controls and modem for Internet/broadband, we bought the equipment. The payback time is about 10 months. That is, $100 worth of equipment costs about $10/month to rent.

Like you, I had the thought that people are enslaved to their monthly payments, so I always try to get rid of them. Buy instead of rent, cash instead of credit, prepaid instead of contract, and so forth.
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Old 01-28-13, 07:26 PM
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I live mortgage and debt free...now about them damned property taxes that are due

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Old 01-28-13, 08:24 PM
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Roody -- you mention "prepaid instead of contract" ... this is one of the best-kept secrets right now in cell phones. In the US a bunch companies re-sell cellular service which they buy "wholesale" from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint... depending on what you want, prices can easily be a quarter of what you'd pay for "on contract" cell service (like $19/month for unlimited talk/text/web). Check out republic wireless for that deal, or check out Straight talk (good if you want to use a phone built for AT&T/Tmobile and live where you can get good service from one of those companies), or Page Plus (prices as low as $30/month, good if you live where verizon provides good coverage)
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Old 01-28-13, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
...Buy instead of rent, cash instead of credit, prepaid instead of contract, and so forth.
I just found out that a fifty dollar bill is the new twenty dollar bill! My wife and I recently started using cash for almost every possible expense after years of using credit cards out of convenience (we always paid them off every month to avoid interest). It's been so long since I carried cash that thanks to inflation (I guess) I had to take my cash out in increments of $50 instead of $20-like the "old" days. My VISA bill this month was $15. And I find that giving myself an allowance of a finite number of $50 bills every month that I spend way less, as I see the stack shrinking little by little over time. With plastic, you never see the stack shrinking until the statement shows up.
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Old 01-28-13, 08:48 PM
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Well, my wife and I only have our mortgage. We do have the usual monthly expenses - we do like our internet/cable after all. But we always pay off our credit card bills monthly, eat out only once per week and not at a particularly expensive place, and have only one car between the two of us.

My biggest expenses actually are my, ahem, bikes and their associated toys!
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Old 01-29-13, 05:02 AM
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I resisted for a long time but got my first "smart" phone last year. I think for the extra $10-$20 a month its worth it. Being car free and relying on public transit at least part of the time, having a smart phone makes planning trip with multiple stops a lot easier. I can check the hours of stores that I am running late to to make sure I dont waste a trip etc... really useful in my opinion and without the expense of a car its not a big deal. Also, the smart phone is an e-reader and music player which makes my time on the bus that much more enjoyable.

As for internet, I too bought a modem/router combo and I split the net bill with my downstairs neighbors who use the wifi to connect. I highly recommend this to anyone in an apartment complex or with anyone living close enough to do it.

I also pay cash for just about everything. I withdraw a set amount out of the ATM every Friday as my allowance for the week for stuff like eating out and entertainment. The only time I use my card is for groceries so that I can track what I spend each month on them.
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Old 01-29-13, 05:05 AM
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People know that the internet and cable are pretty much the same thing now right? I dont see any point in paying for both. You can buy a cable for $10 at Radio Shack to connect your TV to your computer and watch anything you want, with less commercials, directly from the programs website, whenever you want to. Skip TV and all that stuff. If you dont have a TVO new enough to connect to your computer just invest because TVs are super cheap right now. The savings for ditching your monthly cable bill will work out in your favor in just a few months.
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Old 01-29-13, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cerewa View Post
Roody -- you mention "prepaid instead of contract" ... this is one of the best-kept secrets right now in cell phones. In the US a bunch companies re-sell cellular service which they buy "wholesale" from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint... depending on what you want, prices can easily be a quarter of what you'd pay for "on contract" cell service (like $19/month for unlimited talk/text/web). Check out republic wireless for that deal, or check out Straight talk (good if you want to use a phone built for AT&T/Tmobile and live where you can get good service from one of those companies), or Page Plus (prices as low as $30/month, good if you live where verizon provides good coverage)
Some added information: Straight Talk also has some phone that work on Verizon though the bulk are AT&T. If you want an Iphone and many of the newer smart phone, to the best of my knowledge they only way to currently get it is on a contract plan. A couple of years ago my company switched us to Altel, then proceeded to send me to a project that had NO coverage. I purchased a Virgin Mobile (Sprint) phone and used that for the duration of the project. I had unlimited minutes, text and data. IIRC it was ~$90 a month with taxes. My personal phone is Verizon and so far has had the best coverage in my travels around the country.

I do agree that the no contract phones are the way to go to save money, most of my crews use them, but shop carefully some companies have very limited coverage.


