Save Money and Get Healthy

by Chrissie Kaufmann

One of my best decisions this spring was to get my bicycle tuned up for my work commute (shout out to David at Swift Cycle!). With gasoline at record prices, leaving my car parked has been the easiest way to save money. Plus, getting outdoors helps me feel happier and stronger.

So this month, let’s explore some similar summer strategies that will reduce inflation’s impact on our incomes while boosting our mental and physical health in enjoyable ways. The sticker shock at petroleum pumps and grocery checkouts is affecting all of us, and we can use some relief.

First, we can choose to use our personal power to move our bodies from place to place, whether on a bicycle or our own two feet. These warmer months are an ideal time to try a self-propelled commute. The benefits of fresh air and cardiovascular exercise are many, and most of us can use more movement in our lives. As a bonus, we will also pocket the dollars that we did not spend filling our vehicle’s gas tank. So, which destination will we walk or bike to this coming week?

Of course, many places are impractical to reach without an automobile. In these cases, we can consolidate trips by thinking through our regular routes and streamlining any extra errands that we need to run. For example, if we have to send a package this week, which day will we pass the post office anyway? By combining our trips to drive the least possible number of miles, our gas consumption will decrease. And saving time and money will help our mental health increase, especially if we sit back and schedule in some summer rest and relaxation. So let’s plan our trips efficiently and keep some cold drinks ready as a reward.

Another strategy for cutting down on fuel usage is to carpool with friends and co-workers. With several Park & Ride lots near area highway interchanges, our region is already equipped with neutral places to meet. Summer is a good time to try this, because we can vet someone’s driving capabilities in more neutral conditions than winter ice and snow. Carpooling can also help us build friendships, which in turn bolsters our mental and emotional health. Who do we know that is already going where we need to go, and could we ride together?

Grocery bills have also ballooned, but thankfully we can plant and pick our own fruits and vegetables, whether in porch containers, a backyard plot or a community garden. Each of these methods can give us personal enjoyment and plenty of harvest. Also, fresh-picked produce is more nutritious than faded food that has traveled thousands of miles in a truck. What can we grow this season?

In addition, we can frequent our local U-pick farms this summer and get some exercise filling up our baskets with flavorful berries, cherries and more. What other ways can we preserve our pocketbooks while promoting our personal health this summer? Whatever we choose to do, if it meets these criteria then we can consider it a win-win decision

June 10th, 2022