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

Domromer 10-25-07 11:49 PM

I just re-read the past 10 pages. I didn't realize the home owning horse had been beaten over and over.

MyBikeGotStolen 10-26-07 06:43 AM

The thing about house payments though, is that they end. And then you get to keep that $1000 or what ever a month. Rent never ends.

Actually my dad finds old mobile homes, takes out a 10 year loan on them and puts usually about $1000 worth of work into them. He does all the labor so its just around $1000 in materials. He then sets the rent at whatever his monthly payments are. So in 10 years, his job is to just make sure someone is paying rent there at all times and he has basically a free house - a little labor.

In less then a year now, he will have 10 rental houses paid off and he will be making a little over $6000 a month (or $1500 a week). And he has been doing it since about 1982.

He also works full time, so thats kind of like his "side job" money that he earns on the weekends and after work. He says he will retire and be able to live off of that money but he thinks he needs 2 more houses before he does that. I guess $6000 a month isnt enough to buy a new gun every week and stay at the range :rolleyes:

Versa2nr 10-26-07 10:05 AM


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!

I am curious as to experiences that you have had while living life destitute. What were some of the experiences that you had? How did you occupy your time? Did you move around a lot or stay in a single area? did you panhandle?

Specialized fan 10-26-07 04:00 PM


Originally Posted by Versa2nr (Post 5525653)
I am curious as to experiences that you have had while living life destitute. What were some of the experiences that you had? How did you occupy your time? Did you move around a lot or stay in a single area? did you panhandle?

I was not destitute as I worked at Douglas building airplanes and lived in Lake wood country club. My money went to flying lessons, but there were many time like getting groceries or getting a date where I wish I had a car. The live style worked over all as it took me 10 minutes to ride to work and 15 minutes from my Helicopter lesson. I got laid off one fine day and suddenly I realized a car would be handy for job searches and going to an interview all sweaty and smelling of bo is not a good plan. I at one time thought and did live car free as I was single with no ties and it over all worked, but now I have a wife 2 kids and a mortgage in the burbs thus needing at least 2 vehicles, but I am happier now as I live comfortably I never got my helicopter license as it is very expensive and I just have found other things to do with stocks that have proven more lucrative. I believe that having a vehicle definitely makes life easier.

acroy 10-26-07 04:24 PM

Hmmm, how simply do I live? not very compared to some I guess. but better than others.

Wife - not simple at all
1 kid
2 cars - paid for, reliable, used about 5k total per year. may sell the truck.
3 bikes - bike to work & most errands.
House - have enough in savings to pay it off but my mortgae is cheap. Maintenance can be a b*tch.
Insurance - car, health, life... o yeah, house... i think that's it.
cable bill
phone bill
utilities bill
checking account
401k
IRA - wife's leftover from her independant contractor days.
2 brokerage accounts - neither had everything I wanted

I have things set up to be pretty routine - bills paid by bank draft, etc. keep some reserve in the checking account for "rainy days".

Once I got it all set up, i have to spend maybe 1 or 2 hours a month dealing with the paperwork of life. Doing my taxes takes 4-8hrs once a year. the rest of the time I work & play. It's not a bad life ;)

cheers

cyclezealot 11-04-07 01:57 PM

this past week , between my cycling errands, my wife cycling to class and the two weeks earlier, on vacation. Using the trains mostly and city transit. Our car has not cranked over in almost four weeks. Should I start it up. the battery is fairly new. One does not start up a car in over a month, does the battery get weak from lack of use. Maybe I better start it up before we need go somewhere. No plans to use the car for the next couple days. I am a very determined utility cycist. I will commute to a grocery store 2 or 3 times in a day being each time my panniers are full. Rather than go to the store once in the car.

Versa2nr 11-04-07 02:25 PM


Originally Posted by Specialized fan (Post 5527876)
I was not destitute as I worked at Douglas building airplanes and lived in Lake wood country club. My money went to flying lessons, but there were many time like getting groceries or getting a date where I wish I had a car. The live style worked over all as it took me 10 minutes to ride to work and 15 minutes from my Helicopter lesson. I got laid off one fine day and suddenly I realized a car would be handy for job searches and going to an interview all sweaty and smelling of bo is not a good plan. I at one time thought and did live car free as I was single with no ties and it over all worked, but now I have a wife 2 kids and a mortgage in the burbs thus needing at least 2 vehicles, but I am happier now as I live comfortably I never got my helicopter license as it is very expensive and I just have found other things to do with stocks that have proven more lucrative. I believe that having a vehicle definitely makes life easier.


