Saving Money

Shop Like a Pedestrian: 7 Ways Walking Saves You Money

photo: Project GreenBag

Let’s face it, if you have to carry your groceries home, you won’t buy anything you don’t absolutely need. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg lettuce in your rollin’ grocery cart. Walking to where you shop will save you money in more shopping situations than any day-after-Thanksgiving sale. Here are seven reasons to give it a shot.

1. Enter With A Short Shopping List – Leave With a Light Shopping Bag

When you only want to buy one thing – and mean it, whether it’s groceries, a new purse or a hockey helmet–you’re more likely to avoid other temptations along the way when you have to lug everything home.

2. Just Browsing, but Calorie Burning

When you spend an hour walking to and browsing stores, you can burn the calories off from two servings of wine instead of purchasing a kickboxing or yoga session.

3. Avoiding Temptation to Buy Large Items

It’s virtually impossible to buy large items on a whim when you can’t load up your trunk. Even if later in the day you decide you still want to buy it, you’ll have time to think about whether you really need the object of your desire.

4. Planning Your Shopping Trip Ahead

Going to different shopping centers and areas of town is much more difficult when you’re arriving via foot power. With a limited geographic area, you’re forced to plan shopping excursions better and within one neighborhood of stores at a time.

5. You’ll Feel the Weight of Your Purchases

It took you time and effort to earn each dollar in your wallet or bank account. When your purchases are hand carried, you’ll feel the weight of your money departing your possession. When you have to carry the weight of your spending, the result will likely be a heavier amount (of hard-earned cash) staying in the bank.

6. Shopping Like A Pedestrian if You Don’t Have Stores Within Walking Distance

Not everyone lives in a place where everything they need is within two miles of their home or work place. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on pedestrian shopping. Simply park at the very back of the parking lot at grocery stores and resolve to carry your bags to the car instead of using a cart.

7. Limiting Your Payment Options

Most shoppers will probably spend less if they leave the credit and debit cards at home and pay with cash.  Once that cash is gone, it’s gone and you can’t reach into your wallet for a payment alternative.  But for walkers, the results will be even better: you can’t, after all, drive home and return quickly with a credit card or your checkbook.

The bottom line? If you shop like a pedestrian, you’ll still get with everything you need, but will seldom end up with something you’ll regret buying later.

Reyna Gobel is a freelance journalist who specializes in financial fitness. She is also the author of Graduation Debt: How To Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life.