Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coasting For Free-Getting Around On A Dime

Living frugally isn't just a collection of tips and tricks. More than that, it's a state of mind. Whether by choice, or because of the cards you've been dealt, if the option of easy money isn't there anymore, you need to fall back on the more important resources - those that lie within. In order to make lack-of-money work for you, you need to turn the apparent weakness into a strength. Because, although you may not have much money to hand, you can always bank on something much more precious - time.

With a little bit more of that time invested, and a dash of ingenuity, most of the hurdles that money places in the way can be leaped over with ease. That includes finding ways of getting about - whether that's just around town, in your day-to-day travel, or heading out for the global highways, on the journey of a lifetime. The thing to remember is that money can often be more of an encumbrance, than a help. And not spending it is in part a journey that helps reconnect you with yourself.

Trading money for time is really trading impotence for self-reliance. And nothing says self-reliance more than your own two feet. They should be your first stop, when you're looking to get from A to B. OK, walking takes time, but what is time, in the end, except living. Getting out and hitting the streets isn't commuting hell - it's an experience. So enjoy it, relish it, and recognize it as life-enriching – and pity the poor fools locked up in their money-guzzling motorized coffins.

In the same vein, for your daily commute to school, college, or work, if you find that your feet aren't fast enough, try empowering them with a pair of pedals. A second-hand bike doesn't have to cost much - and if things are really tight, there may be someone in your circle who has an unused bike you could borrow. If not, try free-cycle, or a similar website – they have reams of stuff that people are more than happy to give away. Once you've got two wheels, the world of free transport really does open up for you. Spend enough time biking, and soon you'll be fit enough to go 25 miles in any direction - without spending a cent.

Of course, for those living urban lives, there are also some pretty cheap options, using mass transit systems. Whether it's buses, trams, metro or rail, there are endless possibilities for getting good deals, budget cards - or even scams to hitch a free-ride. But let's not go there. For a truly frugal approach to moving across town, or cross-country, there are other options - apart from the semi-mythical open rail-car. Most obviously, there is another part of your anatomy that can be relied on to help here - your thumb.

For those on a dollar-diet, hitchhiking is a time-honored and well-worn route, for moving from town-to-town, and state-to-state. Don't swallow the romanticism, though - you may find that you are hiking more often than hitching. Remember to be properly prepared, with snacks, water and solid shoes – and a map. But whatever your prep, what you will certainly do is have an adventure. You'll also load up on a plethora of tales from those laying on the lifts – often they can't help but spill their life-story.

If your journey is a long one, accommodation along the way is a concern, but it need not be a problem. There are many hospitality exchanges on the internet, where promises of free accommodation, and maybe even board, are pledged from like-minded souls. These extend not just across the US, but around the world, in these days of the global village. So dime-a-day travel is possible all over the planet, provided you can find a way to get to your starting point.

The bottom line is that money is just a crutch we've gotten too used to lean on. Once it's not there, you'll find you don't need to lean so much, anymore. You'll still be able to get where you're going – while having a lot more fun, and living a lot more too, along the way.

This article is a guest post from Adana Lima, a stay at home mom with 3 cute kids (Jamie, Pablo, Guerrero) who writes on the topic of adjustable dumbbells.
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