Ah I see. dont get me wrong, cars are great. I gave mine up to the fiancee after just buying it in May of this year. I find it more liberating to be without. We use it for long distance trips and she uses it for work. We share a ride to school and I usually bike home since my classes go longer than hers do. In this day and age it is very difficult to get around, especially in some of the more spread out areas.

I am thinking instead of the living as a bum, maybe doing a coast to coast ride would be more of the experience I am looking for.

cyclezealot 11-04-07 04:18 PM

One time we biked into some guy from upstate New York. He often set up a tarp and slept out in the wide open spaces. He said the police constantly harassed him as some kind of vagabond.

detrieux 11-05-07 05:33 AM

cyclezealot,

I would recommend you starting the vehicle and letting it run until the engine warms up to normal operating temperature. Do this at least monthly if not twice a month.

My brother left his vehicle set for to long and a push rod seized in the engine due to lack of lubrication. Cost about $1000 to fix.

Just my $.02

MyBikeGotStolen 11-05-07 07:13 PM

My battery died while my car was just sitting and then it sat dead for too long and one of the cells died on it. Luckily it was still 2 months left on the battery warrenty so I could change it out for free.

I know it was just a bad timing thing, but you definatly should crank it up atleast once a month like det suggested.

estutjaweh 12-12-07 12:54 PM

So, I live simple!
Own a couple of bicycles, two guitars and a laptop.
No stereo, no TV, no coffee machine, no pots and/or pans (no appliances at all infact except a fridge and an oven), no dishwasher, no motorbike, no car, no woman and no pets.
Just me, my work and my boredom.
GREAT!!!

bigjim1 12-18-07 10:49 AM

[QUOTE]
Just me, my work and my boredom
[/QUOTE]
just a matter of dumping the work then?

Jim

sf1901 01-03-08 04:27 AM

Happy New Year all! After reading all the insightful, inspirational, and informational replies, this has motivated me to get simplified, organized, and live car free. I have been commuting by bike for four months and now I have been doing all my errands, and shopping by bike as well. I also converted one of my bikes into an electric bike to give more freedom to go anywhere. I have taken out my Burly trailer that I usally used for camping and I decided to put it to better use. So far, I have loaded up my trailer and donated my books to the library, donated my clothes to non-profit organization, and sold all my dvds to a game store. Man, that feels good. I also called my local garbage collector to pick my all my junk in my garage and backyard. So, my New Years resolution this year is to get organized and go car-lite. So far so good. Thanks all for this wonderful forum!

As Gandhi said, "be the change you want to see in the world." You’re all doing that, which helps the world do that. Ride on!

jk610 01-03-08 01:36 PM

Ive always been a pretty strict minimalist even before I moved out on my own. I dont own very many things, and if I dont use it I either give it away, sell it, or toss it. Thats not to say I dont have a few toys but nothing on the scale of most of my friends and family. I recently sold my car and now walk, bike ride, or take the bus every where I go. Which is easy because I live in Philadelphia. I dont use much electricity or heat and my utility bills usually total less than $100 a month. Now I just have to work on spending my money more effectively on food. I have very limited cooking experience therefore I still tend to buy a lot of food instead of preparing it myself. In 2008, one of my resolutions is to get to the farmers market every weekend and come up with some sustainable dishes I can see myself eating a lot.

cyclehen 01-27-08 06:58 PM


Originally Posted by Mtn Mike (Post 2019467)
I'll be one of the first to admit that I do not think I live minimally. I very much admire those of you who live minimally and are happy doing so. I lived fairly minimally throughout college and grad school (out of financial necessity), but even then still fancied the "finer things", such as computers, music, and of course bicycles. Now, I tend to buy what I want to, even if it's an impulse buy, and not feel too bad about it. I don't think I could list all of my possessions without spending a decent amount of time taking inventory of the house and garage. I'm sure I don't need everything I have. There are some things which I could have, but have no desire to own (such as big screen TVs, entertainment systems, cars, nice furniture, kitchenware, ect). But pretty much, if I want something, I buy it. :o

Simplicity for me is not so much about number of things or absence of things. Some have needs others don't have... for instance, it requires somewhat more (or maybe different is a better word) provisioning to provide an adequate home environment for a school-aged child or a person with a disability. Some people would lose their jobs if dressed for work as if they are homeless. For me, simplicity is about one's attitude toward things. Does the thing better your life and/or the lives of those around you? Does this betterment outweigh costs (economic, social, environmental, etc?). I don't think having a nice bike with features that improve your enjoyment of riding is in any way a conflict with living "simply". All that said, it is amazing how little "stuff" one really needs, and how good it feels to be liberated from excess stuff.

