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Old 12-07-2007, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
25,107 posts, read 34,361,805 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMachine View Post
Simple means living below your means. We live in a culture where many people are living above and beyond their means. People think they need "things" to be happy. The result of which is that they end up having to work harder and harder to keep up, and they pay more and more money to banks in interest.
Thanks - I'm glad I'm not living beyond our means then
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:17 PM
 
392 posts, read 1,681,602 times
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I was brought up to be frugal but "simple" is something that can elude me at times.
A couple of years ago I pulled back and made some drastic changes to my life to get things much more simple. It is wonderful!
In my last life (it seems there has been many) I was a department manager for a major corp. working in downtown LA. That job entailed all the wonderful pressures of the corporate world, a nightmarish commute and spending to have the clothes and trappings of corporate America.
I tossed it for a job in a small office near my home. I work flex time, I never wake up to an alarm these days. I walk to work and home at lunch if I'm inclined. My car is a 41 year old Plymouth. I walk mostly but it gets me anywhere else I might need to go and only costs about $75 a year to insure.
I rarely go to any stores besides the grocery. I have plenty of clothes (convinced my boss that jeans are fine) and I find trips to big box stores only serve to create needs in me that don't really exist. If I don't know about the latest shiny bauble then I can't decide that I need to have it
It is sort of game to me to find ways to lower my bills. Cheap entertainment and saves $$ so no loss there.
I don't know the Jones so I have no reason to want whatever it is they have. I have plenty of money for the things I enjoy; travel, good food, my hobbies and a very comfortable life.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:34 PM
 
Location: wrong planet
5,115 posts, read 10,033,334 times
Reputation: 4133
Great thread.... my husband and I are living simply. Instead of buying a big house and having a mortgage, we are perfectly happy in our 1200 square foot house. We own 2 cars, both older, but no debt. We paid off our mortgage while we were still in our 30's. My husband works full time and I work part time. He has an "average job".

We do spend a lot of money on food, because I believe in buying organic food, as much as possible and healthy food - junk food is a lot cheaper, but you pay with your health in the long run. When we buy things, we buy good quality items, rather than the cheap junk that won't hold up. I would rather buy an antique oak dresser (for $450) on Ebay, than a new one at the store, which isn't solid wood and the quality leaves a lot to be desired. The one I bought on Ebay is solid wood and so pretty, with character, not made by the thousands in some factory. When I buy appliances I buy good brands with low repair history and energy savers!

We save some money for retirement every paycheck and generally live frugally, no fancy trips and no eating out at fancy restaurants. We do enjoy eating out, but we go to more inexpensive places and love thai and indian foods. I make lunches for my husband every day, rather than him eating out for lunch and we don't smoke or drink, which saves a bit.

Living simply means as much financial independence, as possible for us. No mortgage, no car loans, no big bills hanging over our heads. That is worth a lot more to to me than fancy trips, cars and clothes.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:52 PM
 
Location: in drifts of snow wherever you go
2,493 posts, read 3,060,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katzenfreund View Post
Living simply means as much financial independence, as possible for us. No mortgage, no car loans, no big bills hanging over our heads. That is worth a lot more to to me than fancy trips, cars and clothes.
I agree. Financial independence is worth more than fancy trips. For me, it means feeling like my life is in control and in order. It gives me peace of mind.

I agree with you on buying quality and good food. It's important to eat well. I don't think "simple living" implies that you need to cut out every piece of enjoyment in life. You can still enjoy life. You can still go on vacations and drive a car that you love. You can eat well too. But it means being a little bit more creative and thoughtful on how you spend.

I'm really glad to see so much participation on this thread. I've given out my daily allotment of rep points, so forgive me if I'm not able to rep all of the really good posts here.

Greenie
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Weston, FL and Vero Beach, Fl
2,945 posts, read 11,937,729 times
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There were a number of factors that influenced my spending habits:
1. We moved to the US from Germany when I was young and my father had a couple of rough years while getting reestablished in his career. I recall many occasions when he would say "if we keep this up we'll be in the poor house." What an impact that made on me. I never wanted to be poor.
2. My mother was German and had come from a family who was quite wealthy because they were frugal.
3. Both parents knew how to live a simple life but everything had to be quality. Clothing, food, furniture, cars had to be exceptional quality.

All this was passed down to me for which I am eternally grateful. My husband and I are debt free - this took planning and simple living.

