What are you willing to pay for?

When we hear about people who have, or are looking to, simplify their lives the discussion usually centers on the home.  Decluttering possessions, moving to a smaller home, maybe even giving up home ownership for renting.  Things like cable are cut, and home cooked meals with real ingredients are common.  These are all great ways to simplify.  But in the discussion things are overlooked all too often.


This weekend, Bethany, shared her story of commuting to work on her bicycle and leaving the family car at home.  Not everyone is as fortunate as Bethany and need a car to get around.  A car is a machine, a tool to get us from one place to another, that’s it.  So my question today is, if a car is only a means to get us from one destination to another, what features are you willing to pay for?

If you buy only used cars, your choices are rather limited.  I have never bought a new car, my decision was based on gas mileage, reputation of the make (I don’t want to buy a lemon).  Color never mattered along with many of the features available.  The last car I drove came with power windows (nice when you are the only person in the car and want to open or close them but not necessary), a radio with CD player, power steering (which I did need), AC,  and power locks.  It also had child-proof locks on the back doors.   Which of those things would I have paid for if I had been given a choice?  A radio is necessary for me, but the CD player isn’t.  I also would have paid for the child-proof locks and power steering. That’s it.


Did we forget how to read a paper map?


Cars have come a long way since Henry Ford supposedly said,  “You can paint it any color  as long as it’s  black.”  Today our cars can drive (cruise control) and  park themselves, have outlets to plug-in electronics, have built-in DVD players. and even cameras to see what’s behind you.    I can still remember when air conditioning wasn’t an option, now it’s standard.  You pay for it even if you don’t want it.  All these little things we have been conditioned to believe we need in a car are non-essential.  I’m not saying I would want to live in the desert without air conditioning any more than I would want to have a car without heat in the winter.

We forget that in simplifying our lives we should also review how we use our vehicles.  Each added feature brings more stuff we need to store in the car and a higher price tag you pay for by working more.

  1. Cup holders remind us to bring a drink or make it easier to stop and pick one up.
  2. Outlets are there for handheld games
  3. Built-in car chargers:  Don’t forget to bring the phone every where with you
  4. CD and DVD players: Now you need to buy storage solutions for the discs you want to play in the car.


Take the internet with you

A radio is no longer good enough, now we can subscribe to Sirius radio at a monthly charge to listen to even more music than we are storing on disc already in the car.


Our cars have become like our homes, the bigger the home the more stuff you need to fill it.  Now the car needs to be filled with stuff just to drive to the store.  What happened to families playing “punch bug” (for those of you too young to know what that is we looked for the Volkswagen bug and tried to be the first person to punch the person sitting next to us.  Trust me it was a lot of fun.), or watching the clouds to find shapes on a long drive? Or maybe even  dare I suggest we talk to one another on a car ride?


Look at the view outside the car, now why would you want to miss that?


The following list is what I could think of that is available today, or will be available in next year’s models.  Looking at this list I believe the only thing the car won’t be able to do is make dinner.  

  1. Heated seats
  2. Built-in child safety seats
  3. DVD player
  4. Built-in outlets for games
  5. Fold down seats
  6. Cruise Control
  7. Rear cameras
  8. Hands-free parallel parking
  9. Hands-free bluetooth
  10. GPS
  11. Subscription radio at a monthly charge
  12. Power windows
  13. Anti-locking brakes
  14. Lane centering
  15. Automatic braking if a collision is about to occur
  16. Cameras that detect animals, read the color of traffic lights and street signs for you
  17. Built-in screen like your iPad
  18. Web browsing (which can be used when car is stationary)
  19. Installed wi-fi hotspot
  20. Keyless entry
  21. Access to the trunk from the front seat.

 Which items would you be willing to pay for or have we gone too far?  What would you add to this list that I missed?

63 thoughts on “What are you willing to pay for?

  1. This makes me smile at all the gadgets within the car you have shown here Lois, I have owned 4 cars in my life time myself, hubby having his Vans .. and then the shared car in the beginning of married life.
    And among them we have had our share of ‘old-bangers’ that just got us from A to B if we were lucky!.. :-)

    Today doing the type of work I do, I need a car to Support others to allow me to get to remote places and unsociable hours. But I see no reason to pay these ridiculous high prices for soaped up cars, when they all get us from A to B… But I do confess… to owning a TomTom :-) xxx :-)


    • Sue, I’ve always needed to know my car was dependable but other than that I don’t need a lot of the bells and whistles. When I had my first son I had a 2 door vehicle and insisted I would never own a 4 door car because I didn’t want him to be able to open the door while I was driving. But then they came out with the child-proof locks for the back doors. It sure made getting a small child in and out a lot easier. :-) I’ve never owned a brand-new car, but if I did it sure would come with the fewest features I could get away with and the smallest sticker price. It is only a means of transportation, not a status symbol.

