A Simple Way to Save Money… and Your Life

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So, I recently got married (😍), and we’re trying to do more budgeting together. We’re keeping track of where the money is going (food… it’s all going to food), and we’ve noticed an interesting trend: We spend more than we thought we would on alcohol.

Busted! Okay, but here’s the thing: it’s actually not that we drink that often… it’s just that our drinks are expensive. Why is that? Because when we drink, it’s usually out at a bar. And why is that? Because the reason we drink is generally that it’s an excuse to hang out with friends. Whether it’s a group gathering or an opportunity to catch up with a friend, it’s easy to default to “Drinks? Drinks!”

I find that I do that, mostly, out of laziness. “I want to see people, but, ugggggh, I can’t think of anything else to do.” Well, if you find yourself in that situation, here’s my solution for an alternative friend hangout that doesn’t require alcohol (or coffee, for that matter, because we all know that lattes are the enemy of financial prosperity, and drinking them with friends just makes you a bad influence):

Go for a walk.

The great thing about this is that it addresses another issue I’m facing: Lack of exercise. Funny enough, it’s the reverse of the alcohol situation: I’m good on the amount, but I need more frequency.

I grew up playing soccer and love just about anything that involves physical competition, so I’ve always had that to fall back on. But studies are showingthat even inserting big exercise chunks into your week doesn’t make up for an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. “A man who sits 60 hours at a desk job but still works out for 45 minutes a day five times a week still has a sedentary lifestyle.”

Busted, once again!

So, yeah, I need to be walking more. And I can invite my friends to do that!

Maybe everyone is already doing this, and I just don’t know about it, but it seems like it solves two big problems I’m experiencing, at once. Instead of grabbing drinks after work, take a stroll. If you can do that in your neighborhood, great. If not, meeting up at a park is probably just as convenient as finding a trendy new happy hour spot.

Admittedly, I don’t know a lot of dudes who go on walks together … If you feel like this could threaten your masculinity, you’re welcome to just walk really fast (or, as some people call it, “run”) together. Or, just rebrand it, and call it an “Urban Hike.” Or, hey, if you’ve got the time to actually go running or get out to somewhere that you can really hike… all the better. I’m just saying, if you want to stay in your work clothes and hang out with someone without any planning, a walk is a perfect solution.

Whether you’re doing it to save money (Seriously… 2 cocktails a week, plus tip… depending on where you live, you could be saving $100 a month or $1,000 / year!) or save your life (CNN: Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise.)… this is a great solution.

What do you think? Is there something I’m missing? Do you have any favorite default hangout options (that, preferably, reduce spending and increase physical activity)? If we don’t know each other, I’d love to get a different perspective. But if we do know each other … tell me about it, the next time we go for a walk.