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Lose the car – sometimes – and save money.

If you were forced to give something up in order to stay on budget or pay off a debt, what would you be willing to sacrifice? I have started a walking routine in the morning before I begin my work day. Now, I would rather mosey than trot, and running anywhere in my opinion has to be a joyful thing, with jumping and laughing. Sort of like Phoebe from Friends:

So, I walk, and I have slowly turned up the goal from a mere 1/2 mile to 2 miles per day. That may not seem like a lot, but it is massive for a life-long mosey-er. Today is World Car-Free Day, and I thought of this while on this morning’s walk. Could I do completely without a car? I had walked to the grocery and back, carrying about 7 pounds of groceries in a reusable bag on the trip home. My bank is located at the same intersection. Even my Toastmasters group is within walking distance – 3 miles round trip. By cutting through residential neighborhoods, I can avoid the stink of heavy traffic and walk well-kept sidewalks.

Growing up in rural Illinois, our family had a car, but my dad used it to get back and forth to work in the city. He would pick up last minute items on his way home from work, and the weekends included a circular route of errands such as grocery shopping and banking. At one point my parents owned a Volkswagen Beetle – you can imagine packing four kids and a week’s groceries into that little space. But they made it work, and we survived.

What benefits could you see if you gave up a car (or used it less often)?

Your health could improve by walking to locations instead of driving. You will begin to notice and appreciate many things about your neighborhood that you wouldn’t see in a car. You could take a trash bag with you and pick up trash along the way, helping the environment and the look of your neighborhood. And people, stop tossing trash out onto the street! This is your planet, and we all need to pick up after ourselves. There will be fewer toxic fumes released into the air. You can claim that walk for yourself, to think, listen to audiobooks or music, or just be alone. You will spend less on gasoline, car payments, car maintenance, tires, and other yearly expenses. You will no longer stress about traffic lights and other drivers.

I have been focusing on paying off my truck, Delilah. Last week I made the final payment – 3 years early! Because I still have to complete the work at Eleven House and need to put in some road trip miles for other obligations, I will keep her. But I’ll pay closer attention to my choices to use it.  That way I will save on wear and tear as well as reduce my use of fossil fuels. Climate change is real.  We need to think about riding bikes or scooters, walking, and taking public transportation before choosing to drive automobiles. Go ahead, celebrate Car-Free Day and save money! Walk, skip, or run like you did when you were a kid! Don’t worry about your style- take Phoebe’s advice and have fun.   Photo courtesy Clem Onojeghuo of Unsplash.

Share the Joy!
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