      If you need a GPS, you need a GPS. Owning one is better than driving around lost wasting gas and time!


  2. Great post. I do remember one of many options we had . A heater was an option, Can you imagine riding in a car with no heater, in the middle of winter? We had to pay extra, for that so called luxury. How times have changed. Modern times do force you to have all those gadgets, depending on your life style. Good read. Blessings.


  3. Oh boy, Lois, I love reflecting on this. We live in a city that is rather dangerous, I’m sorry to say. I like power locks and doors. A/C is a must as we’re in Houston. Other than that, I don’t see a need for much more than that. I looked down the list and couldn’t believe my eyes. We still rely on Google maps (no GPS or smartphones here), choose talk over radio or music most of the time, and when we do listen to music it’s on our mini iPod which is called a Shuffle and no one really knows what that is because I don’t know that it can hold very many songs). I think that all of the items you listed above may be why I see so many people veering into my lane! Ugh!

    I am with you. I loved games like “Who can count the most red cars?” when I was a kid. If we fought, which kids will do with or without all these gadgets, my sister and I would simply be given an imaginary line on the seat which we could not cross. If we did, I am afraid the car might have been pulled over. I never needed that to happen because my parents meant it when they said something! :)


    • Tammy, power doors and locks are definitely nice, and I never would have survived living in Phoenix without air conditioning, so I am in complete agreement with you there. Between all the gadgets installed on cars, texting and eating in a car while driving it’s surprising to me that there aren’t more accidents.

      I too used the imaginary line, it worked every time and yes I would have pulled over if it didn’t. We too used to play who can count the most of one color cars, funny I had forgotten about that one. We also were told to look for out-of-state license plates and to identify what state they were from, and for thos long trips we had car bingo games as well. Road trips can be fun, they can be novel but not if you bring what you play with at home with you.


  4. another thing, I was wondering about the newer/newest vehicles….and all the electronics/gadgets/plastic

    well, we are constantly bombarded with commercials (t.v./radio/billboards etc), about what GREAT gas mileage this or that vehicle gets.. And, the mileage I hear is rates like – 25 mpg/30mpg and that is good. super duper

    well, there is something wrong. I discussed this with a friend, and it was suggested to me that all of the new electronics and gadgets such up power and adversely effect mileage. Don’t know, but something is going on, weird.
    cars are MUCH lighter than thirty yrs ago/even than ten yrs ago, but, some how, mileage does not seem to improved that much.

    about 25 yrs ago, we had a Thunderbird sporty car… I swear we got 28/30 mpg, on highway
    about 15 yrs ago, we had one of the first Ford Focus “mini” wagons…on some very LONG trips we got 45 mpg (for certain we did, as we kept thinking the gas gauge was not working, and would stop at gas stations to fill it up, only to put in a doller or two.)
    about 8 yrs ago, got a van, it too got/gets good mileage, especially on long highway trips.

    the van has the most “gadgets”, and as gadget number increased/gas mileage decreased.

    but, point being, those oldest two, were pretty good on gas


  5. Your post brings up some interesting thoughts. BTW I remember those days looking for VW’s — we called the game “slug bug”. We’ve had old cars and new ones with all the gadgets (except not that new that it had a TV or GPS). I like the smell of a new car and the seat warmers are great. I could learn to enjoy the finer things of life real fast to say the least.

    But, long gone are the days when you could identify a Ford from a Chevy just by the grill or taillights. Nowadays, they all look alike. And, the cost of a new car is twice (in some cases triple) as much as our first house. So, I guess with all the goodies come a hefty price tag.

    Give me the days when we had our little TR-4 (Triumph) convertible stick shift where my husband put in a roll-bar and racing tires. It sounded cool going through the tunnels when you downshifted and revved up the engine. Then, you could work on a car with real parts and didn’t need a computer or a professional garage to fix and they were meant to last.


    • Pat, that new car smell is so toxic it’s all the chemicals that hasn’t aired out yet. I never liked the new car smell as I always ended up with headaches from being in them, even with the windows down. It was hard on me as my grandfather would only buy new cars. It was so bad that many Sunday’s I would walk to church and meet them there rather than ride in the car.

      Wasn’t punch bug/slug bug fun to play? Now you would probably be accused of child abuse for allowing the kids to punch each other.

      I too hate not being able to identify a car by its design. I loved cars, I knew them all by name. With all the problems today on the roads how are you supposed to be able to identify a car that just caused a hit and run? Or what if someone is following you and you want to call for help, how are you going to explain the type of car it is? And the parts going into them are getting cheaper and cheaper. Cars today are so expensive, yes more expensive than some homes, and they cost a fortune to repair, because like you said we can’t repair them ourselves any more.