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Old 01-29-13, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I resisted for a long time but got my first "smart" phone last year. I think for the extra $10-$20 a month its worth it.
Yeah, I can see that too. Luckily, I get very few actual phone calls or texts. My friends all know to contact me through Email. I have an old 3G iPhone that I use as an iPod. No actual phone service need be purchased as I use the WiFi at home, my workplace, or many other public places including parks, cafes, and every McDonalds (emergency only, I don't eat that stuff). Some towns and cities have free WiFi too - New Orleans had that at one time.

So an old iPhone with internet access is like a free phone. Through Google you can even get actual telephone service AND texting absolutely free. Unlimited data. Free, free, free. This works well for me because I do not have urgent needs. I can wait for a WiFi connection or use my GoPhone re-paid option for urgent matters. The GoPhone through ATT charges me $1 for the first call of the day - which I can avoid by returning calls through WiFi using the caller ID on my GoPhone them making the call on the no-service iPhone.

Nice thing about the GoPhone - if I don't use it it costs $0.00 every day. And because I live with my wife and work with my friends I can go weeks without making an actual phone call. Like I said - my friends are all trained to find me through Email, which I check on my 3G iPhone every hour or so.

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Old 01-29-13, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Yeah, I can see that too. Luckily, I get very few actual phone calls or texts. My friends all know to contact me through Email. I have an old 3G iPhone that I use as an iPod. No actual phone service need be purchased as I use the WiFi at home, my workplace, or many other public places including parks, cafes, and every McDonalds (emergency only, I don't eat that stuff). Some towns and cities have free WiFi too - New Orleans had that at one time.

So an old iPhone with internet access is like a free phone. Through Google you can even get actual telephone service AND texting absolutely free. Unlimited data. Free, free, free. This works well for me because I do not have urgent needs. I can wait for a WiFi connection or use my GoPhone re-paid option for urgent matters. The GoPhone through ATT charges me $1 for the first call of the day - which I can avoid by returning calls through WiFi using the caller ID on my GoPhone them making the call on the no-service iPhone.

Nice thing about the GoPhone - if I don't use it it costs $0.00 every day. And because I live with my wife and work with my friends I can go weeks without making an actual phone call. Like I said - my friends are all trained to find me through Email, which I check on my 3G iPhone every hour or so.
That's exactly what I do. I have a prepaid cell which I rarely use and costs me next to nothing. I use my Droid Razr Android as a tablet and with Google Voice to make free wifi calls (if necessary, I rarely talk on the phone) and free texting. This knocked out a couple hundred dollars per month because we are no longer a family of smartphones.
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Old 01-29-13, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I resisted for a long time but got my first "smart" phone last year. I think for the extra $10-$20 a month its worth it. Being car free and relying on public transit at least part of the time, having a smart phone makes planning trip with multiple stops a lot easier. I can check the hours of stores that I am running late to to make sure I dont waste a trip etc... really useful in my opinion and without the expense of a car its not a big deal. Also, the smart phone is an e-reader and music player which makes my time on the bus that much more enjoyable.

As for internet, I too bought a modem/router combo and I split the net bill with my downstairs neighbors who use the wifi to connect. I highly recommend this to anyone in an apartment complex or with anyone living close enough to do it.

I also pay cash for just about everything. I withdraw a set amount out of the ATM every Friday as my allowance for the week for stuff like eating out and entertainment. The only time I use my card is for groceries so that I can track what I spend each month on them.
I also love my smart phone, for all those reasons you mentioned. Canada's prepaid plans are pretty terrible, so I'm willing to suck up the $60 a month to have a useable amount of data.

Cash on the other hand I don't use. I find I can keep track of everything much better when I use cards - I have them connected to Mint.com so I know exactly how much I'm spending on what. I tried keeping track of it manually for a while, and I just didn't do it. I need the automatic system in order to actually use it.

On the other hand, I don't buy things "on credit" - I use a credit card as a payment mechanism. I always pay the bill in full and on time. Plus, everyone once in a while I get free groceries from the points... I just have to make the trek out to the Superstore.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post

Nice thing about the GoPhone - if I don't use it it costs $0.00 every day. And because I live with my wife and work with my friends I can go weeks without making an actual phone call. Like I said - my friends are all trained to find me through Email, which I check on my 3G iPhone every hour or so.
The other nice thing about the go phone is that you'll have it available if you ever need to call 911. That's one of the nicest features of a cell phone, IMO. I have used mine a couple times, never for myself, luckily. Once was when I heard glass breaking in the midd,
le of the night, and once when I saw a couple guys fighting in the middle of a busy street.
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Old 01-29-13, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by charbucks View Post
Cash on the other hand I don't use. I find I can keep track of everything much better when I use cards - I have them connected to Mint.com so I know exactly how much I'm spending on what. I tried keeping track of it manually for a while, and I just didn't do it. I need the automatic system in order to actually use it.

