For the past two weeks to try to cut back on gas expenses, I have made a conscientious effort to cut back on MY driving around. It’s been hard at times as I have had to reinvent our daily activities due to this. In turn I have discovered places and things to do that are closer to home and that provide entertainment for our family:
- We have been doing a lot of walking to the local park. I have been loading the kids in the wagon or double stroller and walk to the park that is about half a mile away. We take some snacks, a bottle of water, our hats and before we know it it’s been an hour and a half since we have been gone.
- Explore local activities: near us we have found a petting zoo, a small amusement park where rides are only a quarter. This one has been a great hit with our three year old. There has also been no need to drive to the pool in the next town over, our city has a city pool that’s open to residents for a very reasonable fee.
- Stop being a guest and become a host: our in laws live 100 miles away. In the past we have always been the ones to visit them. But with the price of gas and the work that entails packing four people to go visit them we have extended an invitation to have THEM come visit US. We have estimated that the $50 we will save in gas alone (doesn’t include any eating out costs we usually incur while we are there), will more than cover the extra grocery costs of feeding two additional people for a couple of days.
- But perhaps the most frugal of our activities has been turning every day chores into fun activities for our kids. Our three year old loves to run behind the lawn tractor while dad cuts the grass. He loves coming with me into our garden and help me take care of our plants. Even cleaning or checking the mail are turned into a fun thing to do when you race each other to the mail box or turn picking up toys into a competition.
- Finally, leaving a simple life this summer has lead us to discovering new friendships: doing a lot of walking around the neighborhood has given us a chance to meet more of our neighbors. This has been a double whammy in benefits: not only are we making friends but we are making them really close to where we live. To visit them all we have to do is walk over and we are there.
I will be honest and admit that this change has not all been smooth sailing. I was used to being out and about every morning of the week. But slowing down the pace has had other benefits, I feel I am enjoying my family more. It’s been nice singing songs with my three year old as we walk to the park, or teach him about how plants grow while we tend to the garden. It’s all about slowing down and smelling the roses.