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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

JoeyBike 08-15-07 02:48 PM


Originally Posted by iBarna (Post 1993387)
This topic came up in the 'lurkers' thread, and so I'm making it into its own topic.

I have always (well, ever since I wasn't a teenager anymore) liked simple living. I always strive to reduce the number of things I own. Currently I think that apart from a few pieces of furniture (mattress, three comfy chairs in the living room, a rug and the cat tree) I could fit my life into three moving boxes.

I can happily live out of four bicycle panniers. Have done that for over two years (total) of my life, normally three to six months at a time.

Otherwise, my lifestyle WAS pretty much as yours, except I owned no less than three bikes, and rented all of my furniture. Sometimes I would rent an empty apartment and buy a folding card table with two folding chairs from Wally World. I would sleep on a Therma-Rest mat on the floor. I would buy a nice skillet, and cook in my camping pots. Then when it was time for the next bike trip, lean the table and chairs against the apartment dumpster, load the bike, and hit the road. That lasted from age 30 through 37.

Then I got married to an awesome woman. She owns a house. I am now 49 and still pretty much junk-free, but not nearly so as before. If I thought of everything in that house as "ours" I would have lots of junk. But most of the "stuff" we own I believe is HERS! She owns a car, I still do not. She owns fifty pieces of cookware, I use three. She owns twenty window dressings (curtains), I look out of the windows. She picked and paid for all of the furniture, I have one favorite spot on the sofa. I do look at the bed as ours. I own 4 bikes, all of which I ride, she owns one bike that she never rides. I own five pairs of shoes that I wear, she owns fifty pairs of which she wears five.

So I guess I am now sort of a closet Thoreauvian. I still take off and hit the road with just four panniers every couple of years! Keeps me aware of what I REALLY need.

JoeyBike 08-15-07 03:17 PM


Originally Posted by FXjohn (Post 5050092)
:rolleyes: <snicker>

Even though I uttered a small snicker to myself when I read that comment on Cristy's post, I had the awareness to realize that this lady (named after Christ, so you know religion runs deep in her family) is seeking answers on a BICYCLE forum! Proof that she is aware (on some level) the church may not have all the answers that she seeks. So she finds this place, which we all agree is chock full of information, and takes the time to type a really long post, which I interpreted as an honest appeal for help in an area where REAL PROVEN - no faith required - no collection plate passed - advice may be found. She could have gone to any number of religious forums if she really wanted a faith-based response. But she came here. And what did she find?

Sarcasm.

I thank you sir, because up until now, I thought I was the biggest jerk here.

hero419 08-29-07 08:29 AM

I am the complete opposite!
I don't even know how it would be possible to "live simple"
If you live in the country, you cant rent, you need to own a home.
If you own a home you need basic tools....
Does "living simple" leave less of an impact on the earth? I think it must be more of a "mental cleansing" thing.
If you rent it really doesn't cut down on material items. Someone still needs to own tools and such to maintain that property.

Maybe I am way of track. But unless you live off the land, how can you only have a few boxes worth of items?

I hope this post makes me sound only uneducated on the subject and not just plain dumb.

cadillacmike68 09-01-07 05:21 PM


Originally Posted by girona (Post 5051699)
Get rid off your TV. That's a start, after all TV is just a method of piping in advertisements with bits of entertainment throwed in to keep us watching it. And advertisements are there to make you buy things.
Most of us don't realize how influential TV commercials are.
Plus most of the entertainment on TV is garbage anyway.

What is rid doing ON my TV so that i have to get him off it? :D

I live simply - simply - compared to paris hilton and her sidekick!

I can't remember the last time I bought something because I saw it on TV.

Now if you'll all excuse me, I have to get over to the Cadillacforums web site to talk about FEDs (Fleetwoods, ElDorados and DeVilles - oh yes and the CTS)

Newspaperguy 09-01-07 09:05 PM

When I was widowed four years ago, I made an effort to simplify my life and remove the clutter.

