Kelly Whalen can be found at The Centsible Life and on twitter. She writes about getting out of debt, organizing, and family life with 4 kids, 2 cats, a crazy puppy, and an amazing husband. Most days find her walking to and from the local elementary school.

Walking to Save Money and Improve Health

Just over a month ago we go the sad news that our 2nd car, or “clunker that didn’t qualify”, needed at LEAST $2,500 in repairs. The car was worth about that, and we had already sunk $2,500 into it in the last year so we decided to cut our losses. We considered buying another car temporarily, but our goal is to pay off debt, not add to it, so we quickly adopted a one-car lifestyle.

We live and work in the suburbs, so most people find our choice crazy. Fortunately, when we chose our home we chose well. We can walk to a multitude of places, including all the local public schools (K-12th), parks, multiple stores, including Target, many restaurants, and the local Y. I work at home part-time, and my husband works only 7 miles away, so if I do need the car we can drop him off at work.

We have been in our house for 2 years, but in the last month I have walked more than I ever have in the last 2 years. When you take away the other options, it becomes a simple choice!

Walking has become a new way of life for me, and I hope we will continue to increasingly rely on walking to get to where we need to go.

We’re saving money in several ways. The first and the most obvious is the car. We aren’t paying for gas, maintenance, and insurance on our second car. In the first month alone we saved over $200 (not to mention the maintenance that would have cost $3K). We are also saving by not going out as much. The days I’m carless I’m limited to where I can go, so we’re saving an average of $100/month on stuff we don’t even miss. Of course the biggest savings comes from the health benefits. Walking is such a wonderful and cheap exercise!

Other benefits of walking:

  • improved mood
  • weight loss
  • being in more in the moment
  • being a part of the community

If you live in an area where it is difficult to walk from your home, consider parking in a central location when you do errands in town, or in the city and walking to your destination.

If you live in a place that has no option of walking to where you need to go, consider these options:

  • carpooling
  • running errands all at once (start with the furthest away location)
  • staying home
  • parking as far away as possible when you drive somewhere
  • making time for a hike or walk at least once a week

How about you? Do you live in a walkable area? Could you make some adjustments to make walking easier to fit into your life?