Two Good Reasons to Ditch Your Car

Losing your car will help you save money and lose weight, and the results will multiply over the long term

Credit: Flickr/Simon Holliday

Ditch your car and do your errands on foot to save money and lose weight

Sure, ditching your car will save you money and help you lose weight in the short term. But those results will also multiply in the long run

Everybody knows cars are expensive. Car payments, insurance, the inevitable repairs, not to mention the ding at the gas pump: it all adds up.

Fattening, too, if you’re the type who jumps in the car to pick up milk (and who isn’t?) So it makes sense that choosing to walk, bike, or take transit can save you immediate big bucks, as well as helping you lose weight from the unaccustomed exercise.

How Going Car-Free Saves You Cash and Keeps You Trim in the Long Run

What’s less obvious is how losing the car can preserve cash and trim pounds over the long term. Here are five ways it works.

1. You stick closer to home. As a friend said, “What’s the use of having a car? You just go to the mall and spend money anyway.” Hands up anybody who’s ever gone to Ikea for paper napkins and wandered out $100 poorer.

2. You stop buying in bulk. Sure, big box stores offer deals… on processed, packaged food. When you carry everything you buy rather than tossing it in the trunk, you buy smaller amounts of what’s fresher and better for you. And eating less junk translates to pounds shed.

3. You live in the middle of it all. With a car, it’s easier to live where the only amenities are a mall and/or isolated community centre. Without one, you’ll live closer to a transit hub, and walk to everything you need: library, shops, restaurants, the gym. Those extra steps every day add up to big losses, pounds-wise, in a year.

4. You have more energy. Even short bursts of exercise deliver extra vigour, which encourages you to get more active instead of slumping on the couch.

5. You get involved in your community. On foot, you’ll recognize neighbours, which means you’re more likely to become involved in the neighbourhood. Whether it’s community gardening or rezoning protests, such activities are usually free and (bonus!) even burn a few calories.

So lose your car. You may find yourself healthier and wealthier than ever before.