I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff from my house. With each load I took to the thrift shops or the landfill, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. There were things I simply didn't need or want. There had been a reason for acquiring them, but the reasons were no longer valid. My life has changed and with it, my needs have changed. There are also things I've picked up during this period, but in each case, I was careful to ask myself if a purchase was needed and if I was getting good value. I've never been a big spender, but I'm now saving more money than ever before.

I've also simplified my calendar and my schedule. I've gotten involved with some things and I've dropped out of others. I believe in getting involved in my community, but I also need to have time for myself and time with the people I care about. I won't get involved with any organization, no matter how noble it may sound, if it's not a passion for me. This is not to put down any worthwhile cause or organization, but unless I'm truly interested, I won't give it the attention it deserves. I rejected one group partly because their meetings were on my busiest work day and partly because I didn't have the enthusiasm for their goals, as worthwhile as they are.

During this process, I've had to accept that there are things I won't be able to accomplish during my lifetime. I simply don't have time for everything I'd like to do. Again, this is about determining what is important to me. The freedom to abandon some projects has been extremely liberating.

My life, my time and my money are gifts from God. With these gifts comes the responsibility to use them responsibly. If I can do that, I can begin to achieve simplicity.

oldfool 09-02-07 07:19 AM


Originally Posted by hero419 (Post 5167246)
I am the complete opposite!
I don't even know how it would be possible to "live simple"
If you live in the country, you cant rent, you need to own a home.
If you own a home you need basic tools....
Does "living simple" leave less of an impact on the earth? I think it must be more of a "mental cleansing" thing.
If you rent it really doesn't cut down on material items. Someone still needs to own tools and such to maintain that property.

Maybe I am way of track. But unless you live off the land, how can you only have a few boxes worth of items?

I hope this post makes me sound only uneducated on the subject and not just plain dumb.

You sound neither uneducated or dumb. Sounds to me like you pretty much have it figured out.

Platy 09-02-07 08:59 AM

I think "living simply" boils down in most cases to being debt free.

cadillacmike68 09-05-07 10:58 PM


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 5192475)
When I was widowed four years ago, I made an effort to simplify my life and remove the clutter.

I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff from my house. With each load I took to the thrift shops or the landfill, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. There were things I simply didn't need or want. There had been a reason for acquiring them, but the reasons were no longer valid. My life has changed and with it, my needs have changed. There are also things I've picked up during this period, but in each case, I was careful to ask myself if a purchase was needed and if I was getting good value. I've never been a big spender, but I'm now saving more money than ever before.

My life, my time and my money are gifts from God. With these gifts comes the responsibility to use them responsibly. If I can do that, I can begin to achieve simplicity.

My wife and I need to de-clutter - our house is going to burst at the seams. ebay to the rescue!

Anthony872 09-06-07 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by girona (Post 5051699)
Get rid off your TV. That's a start, after all TV is just a method of piping in advertisements with bits of entertainment throwed in to keep us watching it. And advertisements are there to make you buy things.
Most of us don't realize how influential TV commercials are.
Plus most of the entertainment on TV is garbage anyway.

I Just did :)

Cowtown Cumuter 09-26-07 08:39 AM

I have way too much stuff, but I also have a family of four and that makes it difficult to manage the clutter sometimes. My Wife and I do our best to keep it to a minimum but the kids sure like having lots of stuff.

Specialized fan 09-26-07 02:32 PM


Originally Posted by hero419 (Post 5167246)
I am the complete opposite!
I don't even know how it would be possible to "live simple"
If you live in the country, you cant rent, you need to own a home.
If you own a home you need basic tools....
Does "living simple" leave less of an impact on the earth? I think it must be more of a "mental cleansing" thing.
If you rent it really doesn't cut down on material items. Someone still needs to own tools and such to maintain that property.

Maybe I am way of track. But unless you live off the land, how can you only have a few boxes worth of items?

I hope this post makes me sound only uneducated on the subject and not just plain dumb.

I also am on the opposite end of the simple living scale. I have lived simply much of my life, and it sucks. I now have 2 cars one big SUV, a flat screen TV plus 3 other tvs through out the house an 3 computers and will add more. I am now addicted to comfort and don't want to give it up.

