Commuting costs are a part of life that you have no choice but to endure. However, it doesn't have to be as costly as you might think. In this blog post, we will talk about tips and tricks for reducing costs and ways to save money on your daily commute to work!
Americans spend approximately $8,500 commuting to work each day. That's about 19% of our annual income. That is a huge number, but just imagine what you could do if you saved just a $1,000 of that? Would you go on a vacation? Upgrade your car? Pay off credit card bills?
Personal finance discussions like this are incredibly important since there are important things that we can do to make major changes in our lifestyle that will make us happier and more financially stable.
Let's take a look at some of these commuting costs including: car insurance, taxes, rising gas prices, depreciation, and maintenance costs. Each of these piles your monthly car bill costs to the ceiling with no end in sight ... but that doesn't mean we can work together to reduce your commuting costs so you have more money to spend on fun stuff!
Consider Buying An Electric Vehicle To Cut Commuting Costs
While electric vehicles have had a bad reputation in the past for limited range and high costs, today's newest EVs are an effective way to cut commuting costs and save money while sometimes even cutting your commuting time since you can avoid fees on toll roads in certain places. Plus there are the obvious environmental benefits, it isn't just about finding the cheapest gas or avoiding using more fuel.
Additionally, depending on where you work, you may be able to charge up for free while you are working or gain access to express lines to save time getting to and from work.
Drive Carefully And Improve Your Gas Mileage
Car accidents are expensive no matter who's at fault, and post-accident insurance premiums can make your wallet beg for mercy.
Careful driving not only lowers insurance prices but it leaves less wear and tear on your car. Some insurance companies will even give you credit if you can prove you're a cautious driver.
Accelerating slowly, driving at a reasonable speed, and breaking carefully help keep your car from wearing down or from potential accidents. It saves on gas, maintenance costs, and ultimately keeps everyone safer.
Search For Coupons And Promotions
You're probably picturing ten hours a week carefully cutting coupons out of magazines, but those days are past. Nowadays, there are entire websites built to find coupons for consumers like you. These sites compile valuable coupons that will save you money in every aspect of life, even on your vehicle budget.
Frugal drivers can search sites like Offers Club for a hefty discount on yearly car expenses.
You will also want to install apps for brands like Wendy's or Dunkin' so that you can take advantage of special "app only" rewards card promotions and other deals.
Use Online Apps And Resources To Save Money On Gas Prices
Everyone knows that gas prices are constantly fluctuating. You can drive to the nearest gas station, buy your fuel, and get back into traffic only to find out you paid triple what everyone else did for their tank of gas!
With apps like GasBuddy, Fuelly , or Gas Guru drivers have access to real-time updates on nearby gas stations with up-to-date information about current pump prices. Drivers can use these tools in order to make sure they're getting a fair price when filling up at the pump.
Consider Telecommuting At Least One Day Per Week
Driving less can look like carpooling, riding a bike, using transit or taking public transportation. Limiting time on the road decreases accident opportunities, reduces gas usage, and lowers your yearly insurance prices.
If commuting is a vital part of your life, search out cheaper alternatives to driving so your car can catch a break.
Before the pandemic, telecommuting was a request that most businesses only played with as a perk. Today, many businesses see the benefit of working from office to home as both a way to save money for both the business and employer as well as a way of keeping employees happier.
Avoid Rush Hour Traffic To Save Time And Money
For those who are unable to upgrade to an EV or purchase a more fuel efficient car, simply timing your computer to avoid rush hour traffic can be a great way to reduce costs on your round trip commute.
There are two major reasons for this.
The first is that when you avoid heavily congested areas, your average speed will both be quicker as well as traffic patterns will allow your fuel efficiency will increase since you won't be stuck in stop and go traffic. Additionally, many cities offer incentives such as paying reduced toll road fees when you schedule your daily commute even an hour later or earlier to avoid traffic.
Bike Or Walk To Work When Possible
Riding a bike to work might seem impossible to many people, but consider the health benefits and tax savings from lower gas and parking prices. While purchasing bicycle equipment may seem like an added expense up front, it can offer significant savings per month by avoiding the cost of parking, fuel, and car maintenance.
Plus, if you have an job location within walking distance or a short bike ride to, there are benefits like reducing stress, and improved physical fitness, in addition to simply saving money.
Take Public Transportation When It Is Possible
Public mass transit is an affordable fuel efficient way of commuting, but it means giving up your car for the time being. If this does not work with your lifestyle or if you live in areas where public transport isn't available, find other ways to limit driving time and fuel used.
Ride-sharing services are cheaper than ever before and could save money on gas prices while allowing you some freedom when using cars sporadically.
Commuter Benefits Programs Offered By Employers
If public transit options are available near where you live, take advantage of them even if they aren't perfect fits for your needs.
Check to see if your employer offers discounted rates on transit passes as part of your benefits package that you can take advantage of with pre tax money. Other times you may find that the cost is reduced when you take multiple trips per month.
You may also find that they offer commuter benefits that apply to those who walk or bike to work as well.
Many large corporations provide these types of services to their employees, but we increasingly see small businesses looking to attract younger workers doing the same.
By offering programs like this to help employees save money on their commute it is a major benefit that can significantly reduce your commuting expenses per month.
Share Ride Expenses With Others By Starting a Car Pool
Car pooling is typically a last resort for commuters. It requires finding the right people to ride with, keeping up on car maintenance and fuel costs, and coordinating schedules so everyone can arrive at work safely.
If you're able to find one or two fellow employees who live near your workplace it might be worth starting a carpool since you could split monthly expenses in order to save money compared to driving alone every day. You have nothing to lose by asking around if anyone else would like some company!
Do Simple Car Repairs Yourself
You can save considerable money by installing your own windshield wipers, changing the wiper fluid, adding air to your tires, and changing headlights.
If you aren't mechanically minded though, be careful not to get too ambitious. Check your car's manual for basic advice and there are plenty of places online where you can get more detailed technical manuals as well. Small maintenance repairs are generally okay to DIY, but anything more complicated should see a professional to avoid costly damages.
Regular Car Maintenance Will Help Avoid Expensive Repair Bills
If you have a good mechanic, ask for their advice on how often to change your car's oil and what other regular maintenance tasks should be done. Not only will this help with your fuel efficiency but it can make your commute safer and help you avoid unexpected costs later such as having to pay for emergency service due to a breakdown on the highway.
While modern cars are much more reliable than older vehicles, when you consider how many miles you are putting on your car during a round trip commute each day, skimping here is one cost savings you don't want to cut out.
Between checking your tire pressure, changing your oil regularly, and performing regularly scheduled maintenance you can create significant savings both in terms of paying less because you have better gas mileage, as well as reducing car depreciation.
To Save Money On Commute Costs Add Up All The Small Expenses
Any discussion of improving personal finance should include a nod to the fact that this isn't about finding a silver bullet so you can slash hundreds of dollars from the cost you pay to commute.
Sure, you can avoid toll roads and invest in transit passes but individually, those pre tax dollars are about the same as a guys night out. However, small things add up quickly when you look for ways to save on your daily commute.
That's why we suggest that you create a list of all the expenses related to your commute - parking, gas mileage, transit passes, toll roads, mechanic fees, and then look for ways to save by optimizing them all.