Easy Ways to Cut Commuting Costs

by Krantcents · 13 comments

Post image for Easy Ways to Cut Commuting Costs

How much of your monthly pay do you spend on getting to and from work? When you factor in the cost of fuel and wear and tear on your car, you could be shelling out a pretty penny. The longer your commute is, the more you could also expect to pay for car insurance and maintenance. Yet for many of us, simply walking to work is just not an option.

Fortunately there are a number of alternatives that could potentially save you some money on your daily commute.

Carpool with Co-workers

One of the easiest ways to cut your costs in half is to team up with a buddy and share the cost of fuel by carpooling. This requires you to rely on someone else, but it can be extremely effective if you have co-workers who live in the same area.

Buy a Long Term Rail Pass

Are you lucky enough to live in an area with public transportation? Although a daily ticket can seem quite steep, find out if there are monthly or annual passes instead. These are often offered as bargains to commuters. Although they incur an upfront expense, your employer may be willing to pitch in. Some businesses offer a season ticket loan, which you then repay out of your salary. Explore all options before ruling out public transport.

Adjust your Workday

Your employer may be more sympathetic to the cost of commuting than you realize. More employers than ever are giving their workers flexible hours and the option to work from home a few days a week. Think about it: even staying home just one day a week can cut your commuting costs by 20%. If you have flexible hours, you could also time your commute around the peak rush hour. This allows you to avoid burning extra fuel while stuck in traffic.

Choose a More Efficient Car

Naturally, if you drive a massive SUV 40 miles to and from work each day, you are probably spending more on fuel than you need to be. Your car’s efficiency will take a direct hit on your budget, so consider driving a small, more efficient vehicle. Although a new car may come with a high initial expense, it may be worth it in the long run if you can lower your fuel costs over an extended period of time.

Become a More Efficient Driver

Are you doing everything you can as a driver to maximize efficiency? Most of us don’t allow our cars to reach their full potential, wasting fuel by driving too fast or slamming on the brakes. Simply ensuring your tires are properly inflated can boost efficiency by as much as 5%, while it’s estimated that following green driving techniques can halve fuel use. Find out more about the techniques that could make you a more efficient driver, and save you a load of cash on the commute. Coasting down hills, staying within the speed limit, and avoiding excess weight are all small changes that can really add up over time.

For a good percentage of drivers, commuting to work is a major annual cost. By following a few of these tips, you can find yourself with far more money left in your budget each month while still getting to work on time.

Photo by:  US Census Bureau/Wikimedia Commons

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{ 10 comments }

Holly@ClubThrifty July 18, 2014 at 5:31 am

One thing I love about working from home is that I no longer have to commute anywhere. I drove an hour each way many years ago and absolutely hated it.

Krantcents July 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

In my former professions, an hour commute was the norm. I am very glad I no longer have to deal with it.

Ginger July 19, 2014 at 11:56 am

My husband will be starting a hour and fifteen minutes commute come September, nice timing. :) I wish the train was cheaper but it will cost him twice his gas costs to take the train. Even paying for a second car does not equal those up. We need to, as a society, create a better and cheap public transit system. Europe can do it, why can’t we?

Krantcents July 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Do not just compare the cost of gas when you look at the train. There are maintenance costs, insurance and wear and tear too. A more complete cost is fifty-six and half cents ($.565) per business mile (according to IRS regulations for business miles deduction). He may consider carpooling or rideshare. I did when I commuted.

Ginger August 3, 2014 at 6:58 am

I did compare it all and it still was cheaper to buy the second car, pay insurance, registration, repairs and gas than take the train. It is insane. But again, a lot of the car expenses can be lowered, by buying used, learning how to fix your own car etc, but gas is not on that you can lower without decreasing driving and when the same distance costs twice what the gas does, it bothers me.

Michelle July 18, 2014 at 6:26 am

Like Holly, I am so happy that I no longer have any commuting costs. WOOHOOO I love working from home :)

Krantcents July 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

I never realized how bad commuting in Los Angeles was until I stopped! Over the years, I carpooled and generally go into work early to avoid the traffic.

The Wallet Doctor July 19, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I love being able to work from home. I have never been a fan of commuting, but being able to grab a day from home is always worth it for me.

Krantcents July 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

I agree! I prefer a 10-20 minute commute on surface streets. It would still be great if I could work from home 1-2 days a week. As a teacher, it is difficult and skype would not be acceptable.

Krantcents August 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

Have you thought about carpooling? I did that early in my career and it was actually fun.

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