Tri-FatBoy 09-30-07 02:15 PM


Originally Posted by Specialized fan (Post 5339254)
I also am on the opposite end of the simple living scale. I have lived simply much of my life, and it sucks. I now have 2 cars one big SUV, a flat screen TV plus 3 other tvs through out the house an 3 computers and will add more. I am now addicted to comfort and don't want to give it up.

Well, not withstanding my wife & kids stuff, I'm down to 3 bikes (soon to be 2) and my computer addiction: 2 laptops, 4 servers, and 42U of other misc network gear. Outside of that however, I can more or less live out of my camelback as needed.

We do have a house, and 2 cars (cars paid for, house is not) and all of the wonderful things that come along with kids (toys, toys, and more toys).

We are slowly getting down to 2 TV's 1 in the guest room and one in the 'game' room, the wife doesn't want to give it up completely.

~fatBoy
http://trifatboy.com

T-Mar 10-19-07 06:21 AM

My Dad died this past spring and cleaning out his house really brought home how much stuff we collect over the years. I admire your philsophy and though I am not anywhere near as frugal, I have never owned a car or even had a license for one. However, the big limitation for me in leading a more frugal life is the spouse and teenager. They love to spend and collect things. So I was just wondering, how many of you have spouses and/or kids living with you?

WriteABike 10-19-07 09:32 AM

I have a wife and two little girls living with me. A few weeks ago, I went on a rant about how we have too much junk. (Specifically cheap toys from China. They get scattered all over the house, and more and more keep sneaking in.) The next day while I was at work, my wife (bless her) bagged up nearly all of the kids' toys and put them in the closet. Our whole house is much tidier now, and the kids are just as happy with only a few toys. (Or happier! I think they get as overwhelmed by the mess as I do.)

My wife didn't like the idea of putting all the toys into storage, but she appreciates it now. The kids hardly noticed. All they really need to have a great time is two dolls and some couch cushions. Outside, all they need is gravel and buckets. Despite having so much stuff given to them, they still know how to live simply. I'd like to keep it that way. (It would make life much easier in ten years.)

Versa2nr 10-24-07 05:37 PM

I have spent the last few hours just perusing through this thread and I have to say I find it very interesting. I myself am not one to criticize the way someone else lives and I have found myself interested in finding out how others in society go about on a day to day basis.

For me I am actually considering becoming a bum for a year. I am 27 now and it is something that I have thought about. I guess you could call it a study in modern civilization. I wouldnt be truly a bum but lving on no more than 60 dollars a week. If anything just walking everywhere and not having anything that I couldnt carry with me.

It seems the greater part of society is infatuated with "keeping up with the Jonses" and living a life on easy street. I guess for me I want to better understand things and I am actually wanting to do this in search of enlightenment. I guess in order to best understand the man you would have to be the man.

Specialized fan 10-24-07 05:46 PM


Originally Posted by Versa2nr (Post 5515465)
I have spent the last few hours just perusing through this thread and I have to say I find it very interesting. I myself am not one to criticize the way someone else lives and I have found myself interested in finding out how others in society go about on a day to day basis.

For me I am actually considering becoming a bum for a year. I am 27 now and it is something that I have thought about. I guess you could call it a study in modern civilization. I wouldnt be truly a bum but lving on no more than 60 dollars a week. If anything just walking everywhere and not having anything that I couldnt carry with me.

It seems the greater part of society is infatuated with "keeping up with the Jonses" and living a life on easy street. I guess for me I want to better understand things and I am actually wanting to do this in search of enlightenment. I guess in order to best understand the man you would have to be the man.

I have been there and done that too and it sucks! I'll take easy street any day!

wahoonc 10-24-07 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by Specialized fan (Post 5515528)
I have been there and done that too and it sucks! I'll take easy street any day!

And how will you adapt when "easy street" goes away? I think those of us that chose to live simply and below our means are going to be way ahead of the game come economic/environmental disaster (which ever gets here first) FWIW I could lose my job today and not have to really worry about it for quite some time. I have plenty of creature comforts, and have never gone hungry. What more do you really need other than shelter and food? The rest is all just window dressing.

