Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thrift Week Day Five: Leave the Car at Home Day

This morning we woke up to three inches of snow on the ground, with another inch or so of "wintry mix" expected. At first blush, that made today an ideal choice for the Thrift Week event I'm calling Leave the Car at Home Day. After all, there's no place we urgently need to go today, and why would we make an unnecessary trip in this weather? But then I remembered that my parents were planning to meet us here this evening and take us out to dinner for my birthday. I could, of course, choose a local restaurant; we have plenty of choices here in town, from Greek to Thai to Peruvian. But would we really want to traipse through the snow to get there?

Then I started to wonder: would my parents even want to drive up here in this weather? The snow had stopped by noon, but they were still predicting slippery roads until around 5pm. So we discussed it and agreed to reschedule for tomorrow. Now, it may seem like a cop out to take credit for leaving the car at home when all we did was postpone a trip until tomorrow. But we're already taking the car to the dentist's office tomorrow, which will put us about halfway to my parents' house already—so by heading directly over from there, we'll cut the total miles driven in half.

True, it would be a lot more interesting if we'd chosen a day when we had lots of errands to run and then found creative ways to take care of them all without getting in the car, such as taking a bus or choosing local businesses so we could go on foot. But when you come right down to it, leaving the car at home by leaving yourself at home—finding ways to feed and entertain yourself that don't involve leaving the house—is just as effective, and can be just as satisfying. (Especially when your home-cooked meal is one of my husband's delicious homemade chicken pot pies—made with organic veggies and the leftovers from my birthday chicken—and your home entertainment includes anything available through a free trial of Netflix.)
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