A side note.
An interesting lesson was passed down to my late husband from his father. As a child, he could do as he wished with his allowance, but he had to be accountable for what he spent. At the end of the week, he had to present a list of items and receipts that he spent his allowance on. Then his father would ask him whether he thought it was worth the money, had he shopped around, and before he made his purchase, had he held that item in his hands and asked himself "Do I need it? Can I live without it? How will I benefit from buying this item? This was a life lesson which served him very well as it would anyone. :-)
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 2,972,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMachine View Post
Simple means living below your means. We live in a culture where many people are living above and beyond their means. People think they need "things" to be happy. The result of which is that they end up having to work harder and harder to keep up, and they pay more and more money to banks in interest.

Greenie
I guess I'm a "simple liver" then. On my salary I could afford a Mercedes. I drive a Hyundai Sonata that I picked up for almost $5k below sticker with rebates and by financing through Hyundai (I refinanced shortly thereafter). I could afford a $2k television, but I bought mine on sale for $450. It's not even a Samsung or a Sony...it's an Olevia, i.e. an "el cheapo" TV. I could afford a Coach handbag, but I bought a $30 one at DSW.

Sometimes buying cheap things doesn't save you money in the end; the handbag has to be replaced because the lining is torn and I can't fix it myself because I'd have to rip the purse apart to get to it. So...I have to buy a new one...a false economy. I bought a pair of knockoff Nike sandals at Target for $5 when the real ones cost $18, but those are falling apart after five months...again a false economy.

I try to balance quality with value but it's hard sometimes. I don't always get it right...but I always have plenty of money left over at the end of the month and I have far more put away for retirement than most people my age. My financial adviser tells me I'm right where I should be for a comfortable retirement, but I want to do better than that...so I'm saving aggressively. I'd rather be comfortable and set up later in life than have a Rolex or a Mercedes now.
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:44 AM
 
2,197 posts, read 6,592,119 times
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Great thread, Greenie!

I've been trying to live simpler for a while. It's much easier outside the money-suck of L.A., where 60-70% of every paycheck went to housing. Sounds crazy, I know, but that's the reality. Now I have twice the space for one-third of the cost, insurance is less, taxes are less and my needs much simpler.

I do buy quality, in cars, clothes and everything. I look for sales and good deals, then I really get the use out of the item. My car is a ten-year-old BMW, my clothes and shoes have good labels, but they're classic and I wear them for a long, long time. My briefcase is a 20-year-old Coach that I keep polished and it still looks great. I find that buying quality and taking care of it is much thriftier in the long run than buying trendy and replacing it every year. I don't need to be at the cutting edge of fashion; I just want to look good and investment pieces help me do that.

Of course, I didn't always do this. When I was in my 20s, it was spend, spend, spend, now, now, now, have it all, all, all. With age comes wisdom. And wrinkles.
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Old 12-08-2007, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
2,161 posts, read 7,485,831 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodbyehollywood View Post
Great thread, Greenie!

I've been trying to live simpler for a while. It's much easier outside the money-suck of L.A., where 60-70% of every paycheck went to housing. Sounds crazy, I know, but that's the reality. Now I have twice the space for one-third of the cost, insurance is less, taxes are less and my needs much simpler.
GBH, where did you escape to from LA? I am going to move from OC in about 3 years and have a short list of places I'm considering. I pay nearly $1500 per month rent for a 1+1 apartment, even though I can afford it that's a lot to toss down the drain every month. Plus, living in an apartment gets old after many years, would not mind a little extra space instead of being tightly surrounded by 400+ neighbors. Everything else around here adds up compared to most places in the US, the only thing I catch a break on is utilities cause I hardly need heat or AC.
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Old 12-08-2007, 11:46 AM
 
2,197 posts, read 6,592,119 times
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I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. I traded in a tiny beach shack with loud, obnoxious neighbors four feet from my bedroom wall for a 2900 SF house on almost three-quarters of an acre, with wonderful neighbors, complete privacy and a lake less than a block away. There are trees and greenery and lakes and mountains. I miss L.A. a lot, but the expense just became impossible to justify. Even five years ago, L.A. was doable, but all that changed. It's all such a tradeoff, but at some point you have to ask yourself: Is it really worth working 65 hour weeks to live in a dump? And do I want to do it forever, because I'm sure not saving enough to retire someday. Good luck to you, recycled!
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:26 PM
 
Location: in drifts of snow wherever you go
2,493 posts, read 3,060,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodbyehollywood View Post
Is it really worth working 65 hour weeks to live in a dump? And do I want to do it forever, because I'm sure not saving enough to retire someday. Good luck to you, recycled!
This was my problem too. I was living in Los Angeles and working my tail off to live in dump. I got fed up. Now I'm leaving.

g.
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