TheFool 01-28-08 03:48 PM

I don't know if I live simply or not. Instead I try to always be learning more about *how* to live. That is, how to do things, how to make things, how to grow things, how to interact with people. Not to get *too* philisophical, but it ends up being an excercise in how to be more in touch with, basically, reality. This is how I recently got interested in bikes-- a transportation machine I can learn to fix and modify myself...

Newspaperguy 01-28-08 08:37 PM


Originally Posted by TheFool (Post 6066355)
I don't know if I live simply or not. Instead I try to always be learning more about *how* to live. That is, how to do things, how to make things, how to grow things, how to interact with people. Not to get *too* philisophical, but it ends up being an excercise in how to be more in touch with, basically, reality. This is how I recently got interested in bikes-- a transportation machine I can learn to fix and modify myself...

That's quite deep. If you're getting in touch with reality, you're moving to something more profound than simplicity. You, sir, are no fool.

TheFool 01-29-08 07:16 AM

Well, don't expect that I somehow live up to my ideals or words or philosophies... :)


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 6068100)
You, sir, are no fool.

Well, The Fool in the tarot deck is actually the neophyte, who is yet to be enlightened, but I like to think, has his eyes innocently (an naively) open, as he undertakes his life's journey. I also like to think that he is having a more or less good time and has a sense of humor about his setbacks :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_(Tarot_card)

Mahatma Zombie 01-29-08 11:05 AM


Originally Posted by TheFool (Post 6066355)
I don't know if I live simply or not. Instead I try to always be learning more about *how* to live. That is, how to do things, how to make things, how to grow things, how to interact with people. Not to get *too* philisophical, but it ends up being an excercise in how to be more in touch with, basically, reality. This is how I recently got interested in bikes-- a transportation machine I can learn to fix and modify myself...

I Couldn't have said it better my man! I strive to do the same! It seems as though nobody has a clue how to do things for themselves. Self reliance is key!

crhilton 01-30-08 06:21 PM

(To the first post)

So, you only own one bike?!

Big2wheeler 02-01-08 06:55 PM

simplicity
 
Just stumbled upon and spent a while digesting this thread.
I have studied simple living, I think it's a direction to head rather than a destination to arrive at, much like sustainability, its conceptual cousin. I recommend the Northwest Earth Institute which offers discussion courses at reasonable cost, in my neck of the woods there is an Eastern Heartland Earth Institute anyway it is just to get discussions going among folks not to tell anyone what they should think on the matter. In addition there is a book Your Money Or Your Life that many folks have found useful.

My own challenges are many on the simplicity path. But each year I make progress toward sustainability. By and large I think simplicity is just paring down your life "things" to what you "need" based on your identification and validation of your own core values that should be something you are proud to stand up for in your community, family and to those who come after us. I want to live in a sense of balance with the earth and the future living things that will inhabit it.

I have a vegetable garden and compost in my backyard all that grows on site as well as any vegetable scraps. I've planted many trees and shrubs on the property (native species mostly, preferring those that have edible fruit for humans and wildlife). Our older home has been slowly fixed up to our liking and we are adding energy efficient features whenever the chance arises. Last year it was new windows with low-e glass and I went out of my way to insulate the sash weight pocket cavities before they were installed.
My wife drives our family car a Prius for errands, and bikes our son to school in warmer weather. I also own but rarely drive a 2000 Insight. I commuted in it for several years when my office was located on a narrow 2-lane road by a bunch of trucking warehouses. No shoulder meant I couldn't safely bike there. The last 2 years I've been commuting by bike and bus to my office as it moved downtown, 5 miles away from home. 2 other cars sit parked most of the time at the curb-- they are old and paid for, and useful sometimes for camping trips, hauling junk, etc.

Before that my wife and I made some big decisions together to line up our choices about where we would live and work, to enable us to have a chance for her to stay home and help raise our son for a few years. This involved moving from the west coast bustle back to my midwestern city of origin, where we were happily surprised to see how much home we could afford for much less money. I still miss Seattle but it's been good for us in many ways to be where we are now.

