My New Money-Saving (and Fat-Busting) Game
A couple of months ago, my company extended a new benefit to employees: free bus passes.
I’ve never been thrilled about taking public transit, because there’s only one bus that comes within a quarter mile of my house. And it runs only once an hour. And it assumes that you have an 8 pm curfew.
But with the free pass and a change in attitude, the world of public transit has completely changed for me. With the weather improving in Portland, I realized that I can and should walk more. What’s more efficient than combining exercise with my commute? So I started to brainstorm major streets and transit centers within a one-mile radius of my house. I thought, I can walk a mile, right?
I found two bus-heavy areas that are about one mile away, and they are easy to walk to. Instantly, my bus options went from a frustrating one to an exciting six!
Now I take my neighborhood bus to work (I still can’t fathom walking a mile first thing in the morning, when I could be sleeping until the last minute) and taking any one of the six options to get home.
And it’s become a game for me to try to figure out where else I can go on the bus. I just found out that my weekend yoga class, for example, is totally doable on the bus. That makes me giddy.
My self-esteem has skyrocketed:
- I feel better about the idea of public transit, since finding out that I have more bus options than I originally thought. I just had to do some creative thinking. Now I don’t have to stress about missing my neighborhood bus and having to wait an hour for the next one. And I can stay late for work or go out to happy hour with friends and still get home on my own.
- It feels great not to have to depend on my car. I save money on gas, wear and tear, and parking. And if there ever came a time when I didn’t have access to a car, I’m confident that I’d be okay.
- I feel less guilty about my impact on the environment.
- I feel great that I’m exercising more. For so long, I’ve been making excuses about why I can’t get to the gym on weekdays. It feels great to walk, and it’s more fun to exercise when the purpose is something other than exercise!
- I appreciate my neighborhood more. When I walk or take the bus, I notice more things around me than I do when driving: the birds, the trees, the houses with their beautiful gardens and quirky lawn ornaments.
- Even though my commute is longer, I feel like I have more time. I can read, write and think better on the bus than when driving. And again, I’m combining my workout with my commute.
I highly recommend exploring the public transportation options in your area. If you are in Portland, TriMet has an amazing website, www.trimet.org, with handy tools to help you plan your commute. Let’s all broaden our transportation options this summer. It’s the perfect time to start!
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