      You had a Triumph? I loved those! When I was 18 and moved to California I borrowed my step-mother’s vehicle to find a job and my own car. She had a Pacer, you could never mistake that car for anything else, yet I hated it. Of all the vehicles I have owned in my life I loved my 1971 Firebird.


      • Yes, slug bug was fun to play, although it was our girls usually playing it while I drove. I would just help spot the VW’s when they came in view. It got so you didn’t want to play with our oldest as, when she slugged you, she left a bruise on your arm. Sad, how times have changed so much we’re afraid to play games like that.

        Our 1964 Triumph – it was fire engine red. I loved that car and when we moved west from Virginia we had to sell it for $800. Would you believe? Once, my husband put a # decal on each side of it, when he took it to Maryland for a racing school.

        We also had a Firebird, 1969, years after when we moved west. I loved that car too but it became impractical, when we started to have a family. It was a royal blue convertible with white interior and white top. Boy, those were the days, weren’t they? Isn’t it funny how cars can make you feel like a teenager all over again. At least, that’s what it did for us back then. I hear my grandson (19) talk about Camaro’s and drools. So, I guess they do like cars today like we did.


        • Yes, having two boys it got to the point we would all wear bruises. Since you had to be the first one to see it when I spotted one I would slug who ever was sitting next to me if I could to avoid getting hit, or if that wasn’t possible it was a game to me to see if I could distract them so they wouldn’t see it either. :-)

          My Firebird was black with black interior. It had no air conditioning and was darn hot sitting in traffic on the freeways in Los Angeles but I loved it just the same, sadly it wasn’t a convertible I could have tanned while sitting in that traffic. :-) I am surprised you didn’t get more for your Triumph today it would fetch a lot more than that.

          It is funny how a car, which is nothing more than another machine, can make us so nostalgic and have such an impact on our lives. I taught each of my boys the classic models and my favorite was the Mustang. I always wanted a CJ7 Jeep, but never got one. Later I looked at buying a used Wrangler, but it was like a luxury car inside and just didn’t have that feeling I craved.


          • Yeah, Lois, even though we had girls, it still didn’t stop us from getting bruises in slug bug. No dinking around there. They’d just haul off and slug — hahaha.

            Ouch! I can imagine how hot black interior got in traffic on the LA freeway. Would be even hotter in a convertible. The white wasn’t bad. I remember one time taking a trip up to the mountains with the top down and getting hit by a quick shower. We knew it wasn’t going to last long so I put up an umbrella. Guess it wasn’t too smart and could have been a traffic hazard, I guess, but didn’t think of it at the time – we could see okay and wasn’t blocking the view for other drivers. The silly things you do when you’re young and in love.

            I like Mustangs too but the older ones and the old Pontiac TransAms. Aren’t they the ones with the eagle on the hood. Boy, we could get carried away couldn’t we. I may have to write a post on it and dig out my old car photos, Lois.


          • Yes, the black interior was horrible during the L.A. summers. I kept a towel on the seat and took a change of clothes with me to work. :-) I’m laughing here about your umbrella in the car. I could just see the expression of drivers and the reactions of the cops today.

            If you write a post on your cars, make sure you give me a heads up so I don’t miss it. I could easily talk cars all day, it still shocks people that I gave up my car because of my feelings about the environment.


          • I can see where a change of clothes and a towel would work on those hot days sitting in traffic in a black car. The steering wheel even gets hot to the touch. Yeah, riding along with the umbrella up was a quick fix when it’s hard to find a turn-off on a windy, mountain road. I’m glad everyone was cool about it. Only had to go a couple of miles when we drove out of the shower.

            I’ll remember to let you know when I write my post remembering those old cars. I think we have some old pictures lying around but have to dig them out. My husband and I were talking about all the cars we’ve had since we’ve been married (almost 47 years). Seems like each one has its own story.


          • Oh, yes that steering wheel. I would put my hands in one spot and not move them. If I did I had a rag I would use between my hand and the wheel. Of course I later lived in Phoenix, where nothing helped but a steering wheel cover no matter how much shade you thought you had in the summer.


    • The idea of a hacker is even worse than my fears of using things such as cruise control and having the computer malfunction.

      I’m sure your bank account is very healthy as a result. I save so much now that I have no car, and mine was paid off.