Aaron:)

wahoonc 10-24-07 06:39 PM


Originally Posted by WriteABike (Post 5484016)
I have a wife and two little girls living with me. A few weeks ago, I went on a rant about how we have too much junk. (Specifically cheap toys from China. They get scattered all over the house, and more and more keep sneaking in.) The next day while I was at work, my wife (bless her) bagged up nearly all of the kids' toys and put them in the closet. Our whole house is much tidier now, and the kids are just as happy with only a few toys. (Or happier! I think they get as overwhelmed by the mess as I do.)

My wife didn't like the idea of putting all the toys into storage, but she appreciates it now. The kids hardly noticed. All they really need to have a great time is two dolls and some couch cushions. Outside, all they need is gravel and buckets. Despite having so much stuff given to them, they still know how to live simply. I'd like to keep it that way. (It would make life much easier in ten years.)

Been there done that! When my two were much younger we had a house rule. If dad picked the toys up they went in a box at the bottom of the stairs, the stuff in the box was supposed to be put away every night. At the end of the week the stuff in the box got bagged up, 2 weeks later it went to the local thrift store. Today's kids have waaaay too much junk...and most adults too:rolleyes:

Aaron:)

Specialized fan 10-24-07 10:11 PM


Originally Posted by wahoonc (Post 5515853)
And how will you adapt when "easy street" goes away? I think those of us that chose to live simply and below our means are going to be way ahead of the game come economic/environmental disaster (which ever gets here first) FWIW I could lose my job today and not have to really worry about it for quite some time. I have plenty of creature comforts, and have never gone hungry. What more do you really need other than shelter and food? The rest is all just window dressing.

Aaron:)

Easy street will not go away as I have many investments in a diversified portfolio.

Newspaperguy 10-24-07 11:20 PM


Originally Posted by Specialized fan (Post 5516961)
Easy street will not go away as I have many investments in a diversified portfolio.

That's very wise, Specialized fan. It's a good idea to have investments, savings and assets set aside. You're in much better financial shape than a lot of people I know. I wish others would follow your example and plan for the future.

Preparation work can get you through a lot of bad scenarios, but the best investment portfolio is not a guarantee of a perpetual Easy Street. Wars, revolution, disease, widespread market collapse and other factors can penetrate the strongest investment plans. There are far too many stories, just from the past century, of refugees who were once wealthy but escaped their homes with just the clothes on their backs. It could happen again.

Platy 10-25-07 12:18 AM


Originally Posted by Specialized fan (Post 5516961)
Easy street will not go away as I have many investments in a diversified portfolio.

Excellent. May the wind always be at your back, and may all your asset classes remain uncorrelated!

Specialized fan 10-25-07 12:29 AM


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 5517252)
That's very wise, Specialized fan. It's a good idea to have investments, savings and assets set aside. You're in much better financial shape than a lot of people I know. I wish others would follow your example and plan for the future.

Preparation work can get you through a lot of bad scenarios, but the best investment portfolio is not a guarantee of a perpetual Easy Street. Wars, revolution, disease, widespread market collapse and other factors can penetrate the strongest investment plans. There are far too many stories, just from the past century, of refugees who were once wealthy but escaped their homes with just the clothes on their backs. It could happen again.

You're right nothing is full proof, but believe it or not I do live below my means as my neighbors have big motor homes, boats and get this golf carts to go down the block to their friends house or the mail box, and I live nowhere near a golf course. There is no way in hell you would ever see me buying a boat or a golf cart!, that is way beyond ridiculous! They always say I need a golf cart and I say I have one built by GM it has Onstar and all I ever need.I raced their golf cart on my mountain bike and won, it was funny.

Newspaperguy 10-25-07 02:18 AM

Living below your means, no matter what your income, is probably the single biggest step towards simplicity and sustainability. Living on credit and borrowed money is a recipe for disaster.

Domromer 10-25-07 08:21 AM

I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.

Roody 10-25-07 12:36 PM


Originally Posted by Versa2nr (Post 5515465)
I have spent the last few hours just perusing through this thread and I have to say I find it very interesting. I myself am not one to criticize the way someone else lives and I have found myself interested in finding out how others in society go about on a day to day basis.

