On a beautiful day like today—maybe not the warmest, but pretty sunny in most parts of the country—you might expect people to flock to the outdoors. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Even when the sun is shining in my town, the neighborhood kids head straight for their living rooms after school to play video games or watch TV. It’s not just the kids, though. Their parents park their two separate cars after work, go inside and often don’t come back out again until they leave for work the next morning.
I thought I’d be a lot older before I said this, but here goes—things were different back in my day! If it wasn’t raining, my mom kicked my brother and me out of the house and told us to “go play.” And we didn’t mind! All the action was outside anyway.
But aside from breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the sun, there are actually some financial benefits to being outdoors that a lot of people miss out on nowadays. For instance, you can:
Get a workout – for free
A few months back, I sold my treadmill for a quick buck (actually, a cool $300). Since then, I’ve been burning my calories outside, either by walking or jogging through the neighborhood or doing yard work. Who needs to spend a fortune on gym memberships or exercise equipment when all you have to do to work up a sweat is go outside? And if you have kids, buying them a football to toss around outdoors is a lot cheaper than the latest video game.
Do it yourself
If you have a yard—or even a small patio with enough room for pots—you can grow a vegetable garden. When the weather cooperates, consider drying clothes outside on a line. And why pay for a car wash when you can do the work yourself outside? (And in my book, washing a car also counts for exercise.)
Save money on gas
If you’re within a reasonable distance of work—or at least of the bus or train station—consider commuting by bike. It saves gas and puts less mileage and wear on your car (and is yet another form of exercise). If leaving your car at home is out of the question, how about walking or biking to the grocery store? It doesn’t cost much to buy a wire basket for your bike. Looking for some weekend entertainment? How about a walk or ride to the park or movie theater (bonus if you make it early enough for the matinee price) on Saturday?
Open up the windows on a nice day to warm up the house without using the heater. Alternatively, you could use a fan to suck hot air out of the house on a scorching summer day.
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