You're right. I'm Canadian, and I also live in a location where everything is spread out. I also do not own a car. I also live in a city that has poor public transportation (on most days there is none at all). I walk and bike. 39 years old, own my own home. Aside from not spending money on a car or fuel, I find that I spend less on impulse purchases. When you have to carry everything in a back pack (or think about it on the way home and then come back or order online), you spend less money on stuff.
This has nothing to do with being spread out, either. It comes down to urban planning. Why do people have to live so far from the things they need on a daily basis? We need to do better.