  6. for me a car needs to get me from point A to point B. Simple as that. All the other stuff are disctractions. People forget that driving requires 100% attention, we are driving speeding bullets. Instead people relax, watch a movie and drink a cup of coffee, while talking on the phone and checking emails, all while driving on the interstate at (al least) 70miles per hour. Then we wonder why there are so many accidents. Uhm…


    • Daniela, I find that a radio or even answering a call if necessary is no more distracting than years of little ones wanting to talk, but unless it’s very important I won’t answer my phone in the car. I still have the mentality that I shouldn’t be accessible all the time. The phone belongs in the house, but I need to carry it with me now in case I need to call for help as I can’t get around to go for help. What I will never do is read a text or email when driving, that takes too much of my attention from the road. Just last week my daughter-in-law asked me to ride into the city to help her find a place she needed to go. On the way she wanted to pass a semi, but it was swerving all over the road. She asked me what to do and I told her to stay back until he got control. We finally found he had control and decided to get ahead of him rather than be behind him if he lost control (especially having the two little ones in the car). As we passed him I looked up to see the driver having his lunch, he had a sandwich in one hand and was holding a cup (looked like coffee) in the other hand…the coffee was in the hand steering this huge truck. I was so angry as he was endangering everyone else on the road.


  7. Well, you may have read about my car/s on my blog (http://thelittlewashhouse.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/ooh-la-la) and I can report that 5000km and 4 mths later, I still feel no envy towards anyone with any other “bigger or better” car and still consider mine full of mod cons! The electric windows are pretty useful (they squeak!) but I didn’t mind rolling the window down manually before. I don’t really notice the power steering or brake locking system, though I enjoyed the AC this summer when travelling. I have had to learn to remember to use the central locking. The windscreen wipers are a bit idiosyncratic but so far (fingers crossed!) so good! The radio is basic and works fine, though I rarely listen; there is no GPS or other fancy stuff… The whole thing is small and basic and still uses very little petrol and is just now helping us with yet another removal, despite its petite size, so I think I am quite happy with what I paid for and no unnecessary perks!! ;)


    • I love your story, Swiss Rose. I just read it. From pink to purple. :-) I lived in Arizona in the desert with a red Pontiac Grand Am, it didn’t take long for it too to fade to pink, which my son was nice enough to ignore when he needed a ride. Why is it people think they can’t haul thinks in a little car, I’ve done it all my life. One time, before all the children’s car seat laws, I bought a bunk bed for my boys, it had a full-sized bed on the bottom and twin on the top. Being in a box I never considered it wouldn’t fit in my Subaru wagon. The guy helping me bring it out to my car insisted it wouldn’t fit, yet it did. :-). We drove home with the two boys buckled together in the front seat and the box taking up the rest of the car, but the hatched closed and I didn’t have to move my seat up to make it work. I hope your little purple car lives a long time.


  8. Once again a great blog! I was raised within a family of mechanics and the most important part of my vehicle is the tires–my uncle always said–“tires are the only thing between you and the road-get the best that you can afford.” He also said that “All” season are not for our harsh Canadian roads and that winter tires are worth the investment. As for the car itself-right now with my wife having a very long commute to work and back it is gas mileage that I am most concerned about. We also make sure to do regular maintenance such as tire rotation, oil changes, filters, etc as it truly does help lengthen the life time of our vehicles.


    • Lil, the tires sure are important. Growing up with a family of mechanics do you miss how much easier it was to work on the older cars? I used to do all my own repairs until the computers took charge. I was only able to teach my boys a few things for maintenance and repairs as the rest I can’t do now.

      You bring up a good point. So many people can barely afford the bills they have and owning a car comes not just with the monthly payment, registration, and insurance, but all the other regular maintenance. If not kept up with you will shorten the life of your vehicle. I taught my boys to reset the trip counter each time they fill up with gas and make sure their mileage didn’t go down, it’s a great way to watch tire pressure. With constantly changing temperatures here the tire pressure will go up and down and cost you a lot extra in gas.


  9. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be polite about this issue. Driving about in our living rooms ought not to be an option at all. We’ll never buy new again. We are only concerned with reliability and gas mileage. We already have a living room and even that is a bit too big. Have a marvy one!!!


    • Exactly!!! I was wondering if the picture of the family in the car with everyone doing something different, and all the screens turned on would give the impression of a living room. The thing is in the living room we usually only have one Television, the rest are in other rooms. If we would just buy the simplest option it would save a lot of money, each of these things comes with a cost. Our family’s 1974 Chevy Impala had an AM radio, power steering and power brakes were features my grandmother wanted with her arthritis. The car was big and roomy, windows were rolled down by hand and we had no AC, yet the car cost $2,500 which they paid for in cash, oh and the car was made with real steel, not flimsy materials like fiberglass, which held up better. I really wonder what people are thinking about when they pay for all the upgrades.


  10. Wow! I think about this a lot too- and how big does your car need to be? All around me I observe people driving large cars and Suvs and only 1 person in the car! I need a back seat right now with the 2 kids, but I have an 11 yr old sedan and have no plans for an upgrade. Safety and gas mileage are important to me.
    My husband and I have also banned hand held games from our home/car. Sometimes my son asks when we are going to get a tv in the car like his friends. My husband and I laugh and move on – our favorite game right now is “I spy” or “i’m going on a picnic”.


