My daughter, fresh out of college, has her first real job; it made her really proud to be making a decent salary, and the hour-long commute each way didn’t really bother her. Commuting made her feel like it was really a serious job. It was only after she’d worked for a month that she realized she was spending about $200 just on her commute. There was what she paid on the gas, on parking, on maintenance and there was so much more. When she considered what she needed to spend just to get to work everyday, she seemed seemed just a little disappointed at first. But she rallied back and tried to find out what she could do to make the best of her situation. It made me proud to see her systematically work on making her daily commute as efficient as possible; based on what she found out, here’s my set of tips to help you save money on your commute too.
The best way to save money on your commute would be to join a carpool if you can find one, or to start one of your own. Not only do you not have to be responsible for driving the car everyday, you can even use the carpool lane and save on valuable time. And these are what you gain over and above the obvious savings you make. My daughter couldn’t actually find an existing carpool, so she took the initiative, made up flyers (with an imaginary name and a disposable cell phone number) and posted it all over the neighborhood. She put down the route she was willing to take, and asked for tryouts. She also posted those flyers around her place of work. She had several interested parties in less than a couple of days, and carefully vetted them. Before long, she had her carpool.
Tips to save money on a carpool are a great idea doubtless; but you need to make sure that you are using your carpool in the most efficient way.
Most destinations you’ll have in mind, are probably places you could take any one of several possible routes getting to. Google Maps could be of great help here; you’ll need the route that has the least traffic or other obstruction, and you’ll want the shortest possible. Finding a route that has a carpool lane should be on your priority list too.
You probably know that gas stations don’t ever charge the same for their fuels. Making a go of your carpool depends on how good you are at finding the cheapest gas possible. As a rule, upscale neighborhoods have more expensive gas and downscale ones have cheaper gas. Once you find a gas station that’s just right for you, sign up for their card for the best deals with them.
Tips to save money on your commute can have more to them than merely carpooling. You can ask at work for any subsidies they may have for commuting employees. Asking doesn’t have to be embarrassing either; you just need to talk to your human resources department, and they’ll have the information you need. And of course, looking at using the train or bus can save you money the most of all. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t public transportation right from your home; having something a couple of miles away is just as good. You could drive there.
And of course, at the top of every list of tips to save money should be this one – see if you can telecommute; and avoid the whole mad rush altogether.