In the United States, transportation costs are a significant expense that everyone must budget for. When you need two family cars and collectively commute for at least 2 hours each day, those expenses add up to a major hole in your pocketbook. Indeed, it is common for transportation costs to eat up more than 15% of the average household’s budget. As such, any way that you can cut down your transportation costs will leave more money for more pressing expenses or put towards that matter more to you. Here are some ways that you can try cutting down your monthly transportation costs…
First of all, if you are lucky enough to have a living situation that lets you walk where you need to go at least some of the time, then you have an excellent cost-saving opportunity. This is especially true if you can walk to work. If you live anywhere less than 3 miles from your place of employment and have other services around you (such as grocery stores), then put the car keys down and try walking. Not only is it the cheapest method of transportation, but it also has health benefits, such as improving your metabolism and helping you live a life of more wellness. On top of that, you also get to know the area around you a lot better when you walk through it. There are things you see that you can’t help but miss when driving in a car.
Look Into Public Transportation Passes
If you live around lots of other people, whether in the suburbs or in the city, then you most likely have a public transportation system that is available to you. If this is the case, then you might have the possibility to save money by using that as your primary mode of transportation. In order for public transportation to be worth it over driving, you generally need to purchase a monthly pass, which gives you unlimited access to buses, trains, and subways. Not every state offers a monthly pass, but most do. Obviously, not everyone’s situation permits them to realistically use public transportation, but there are more train lines and bus routes being added across the country every day.
Start Biking Where You Can
If you still want to take your own wheels into work, consider breaking out your old bicycle (or buying a new one) and using it to get around. This can still get you around pretty quickly but has the benefits of being cheaper to maintain, not costing fuel money, and not requiring separate insurance. This is on top of being a healthy option, just like walking! Even if you don’t have your own bike, plenty of communities nowadays have their own bike share programs that enable you to use one for your commute.
If you do end up driving your car for your commute, you can get the most bang for your buck by driving in a way that maximizes your vehicle’s efficiency to give you more miles to the gallon. For example, you can increase your MPG by not speeding on the freeway, reducing times where you need to quickly accelerate, and using cruise control at your vehicle’s ideal speed for fuel economy. Practicing good car maintenance, such as changing your oil regularly and making sure that your tires are properly inflated, also helps improve your MPG. Even if you can’t lower the amount of gas that your car uses when driving, you can also save money by using a loyalty program at a gas station to save several cents per gallon. This may not seem like a lot, but it could save over a hundred dollars a year.
Try Carpooling with a Coworker
Finally, if the main part of your commute is your drive to work like it is for so many Americans, then it’s a good idea to see if you and a coworker can start a carpooling system. This way, you can trade off driving responsibilities and share the brunt of the cost of gasoline. Splitting gas costs alone will save you hundreds of dollars each year, and potentially even over a thousand (depending on the distance of your commute).