Abundant Optimism

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Walking to Save Money

By Tamara Martfeld

Many people walk to lose weight. However, if there is no weight to lose or a desire to exercise, many people do not walk. In this article, when I refer to walking I am referring to whatever means a person is mobile without a vehicle which is not required for mobility. In other words, if you need a wheelchair or scooter to be mobile and can use the suggestions here, they apply to you. I do realize that, unfortunately, not everyone will be able to effectively use the suggestions in this article.

When busses, cars, or other motorized transportation is used, so is money. Busses require a fare, cars require gas and maintenance, taxis require fare and, if you are nice, a tip, etc. If you can avoid their use, you can save money. In my town, a taxi fare for 5 blocks averages $8. I believe some people take motorized transportation due to habit.

To give an example, my sister and I were in Washington, D. C. We were informed that this city was designed for walkers. However, we did not meet many native walkers there. When we asked for directions to a place, the local population would give us directions to a place a few blocks away – and then to a place we could get a taxi (Uber and Lift did not exist at the time). Again, the place was only a few blocks away. The people directing us to taxis were generally in their 20s or early 30s and looked very able-bodied. We just thanked them for their directions and walked to the location. The locals also thought we were crazy for wanting to walk the Capitol Mall.

By walking, we were able to save at least $100 based on the prices at the time. We also got many more benefits. It was cherry blossom time. By walking, we were able to more fully enjoy the cherry blossoms and their scent. We were able to get good pictures of the scenery, and many pictures of the cherry trees against various backgrounds. We were also able to see more of the parts of the city we were in. On one day, were even able to experience the city in rain (we like the rain).

If you are able to walk to and from your destination, I highly recommend that you do so. If you are within a few blocks of the grocery store, you can go there daily and get fresh fruits and vegetables for that day or the next. You can also walk to the store daily and get the dinner for which you are in the mood instead of using what is around the kitchen.

If you are in your neighborhood when you are walking, you can get to know your neighbors better. Since you are walking to save money instead of for exercise or to lose weight, you can stop and chat for a while. You can also get a better idea of who and what belongs in your neighborhood so that you know when to report something to the police.

If you are walking to lunch from work, you are getting the benefits of the outdoor air and recommended movement away from your desk. “Walking to lunch” does not need to involve buying lunch – you can be going to a nearby park or other location to eat whatever you brought for lunch.

Regardless of your reason for walking, enjoy the nature around you. Listen to the birds and the wind going through the trees. Listen to the music of your surroundings. Even a place which has little nature has a sound, and that sound is a type of music. Listen for the patterns of the sound – you might even be able to compose something from it. Strauss is said to have created his waltzes by going through nearby woods. Spike Jones used many non-conventional musical instruments to create his music – the type you would hear listening to the sounds of a city. Let your imagination roam.

If you walk whenever you can, in addition to saving the money other transportation would have cost, you are also using your muscles. You will get some of the benefits of exercise such as being more limber and getting your blood flowing a little more. Again, the type of walking I am suggesting is not necessarily the kind a doctor would consider exercise. However, there is nothing to stop you from using the opportunity to turn it into exercise.

How ever you walk, always be aware of your surroundings and be safe. Enjoy what is around you, then put the money you would have spent aside for something fun!

Have a wonderful spring or fall, depending on where you live. Both are good times to get in the habit of walking. The flowers of spring or the colors of fall should enhance the experience.