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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