    • Katie, my first experience with someone who bought a new big SUV was about 10 years. Her children were teens and had their own cars. She thought she deserved the status symbol of the name (Lincoln) and the big size because it showed everyone that they had money enough to afford this. She went through all the years of transporting her children and their friends around in a compact car, but when it was just her in the vehicle now she upgraded to this huge thing. Her answer as to why made me realize how insecure she was with her status in life. Oh and the gas mileage on that SUV was so poor I never would have bought it even if I needed a larger vehicle for a bigger family.

      I loved playing I spy with the kids in the car. On trips where we would be in the car all day I would let them bring a selection of music to play and we would take turns, also metal folding trays they could put on their laps and I had a box that sat between them on the seat filled with art paper, crayons, coloring books, selection of books to read. They had their own road atlas with our route highlighted for them to follow along even as young as 2.

      I love how you are handling the question of a TV in your car. It’s really hard to raise children where you choose not to have what everyone else has. My boys didn’t always appreciate at the time the limits I put on the extras but they get it now that they are parents themselves. Stick to it and you will get the reward in the end.


      • I love the idea of the cookie tray and art supplies. I hadn’t thought of that! Sometimes it is hard being “different”- most of the time my son doesn’t seem to mind. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who has similar values/practices, and she said her son was like “what are we Amish or something?” She was like haha- if you were Amish you’d wouldn’t have ANY electric things!!
        I do remember as a kid in the 80s station wagons were the “family” vehicle. Most had a seat in the way back facing rear- I can remember as a kid hanging our feet out the back window. Nowadays that would never be allowed!!
        Thank you always for your thoughtful posts. I hope you are doing well !


        • Katie, we had the same kind of station wagon, I loved the back seat with the window rolled down and hung my feet out as well. You are lucky your son doesn’t mind being different. Everything was just fine in our home until my boys entered the public grade school. The bus conversations were all about television shows and we didn’t watch much of anything on TV. Then it became shows I would never allow in my home, which caused a real struggle with my boys. They didn’t really want to watch them they just wanted to feel as if they fit in.

          The trays I had were lap trays, they had folding legs and were made to sit on your lap. The box of supplies saved my sanity on those long drives.


  11. well, I have to say, I won’t be getting rid of what we have any time soon, as we are “odd” in that we keep vehicle for LONG time…

    however, when it is necessary, will be looking for as few features as possible….
    I will be at great dilemma over one feature..a nav system…
    On one hand, I get hopelessly /seriously lost , no sense of direction, and a map might as well be written ancient greek for me
    On the other hand, any newer vehicle comes with so much computer along with the nav systems, that I do not like that idea also…when I say comes with so much computer, I mean that these new systems (from what I hear), can be stopped remotely, hacked, tracked , etc.. I find that whole idea bizarre..so, I might just be willing to struggle through with a map..

    in general we have come to the sad conclusion that if someone is buying something new, it is best to buy it with as few features as possible…All these features add one more thing to break down/repair, and seriously decrease useable life..(when something keeps breaking down, it truly is often not cost effective to repair, and that is a bizarre aspect of life today)


    • You are not odd, Lynn. I have kept each car I ever owned until it died. I never understood this mentality to keep replacing cars, and don’t get me started on lease options to buying, what a rip off. But I see that trend in a lot of things. Look at how often people decide they want a new house and keep moving because the current house doesn’t fit their needs (even with the family size doesn’t change)

      I think the younger generation, having grown up on computers, will be the ones to embrace these added features faster than we will. Yes, I’ve heard new cars can be tracked and even stopped remotely, something police like and think will prevent them having to chase cars. If that is possible then so is hacking. There have been too many stories of cars accelerating on their own causing accidents and loss of life, why would we want any more computer run part on our cars?

      I wasn’t thinking about the added cost of repairs, but you are so right. My last car came with rear window defrosting. It didn’t work and there was no way I was going to pay to have that repaired. I just scraped the ice off the window myself rather than have the window melt the ice for me.


      • it is too scary (to me) thinking about the way these new cars can be tracked/hacked/stopped. I have read articles on this/seen news docs…I find it incredibly creepy. (I have also seen news docs on how heart pacemakers and implanted insulin pumps can fairly easily be hacked and manipulated)…In fact, in is only last week, I saw some news doc clip, that even fancy new dishwashers and fridges (many have computer features now), can also be hacked. The entire mess is, well, a mess.

        And, for sure the cost of repairs is bizarre and outrageous. I have spoken with several folks who bought new furnaces in past four yrs. Of course, ones now available are “high efficiency.” or at very least “med high”..Well, what that means, is to maintain the warranty, one must have them inspected and serviced every yr, and this is NOT cheap. and then every two or three yrs (not sure), there is some type of other service which must be done. again, not cheap. several hundred from what I am told. and these folks all got these new furnaces, BECAUSE…there is far and wide, warnings to hire a liscenced furnace tech to inspect your furnace and ask them if the heat exchanger is “still safe” (as not about to crack and leak CO)…That service call alone will cost a couple hundred. and almost every time they will tell you , you MUST get a new furnace, or you might all die of CO in your sleep. (seriously)…of course they are happy to sell you a new furnace. and then you get to pay them yet again for those service calls.

