Taking The Bus: When financial and fitness advice converge

[Note: An older version of this post took its title from the Jonathan song below, “You’re Crazy for Taking the Bus.” Love that song and the sentiment but we are trying to use less that word around here. See Let’s stop the “crazy” talk. So I’ve retitled it. I kept the song though. Go listen. Everyday could use a little bit of Jonathan.]

It’s interesting when advice you find intriguing and compelling in one area of life spills over into another. I’m thinking here about financial health and physical fitness.

I really like Mike Evans’ Make Your Day Harder campaign:  “Medical research has shown that we’re living longer than previous generations — but we also suffer from more chronic disease, obesity, and lower self-rated health. So what can we do? To start with, we can make our days harder to get moving.”

It’s about the little things like taking the stairs, walking to run errands, or standing rather than sitting at work.

I also like the financial approach of Mr. Moustache. I don’t always follow it but there’s something great about keeping your financial needs very low, rather than struggling to earn more. and staying super flexible so that work is an option rather than a necessity. I often try to check in and see which of the many lovely things in my life have worked themselves into the baseline, become the new normal, rather than remaining as treats. I tell myself that I could happily live in a much smaller place and not drive a car. Bikes, however, are essentials.

See his financial resolutions here.

For a starters he recommends walking more and driving less.

“It’s all part, he says, of realizing that most of us can enjoy the good life on much less than most middle-class wage earners believe is necessary. He estimates that he, his wife and his nine-year-old son spend less than $30,000 a year.

“We don’t live like this to save money. We do it because it’s a happier way to live,” says the financial blogger, whose opinionated and wickedly amusing posts at have attracted an army of followers across the United States and Canada.”

How to spend less and get your finances in order? He recommends that you don’t focus on spending less and tracking. You’ll just feel deprived. (Sound familiar from diet and exercise advice?)

Instead, make your life harder!

“So the single best resolution for 2016 is to stop trying to make things as easy and convenient as possible for yourself, and instead shift to doing the most challenging things that your abilities allow. The idea is to force yourself to become stronger and start learning again, which brings immediate happiness. It also just happens to cost a lot less, because you don’t have as much time to pamper yourself.”

What does that mean in practice?

“For example, try walking that two kilometres to the grocery store and bringing a few things home in a backpack.Pretend you’re a hunter-gatherer and try skipping two entire meals in a row tomorrow. Instead of searching for the closest parking spot, always choose the most distant parking lot. Resolve to spend at least two hours outdoors every day, regardless of the weather. Challenge yourself to do more of your own cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, and so on. Cancel your TV series and start reading books again.”

My own steps in that direction truly are baby steps. Catherine has been blogging about everyday exercise and public transit. When I was stuck at work last week without the car and without my bike, I considered my options. Cash in pocket, it was cold and it was dark, and the desire to hop in a cab loomed large. But but but $20 is $20. And there’s the bus. I thought of Catherine.

I walked to the bus and found the right one. Hopped on and listened to students talk loudly around me. I successfully navigated the transfer and then got off at the grocery store. I bought eggs, fish, cheese, pasta, and veggies and then carried the stuff home.


I’m no Jonathan, taking the bus around the US. “Salt Lake City, everybody off!” But I am trying to make my life just a little bit harder.

2 thoughts on “Taking The Bus: When financial and fitness advice converge

  1. Living a life without a car, does require a few extra minutes of planning. But after awhile, it’s not a big deal if one already lives close to transit. So it’s the choices we make to help ourselves ….

    I did do the calculation money saved (and redirected to other stuff) from not owning and driving a car:

    EVen if I seem to overestimate total done back in 2011, so bring that same amount as of early 2016: that’s still a lot of money.

  2. Great post, and thanks for the mentions. This term I’ve resolved to bus-train-commuter rail-walk to work (I go in 2 days a week). Love the make your day harder videos. These are changes we can all make, and here’s hoping they have threshold effects, increasing fitness and energy to make way for more activities that people may not have felt were open to them.

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