Biking to work rocks. When/if I take the bus, it takes me 50% longer than biking. Plus no exercise. But I'm still trying to figure out the cold weather biking gear. The bus in my town is not ridden by many people from my neighborhood, it mostly serves the inner city poor.

Some things that I do which aren't, on the face of it, simple
, but I love doing them:
I recycle. I go out of my way to pick up recyclable stuff and get it recycled rather than seeing the resources wasted in the landfill or just scattered around the countryside as litter. I pick up trash to keep it out of the local river, including many tires and other junk.
I also tinker with bikes.Tinkering with bikes is not simple because I have a lot of spare parts, never know when one of them will come in handy to fix up a bike for me, a friend or family member. I try to keep them organized. I don't like the new sealed bearing cartridges because I don't know how to fix them or where to buy replacements. I am still learning more about threads and compatibilities, and still lack some of the more exotic tools like a head tube facing cutter. I don't know how to adjust all the different new bottom brackets and brifter systems out there nowadays either.
Note: I am however riding a singlespeed this winter, for the sheer simplicity (it's fun and plenty fast!).
I do collect bikes. My dad had this problem, but he also collects larger motorized farm implements... another story! I have probably about 12 bikes and 4 more frames on top of that. I'm trying to downsize... and will, come spring. Meanwhile, there are bikes for every purpose, as we all know... Bottom line: the bike that gets ridden today by me, is the one that helps me be car-free for that day. Hell, I'll probably bequeath some of my bikes to my descendants, they will still be maintained and rideable unlike most cars that will be in junkyards long before that.

I realize this is a rambling post, I have indeed spent much of the past afternoon (home today resting up from a flu, checking out the bike forums) reading this thread.

I also recommend checking several online resources:
Simply Living.org, a local group with much to offer on this topic
GRIST.org

Finally I think that living car-free is awesome for those who can. Choices about where you dwell, affect your freedom in transportation options. If you are lucky you can find the sweet spot where less of your money and time is spent maintaining the unsustainable car lifestyle.

I think the burbs are a big part of the problem, by the way. Cul de sacs, land rovers with brush guards on the fronts, and the idea that "Ive got mine, now go away" bespeak the lack of community that will never be sustainable in the end. Not to mention, they aren't very bikeable. We need to work together, stop segregating the haves and the have nots, and fix the city schools rather than flee them.

Car-free, Car-lite, etc. for those exploring the topic further, also see Terrapass and Better World Club -- they even offer roadside assistance plans for cyclists!!
What I'd REALLY like to see is a national initiative for Pay As You Drive auto insurance (it only makes sense!) so the true costs of automobile driving would be properly apportioned and more people would see financial benefits from being Car-Free for at least most days of the week or month. That, and a carbon tax on fossil fuel usage.

ataraxium 02-02-08 07:26 AM

Living simply...well if it were a year or two ago then I would have very little to list in the way of belongings. I owned my bike, one bookshelf of books, a dresser from 1940's (all my clothes fit in it), a bamboo nightstand, and a few things of cookware. I didn't own a bed(pallets rock), tv, stereo, or computer...and I was happy this way.

Then I met my soon to be wife. :)

Now, I am still happy, but I own a real bed, two dressers (not my old one), a couch, loveseat, LOTS of kitchenware, dining room table, big ol' TV. My life has increased in complexity a great deal. I will be honest, my home has never been more cluttered and I feel like I am suffocating in useless crap. I love the woman to death, but a minimalist she ain't. She was brought up to believe that everyone should want the large house, white picket fence, two cars, and all nice stuff. Myself, I was brought up in the country with well water, farming, and hunting as our main way of subsistence. For me function is the only thing to be taken into consideration, not form. This is one of the most often points of clashing between us. I look at all this and say to myself "Look at all of this money that is just sitting here taking up space." We are looking at buying a small starter house. If this happens, I am going to make the move a major starting point for some simplification as I am will be working toward a conversion of the house to a more green and self-sustainable level.