        (we are very lucky, when we bought our first home where we live, we happened by chance to sign up with a company which offers service calls for free, once a yr, or more if you think there is ANY problem. they do not sell furnaces, but are happy to check if it is ok… We moved away, but when we moved back, made certain to sign with the same gas provider.)

        the point of the furnace story, is it seems to me the very same thing happens with every darn thing/ car/dishwasher/etc..

        (oh yes, re furnaces/natural gas providers…the BIG push is to get everyone on a “smart” (electronic brain ) meter right at your house. Many have signed on, and in many areas folks are not given a choice. Just yesterday I saw some news doc on this, and the man said these smart meters too can easily be hacked – can you just imagine – any halfway computer literate criminal can now track the gas furnace use/ dishwasher use/etc, and easily tell if folks are home…..????????)


        • I did hear about the fridges, it’s a way the utility companies can cut back some power to your home when there is peak demand. If they can get into it anyone can. I didn’t know that about pacemakers or insulin pumps. Scary stuff.

          A friend bought a new furnace and has to have it serviced regularly to maintain her warranty but it’s also some how connected to her homeowners insurance as well. If she doesn’t send them the copy of the yearly inspection her insurance cost can either go up or be canceled. Isn’t that crazy? I keep coming back to the question regarding freedom. If you own your home shouldn’t you be allowed to do what you want on your own property. I should add my friends house is paid for so it’s not like the bank owns it.

          Yep all those smart meters are simply a way to regulate how much electricity they give you, and yes hacking is scary. I guess I’m pretty lucky here. I have no new appliances, and my building is older and hasn’t been upgraded to any new appliances or meters. the only thing I have to watch is the computer that I don’t get hacked or a virus.


  12. The first thing I shop for with a car are safety features. I study whats available, decide what I want, then buy the cheapest car I can find with these. However, many safety features are considered extras, so many other extras come with them. I don’t have a GPS built into the car, but have an external one. I do read paper maps, but not while I’m driving. And with my horrible sense of direction, the GPS has saved me many times. SIRIS radio is definitely not needed, but I drive many places where there is no radio reception and it would be nice to have. The last car I got was the first one to have power locks and while no necessary, I do like them. Upon consideration, I think AC is a must for me. Sometimes it gets too hot to drive a car in the summer without AC. On the other hand, I have never had heated seats, but love them in the winter when I ride in someone elses car that has them. Cup holders are necessary for me. I went on a long trip yesterday, and I needed a convenient water bottle when I started coughing or just to get my water in for the day. Enough rambling. Car features are like anything else. We decide how we want to divide up our budget and try to get what we want. Usually that varies for everyone.


    • Live and Learn, I have one son who is hopelessly lost when it comes to directions, he can get lost in his hometown, no joke. He too has a GPS he plugs in, which is where I learned having something talking to me annoys me. :-) I begged him to turn it off and I would get him to his destination, which he grudgingly did.

      A cup holder is nice, especially since I have traveled extensively by car, but I made do without one for years so if I had to pay for it I wouldn’t. What I forgot to add to my list is the automatic start so you can get into a car that is already warmed up.

      I did have XM radio that could be used in the home or car, my son gifted it to me as radio reception was spotty where I was living. But in the car I found it went out in areas with a lot of trees or hills, and forget using it in mountainous areas, it can’t get reception. I don’t know if it is any better when installed integrally in the car. I found it was just easier to bring a couple CDs along on a long ride where I would lose reception.


  13. This post speaks to me since I bought a new car just one year ago! All cars come with anti-lock brakes, traction control and airbags now. I am happy that safety standards keep increasing. I just saw a TV show about living with 1970s technology and they pointed out how unsafe the cars were by today’s standards. All new cars also come with at least a radio and CD player. I paid extra for an “eco-friendly” transmission to save on gas. Rom has a car WITHOUT power windows and door locks and it seems archaic to me, LOL! He has to “roll” his windows down to pay tolls, etc. I would not do without keyless entry anymore. When I leave work at 9 pm on winter nights, I don’t want to be fumbling with my keys out in the parking lot. I can’t do without AC. I get so sleepy in the hot sun that I can’t stay on the road, even with the windows open. I am a bit of a car aficionado even though I don’t have a flash car. Mine has spots marked for fog lights, but they weren’t included. I had fog lights on my last car but never used them, even though we get a lot of fog. I sometimes think about installing the fog lights just for cosmetic reasons! I’m not going to do it, but it’s ridiculous how these “wants” keep being generated! The car would also look a lot cuter with a chrome tailpipe :)