For me I am actually considering becoming a bum for a year. I am 27 now and it is something that I have thought about. I guess you could call it a study in modern civilization. I wouldnt be truly a bum but lving on no more than 60 dollars a week. If anything just walking everywhere and not having anything that I couldnt carry with me.

It seems the greater part of society is infatuated with "keeping up with the Jonses" and living a life on easy street. I guess for me I want to better understand things and I am actually wanting to do this in search of enlightenment. I guess in order to best understand the man you would have to be the man.

I think that's an interesting plan. I have a friend who lives on about $25 a week and she claims to be quite happy.

Some things you might want to research are freegan (or fregan), feral living, paleolithic living and squatting. Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson is a great illustration of this and other simple lifestyles. The ultimate source book is probably Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

Or maybe you'd rather just figure it out for yourself. Make it up as you go along! :)

wahoonc 10-25-07 06:11 PM


Originally Posted by Domromer (Post 5518293)
I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.

If the market is stable and prices increase. There are alot of houses on the market right now where people paid too much and now can't sell it for what they owe. This also happens in areas where industry shuts down and goes away, like Detroit. Yes you can keep it your entire life, but I am not sure how much good that will do you if your job goes halfway across the country and you have to move. I used to own some rental properties and have since gotten rid of all but a couple of the better ones, they weren't worth the hassle. Also FWIW I had one house that I bought and ended up selling at a slight loss when the neighborhood got cut off and went down hill. In many cases rent can be a good thing, especially if you are not going to be in an area for a long period of time or if the houses in the market are overvalued.

Aaron:)

Newspaperguy 10-25-07 07:05 PM


Originally Posted by Domromer (Post 5518293)
I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.

A decade ago, I could have spent $150,000 for an average house here. Today that same average house will set me back around $400,000. That should bring me $250,000 in clear profit. But it doesn't quite work that way. It's a profit on paper only.

If I sell a $400,000 house today, I still need to live somewhere. Any other house I buy will be at or around the same price, so I don't really come out that far ahead if I choose to stay in this town. The only ways I can make a profit are either by buing in an area where property values are rising faster than the average or by buying a fixer-upper and putting a lot of work into it.

I could also realize the profit if I were to relocate to a less desirable area where prices haven't yet started to skyrocket.

qw1a 10-25-07 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by Domromer (Post 5518293)
I don't see how you can see renting being better than owning. You don't earn money on rent, rent isn't tax deductible. I don't see the upside of renting. Owing a house is an investment. You can turn around and re-sell in 2 years and make a profit, or keep it your entire life.

It's simple. If the total monthly payment on your house (including insurance and maintenance) net after tax deductions is smaller then rental payment, then it's a no-brainer - you should buy. Anything past that is a matter of opinion. However, if the monthly interest payment net after tax deductions is bigger then rental payment, it's a no-brainer again - you should rent.

PS. This said, ability to control the property is worth something too - if you planning to get a dog or something, the above equation should change accordingly.

cerewa 10-25-07 08:20 PM


It's simple. If the total monthly payment on your house (including insurance and maintenance) net after tax deductions is smaller then rental payment, then it's a no-brainer - you should buy. Anything past that is a matter of opinion. However, if the monthly interest payment net after tax deductions is bigger then rental payment, it's a no-brainer again - you should rent.

PS. This said, ability to control the property is worth something too - if you planning to get a dog or something, the above equation should change accordingly.
Another factor is size- I rent an apartment in a size that isn't available to own (except maybe small luxury condos, which I highly doubt are a money-saving option). If I tried to own a home, there would be no way to get the price down as low as my rental here except by moving to somewhere far away where I would find myself earning less money. Of course, at a certain level of size-large housing there are usually no homes for rent, but that might not really apply to this discussion.

thegeckoj 10-25-07 11:20 PM

another factor which has been discussed are all the associated costs of owning. if you want to own you tend to have to move farther from where your ideal location is. the farther you move away the more affordable the housing may be but the increase in costs of commuting can increase dramatically as well.


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