5 Ways to Save on the Cost of Commuting
The average American driver will spend $108,727 on gas and vehicle maintenance costs associated with commuting in their lifetime. That breaks down to about $2,300 per year. If you can save even a little bit each year, it can make all the difference. Let's break down some easy ways to save on the cost of commuting.
Live Close to Work
One of the most effective ways to save on the cost of commuting is to live closer to your office. This gives you the option to either walk or bike to and even if you drive, the costs are much lower than a long distance commute. If you're in the market for a new apartment or home, be sure to take the time to look for places near your job. If housing options are more expensive in that area, create a budget to determine if you might still be saving money when you cut down on the price of commuting.
Take Public Transportation
If it's not feasible to move closer to work, consider public transportation over driving your car. While you'll still spend money to buy a transit pass, it can be significantly less than driving.
In a recent study by The Penny Hoarder, they analyzed the average cost of a monthly transit pass in 10 large metro areas and found that it costs about $87 per month to get a monthly transit pass. That equates to $1,044 per year — or 50 percent less than the average cost of commuting.
Another way to save on the costs of commuting is to carpool with the people you work with. Coordinate with coworkers that live nearby and set up a schedule where you alternate who drives which day. Even if you still have to drive three days per week, cutting out those two days can lower your costs by 40 percent each year. Several larger cities also have vanpools, where you can join a ride with others going in the same direction. Check with your city to see if something like this is offered.
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have become popular when trying to get around. They also have the potential to be a part of your commute in some major cities. Like carpooling with your friends and/or coworkers, these apps can help you cut costs by pairing you with others headed in your direction. Just keep in mind that by choosing the shared carpool option, you'll spend a little more time in the car as more passengers join your ride.
You would need to do the math in your city, but more people are finding this a viable option to replace a daily drive.
Work from Home
Of course, the biggest money saver is to not commute at all and instead work from home. Many employers are opening up to the option of remote work, even if it's just for one day a week. But that one day a week can add up in savings — reducing your overall commuting costs by 20 percent.
Talk to your supervisor to see if this is something you can take advantage of.
The cost of commuting can play a huge role in a family's budget. Going the extra mile to find ways to reduce the cost of commuting can potentially free up extra money to save and invest. And don't be afraid to experiment. You might find that creating a balance of the tips listed above might work best instead of only focusing on one or two areas.