    • Dar, I never thought I would ever see myself giving up my car. I LOVE cars, the freedom, the speeds. I even used to race cars. So I too appreciate a good car. But I really question the information on how unsafe cars were in the 70s. No they didn’t have air bags, but I know first hand that I was protected better by one in an accident. My mother hit an 8 point buck (deer) on a highway when I was little in a station wagon. I slid off the seat, my grandmother was in the back holding my younger sister who was 2 on her lap and my other sister was under a year old and laying in a crib made for the car, she rolled over. Not one of us was hurt,not even a scratch or a black and blue mark as a result. The car was considered totaled because of the front end damage, the frame was bent. At the same time I know plenty of people hurt by air bags when deployed, so I’m not sure which cars would rate better, but I do question the reports that today’s cars are.

      For safety, I can understand key-less entry, which isn’t a very expensive option if you had to pay for it over the eco-friendly transmission you paid for. You would think the more eco transmission would come standard over some of the other options in cars today. How crazy to have a spot for fog lights but not install them. I never used mine one the one car that had them, and yes we get a lot of fog here too being around water.

      I know what you mean about the chrome tailpipe, my very first car I upgraded the tires to mag rims. Stupid thing to have done, but I liked the look of it much more. :-)


      • The TV show focused on the lack of power-assisted steering and brakes, and the lack of seat belts, shoulder belts, headrests and side view mirrors. But the much heavier metal (not fibreglass/ synthetic) bodies were very crash resistant!


        • I like, I should say, need power steering as I never had the arm strength to safely drive without. I still don’t wear a seat belt most days I feel claustrophobic and start clawing at the belt and have anxiety attacks which make me a more dangerous driver. Not sure how I will explain that if I ever get pulled over, luckily I rarely drive any more, maybe 2-3 times a year when borrowing my son’s car. You mentioned side view mirrors, I still remember when they were only on the passenger side if you had a sporty car. What did they have to say about air bags? They make me nervous to have in my steering wheel, and all the warnings about children and air bags, with side air bags I wonder if a child buckled into a safety seat would be injured by one exploding from the door at them.


          • A program on the technology of how the car evolved would be interesting. I read through the link and still have my suspicions that air bags can still cause harm, there was even a link for others who shouldn’t have an air bag near them.

            On the issue of children’s car seats, I think the legislation has gone too far here in the states. Currently a child age 8 and under has to be in a booster seat, and they want to change that to 10. By age 10 my boys were taller than me and I’m 5’6″! There is no way they would have fit in my compact car, their heads would have been too high to sit up straight. There is a clause that the child doesn’t need to be in a booster seat if 80 pounds, and could be 100 pounds soon. My oldest wasn’t over 80 pounds until he was 12.


    • you know, I too have been happy with the safety features (airbags, etc etc), however someone did comment to me recently, well, the reason these features are so important these days, is that the cars are so flimsy , there is little to take up the impact…

      and, in thinking it over, maybe they have a point… An older car is made of metal, new ones are plastic and such


      • The new cars are flimsy. I was taught to buy solid cars with a V8 engine. If I ever needed to get out of the way of an accident I would have the horsepower to do so and if I didn’t make it the steel bodies would protect me. I am not happy with many of the safety features. If I were driving and the drivers air bag came out, just the way I hold the steering wheel would force my arm back off the steering wheel, which would lose all control I had of maneuvering and at the same time the way it would force my arm back would shatter not only several bones in the arm but my shoulder as well. I have tried to change how I hold the wheel, but after 30 plus years of driving one way I am not comfortable changing it’s been very hard.


        • Lois, I think that is such a GOOD point about the V8, and if one needed to, one could move fast enough to avoid an accident…and about the solid car body too….Just as someone was saying to me…

          and , more and more, since I first read your post/made replies/etc, I have been thinking about all these new safety features/computers in cars (safety features ARE controlled by computers), etc etc..

          as I read your post above, just popped into my head…”oh gee, swell someone could hack a bunch of cars to set off air bags …..”


          • Please don’t go there, I already have an aversion to driving with an air bag in front of me. :-) A V8 isn’t so important any longer as the cars weigh so much less. My little 4 cylinder on my compact cars had a lot of get-up-and-go to them and I never felt unsafe, but I sure missed the 8 cylinder in the beginning.


  14. Great post, and I loved that picture of the family in the car! (If you know what I mean…) We don’t have a car and it feels very freeing – except when waiting for a bus that is running late at an unsheltered bus stop in the pouring rain – fortunately that doesn’t happen too often. This post was a great reminder to me of how our possessions own us. I’d never thought of how the cup holders silently sing to us to buy takeaway coffee – but you’re so right!