Oh well. Such is the nature of the married man's "compromises". ;)

TheFool 02-03-08 09:43 AM

Thanks Big2Wheeler and ataraxium. No sense in trying to be some kind of purist. Nothing wrong with comprimise. My wife and I live far away from where each of us currently works (and therefore we each drive) so that we can each do interesting and meaningful work and make enough to save for the future, but also live in a good community where we can work by ourselves and with neighbors on local self sufficiency and sustainability. Self sufficiency is a contradiction, really, you need to be part of some kind of local system or community. Any changes in how we all live are not going to happen by everyone radically changing overnight. Changes will be small and, I hope, be part of an integrated way of improving our towns and neighborhoods, along many dimensions.

gz_ 02-03-08 11:02 AM

Wow, I'm just floored by this thread. I had no idea other people try to live like this. I thought I was the only one because every house/apartment I visit is filled with DVDs, Ikea accents, TV, Wii, kitchen stuff, exercise equipment, etc.

I've been living a simple life ever since reading Into the Wild as a kid and am happy with my living situation. I live in a small cottage 1mi from work, no A/C, no dishwasher, no TV, no washer/dryer, no landline, very little furniture (no dresser since I have shelves in a closet), cook most nights, etc. and am proud to live that way. Unfortunately I feel really bad when I have people over because my place is so barren and people feel sorry for me because I own so little and walk to work. Gets really annoying during Christmas and my birthday because people feel obligated to give me things and I just don't need anything.

Anyways, I'm really glad other people live like I do and even more so. Huge relief because I thought I was all alone. Lot of great tips in this thread too, thanks. Myself I recommend Vanguard for investing/saving since they have really low expense ratio index funds (hell, the founder invented the index fund), everything can be done online, and they will only mail you something if they are legally required too. Also I really like my Nintendo DS, the unit and games take up hardly any space and is great fun. And if you have an extra closet you can just put shelves in it to use it as a dresser. Peace!

Artkansas 02-13-08 06:06 PM


Originally Posted by jk610 (Post 5916576)
In 2008, one of my resolutions is to get to the farmers market every weekend and come up with some sustainable dishes I can see myself eating a lot.

Also, go around to garage sales and especially estate sales and pick yourself up some good cookware. Look for cast iron skillets and Revere ware pots and pans. Make sure that the bottoms are all flat. If they are bent, they will never cook evenly. A pyrex 2 cup measure and a flipper, a set of measuring cups and a variety of knives should start you. You will learn what else is needed as you cook more. Look for quality.

You can look at thrift stores, but I find that most of the thrift store stuff is beaten. That's why estate sales are best, you can get sets of stuff and it tends to be in good shape.

Look around for cooking classes. They are great places to meet girls.

FXjohn 02-13-08 06:28 PM

makes a lot of sense. drive around looking for used cookware spending your free time and money on gas when you could just buy a skillet and a couple of pots new.

wahoonc 02-13-08 06:39 PM


Originally Posted by FXjohn (Post 6160689)
makes a lot of sense. drive around looking for used cookware spending your free time and money on gas when you could just buy a skillet and a couple of pots new.

Depends on how you do it...I have stopped by a couple of estate sales just because I happened to be in the area, and scored various items that I had been looking for. In one case it was an antique radio that my brother was looking for to add to his collection. In another it was a brand new still in the box Mirro pressure cooker in a larger size, paid less than 2 cents on the dollar compared to what a new one ordered from where ever would have cost.

Aaron:)

Abneycat 02-13-08 07:11 PM

I don't live as simply as I would like to. I've tried to make my life as simple as possible, but I live within obligations at the moment that prevent going much farther.

Roody 02-14-08 02:34 PM


Originally Posted by FXjohn (Post 6160689)
makes a lot of sense. drive around looking for used cookware spending your free time and money on gas when you could just buy a skillet and a couple of pots new.

Well, I think most of us would not drive around looking for cookware, we would ride our bikes. :p

It gets to be a self-sustaining habit. You stop at yard sales, etc, and you have a mental list of things you need. You buy them when you see them. For example, one thing I'm always looking for is cashmere and merino sweaters. Every so often I find one for a couple bucks and I buy it. It's such a luxurious feeling to use a $300 cashmere sweater as an undershirt. Especially when it cost you less than most new T-shirts! :)

Of course if you need a particular item right away, it often makes more sense to purchase it new.

kbabin 02-15-08 07:22 AM


Originally Posted by FXjohn (Post 6160689)
makes a lot of sense. drive around looking for used cookware spending your free time and money on gas when you could just buy a skillet and a couple of pots new.

We ride our bikes to the farmer market and stop off at garage sales during the trip. If we want to buy something that won't fit on the bike, we ask if we can pay and come back. If they say no, they loose a sale.


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