On the other hand, I don't buy things "on credit" - I use a credit card as a payment mechanism. I always pay the bill in full and on time. Plus, everyone once in a while I get free groceries from the points... I just have to make the trek out to the Superstore.
I have a similar use of credit cards. Almost never write a check or use cash. Receive monthly statement electronically along with all expenses in spreadsheet format. Can review as necessary all credits and debits. Have kept up the spreadsheet for years. Automatically paid in full by my bank on last date due. No interest, late fees or stamps, ever. Get 5% cash back on all gas purchases, 3% on all groceries, 1% on all other purchases.
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Old 01-29-13, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by charbucks View Post
I also love my smart phone, for all those reasons you mentioned. Canada's prepaid plans are pretty terrible, so I'm willing to suck up the $60 a month to have a useable amount of data.

Cash on the other hand I don't use. I find I can keep track of everything much better when I use cards - I have them connected to Mint.com so I know exactly how much I'm spending on what. I tried keeping track of it manually for a while, and I just didn't do it. I need the automatic system in order to actually use it.

On the other hand, I don't buy things "on credit" - I use a credit card as a payment mechanism. I always pay the bill in full and on time. Plus, everyone once in a while I get free groceries from the points... I just have to make the trek out to the Superstore.
OTOH, everybody is paying about 3% more for everything, and a few huge corporations are raking it all in.
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Old 01-29-13, 06:39 PM
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Old 01-29-13, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Yeah, I can see that too. Luckily, I get very few actual phone calls or texts. My friends all know to contact me through Email. I have an old 3G iPhone that I use as an iPod. No actual phone service need be purchased as I use the WiFi at home, my workplace, or many other public places including parks, cafes, and every McDonalds (emergency only, I don't eat that stuff). Some towns and cities have free WiFi too - New Orleans had that at one time.

So an old iPhone with internet access is like a free phone. Through Google you can even get actual telephone service AND texting absolutely free. Unlimited data. Free, free, free. This works well for me because I do not have urgent needs. I can wait for a WiFi connection or use my GoPhone re-paid option for urgent matters. The GoPhone through ATT charges me $1 for the first call of the day - which I can avoid by returning calls through WiFi using the caller ID on my GoPhone them making the call on the no-service iPhone.

Nice thing about the GoPhone - if I don't use it it costs $0.00 every day. And because I live with my wife and work with my friends I can go weeks without making an actual phone call. Like I said - my friends are all trained to find me through Email, which I check on my 3G iPhone every hour or so.
I hardly ever use "talk" on my phone. Sprint charges something like $85 a month for unlimited talk/text/data but Verizon charges only $35 for 300 mins talk and unlimited text/data. If I need to make a long call to family then I just use skype on my phone with wifi at home or at a coffee shop. Pretty cheap once you get past the initial investment of the phone.
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Old 01-29-13, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I hardly ever use "talk" on my phone. Sprint charges something like $85 a month for unlimited talk/text/data but Verizon charges only $35 for 300 mins talk and unlimited text/data. If I need to make a long call to family then I just use skype on my phone with wifi at home or at a coffee shop. Pretty cheap once you get past the initial investment of the phone.
Thanks. That is interesting!
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Old 01-29-13, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I hardly ever use "talk" on my phone. Sprint charges something like $85 a month for unlimited talk/text/data but Verizon charges only $35 for 300 mins talk and unlimited text/data. If I need to make a long call to family then I just use skype on my phone with wifi at home or at a coffee shop. Pretty cheap once you get past the initial investment of the phone.
I have a T-Mobile pay-as-you-go phone. Pay $100 for 1000 minutes. This usually lasts me a year, as I hate talking on the phone. No texting in this price. But that's ok as I hate typing on a phone.

What's data?
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Old 01-29-13, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
(nada)
I can't disagree.

(PS. you can't quote anyone who has actually said nothing! I inserted some text in the quote (the word "nada") and it worked as you see it.)
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Old 01-29-13, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
I can't disagree.

(PS. you can't quote anyone who has actually said nothing! I inserted some text in the quote (the word "nada") and it worked as you see it.)
Ah, but there is something there....
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Old 01-29-13, 11:16 PM
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Roody
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Go Phone
I like TracFone, but it's expensive if you talk a lot. Now I'm on Metro PCS--$25/month for unlimited talk and text. I can pay my bill online or at a store less than a block from my house.
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Old 01-30-13, 12:31 AM
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no1mad 
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Wife and I both have Tracfone. Her phone came with triple minutes for life and mine came with double minutes for life. I rarely use my phone, as I also have a Google Voice number that allows me to make unlimited voice calls and text messages. I'll text my wife from the laptop, she'll respond and it goes to both the phone and the laptop. I simply delete the message w/o viewing in on the phone to save the cost. However, for those who need a bit more airtime for voice or data, you might check out an outfit called ting.
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