    • I do know what you mean. Isn’t it sad, what happened to family. They are in one small enclosed space but aren’t even aware of the others so immersed in separate activities. I am very happy without my car today, and like you the rain is a pain but I manage. I often check the weather and try to plan my outings around the real storms. Winter is a bit more challenging to me, but then even with a car I had trouble getting around. As a family my grandparents traveled with me for 6 weeks each summer for years by car. Since we were in the car all day we carried a picnic basket and had a cup holder that sat on the “hump” in the front to hold our drinks. We didn’t have food or drinks in the car any other time.


      • you know Lois, your comment about even with a car, trouble getting around in winter…Well, I wonder, as a single person, if you ever did the calculations,
        having given up a car, maybe you will still save a LOT of money by taking a taxi whenever you want to get about..Although taxi fares can add up, running a vehicle is NOT cheap
        purchase cost
        sometimes pay for parking

        sometimes a taxi might be cheapest?


        • Lynn, a taxi is not an option as there are none in my town, a taxi would have to drive out here (minimum of 15 miles) just to pick me up it would be a horribly high bill. I do have a bus that stops outside my building and since I rarely shop and what I do buy is food, I simply exchange watching the grandchildren, giving my daughter-in-law some peace while shopping in exchange for her picking up items I need. She loves the deal. Anything that I can’t get locally, I just order online. But like I said I don’t need much.


          • ah, well for sure you have a good arrangement all around with the grandchildren/daughter in law…nice for you all….
            still, too bad about the taxi,
            I wonder, if there is any chance there may be available some option like this…
            I had a friend who lived in a small town… and there was a couple of folks who were available that folks could book in with for short or long trips, and they made some sort of payment. She said it was reasonable…Gave her options..

            Still and all, what you have arranged is nice for you all.


          • I am happy with the arrangements I have found to live without a car. I take the greyhound for long trips, can take the county bus to get to the city and everything else I can get to locally. Winter I can watch the children in exchange for an errand that needs run, and I can even have groceries delivered if I am willing to pay a bit extra. And then I have the internet, I try to limit how much I order online, but it’s a great resource with the packages delivered right to my door.


  15. I do like me a keyless entry! Not necessary, but nice (and we did tetro fit granny’s car when it was hers, stopped working when we inherited it!) And my work car has bluetooth which is safer than holding the phone, but still distracting. Today I didn’t have many calls, but it’d have been possible I could have given I feel like I was driving about 60% of today, if not more! My phone doesn’t charge (least not the smart one which chews battery after using it’s GPS this time – though I do generally prefer the maps). BUt I didn’t pay for either car I reference, and I’m not sure I would… I should do a post on why I think I’m car less, when I’m really not ;p


    • Yes, Sarah, if they come with the car there isn’t much you can do except not use the feature. I never used cruise control when it came with any of my cars, there’s something wrong about a car being in control. I always think a machine is only as smart as the person who built or programmed it. That scares me, picture the Mars rover we crashed into the planet because of a mathematical mistake. I don’t like GPS, a voice talking to me drives me crazy and interferes with my enjoyment of music. Bluetooth is safer, and if you are on the road and need to take calls it’s a great feature. I guess my point was that it doesn’t have to be in every car, and could be an option one could choose to pay for, lowering the sticker price for anyone not wanting all these extra features.

      I have to read your post on why you think you are car-less when you aren’t. :-)


    • Well, we do have a keyless entry, and honestly, I feel it is a safety feature. especially at night, and alone. I can click it as I approach car, and slide in and lock the door in a flash.


      • I do like the keyless entry if I am in the city at night, but here I don’t bother ever locking doors. When I first moved here my boys were little, I was shown my apartment and the storage area just outside the back door that had a lock on it. I remarked how that was nice so I wouldn’t have to worry about my boys’ bikes being stolen. My landlord-to-be, looked shocked and asked me where I lived that bikes would be stolen. He then told me I never had to lock them up and he promised they would never be stolen. As a guaranty he said he would buy me brand-new bikes if they ever were. I’ve never had anything stolen in all the years I’ve lived here.


        • good for you to have picked such a secure/safe place to live…

          I have a slightly different story, although, to be fair, nothing that I heard of was ever stolen, STILL

          My niece grew up in a tiny village, likely much same attitude/safety as what you live in…All good. Well, she grew up and moved on, and moved to Detroit…My family went to visit her once, and stayed in her home. Checked door (automatic for me) at night, and found it unlocked…So, of course I locked it. In morning I mentioned this to her. I would say, she was actually annoyed at me.. She insisted she NEVER locked her door. Grown woman or not, I suggested she no longer lived in her tiny village, and it might be worth consideration…We were there three nights, and each night I went and locked all doors…

          Have heard since (with marriage), doors are NOW locked.


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