How to Cut the Cost of Your Commute

By Tamila McDonald

| Photographs By UberImages

If you’re like most people, you work hard for your money. This makes it all the more frustrating when you lose part of those hard-earned funds on your commute.

For many people, commuting merely is part of life. In fact, about 86 percent of Americans commute by car to work. It can also be a budget buster, with transportation costs often ranking as the second-largest expense households have to manage.

Luckily, there are ways to bring these costs down. If you are ready to cut the cost of your commute, here’s how to get started.

Consider Public Transportation

Switching to public transportation can save you a bundle every month. It allows most people to slash their transportation costs significantly, and you don’t have to completely give up your car to do it.

If you live in a city, look at bus and rail options that are available in your area. In some cases, you may even get a stipend from your employer to help with public transportation costs, so make sure to check this out too.

Carpool or Vanpool to Save on Your Commute

Not everyone can use public transportation, but many could carpool or vanpool with friends or coworkers. If you work with others who live in your area, consider teaming up.

There are a few options for managing carpool arrangements. First, you can simply alternate driving weeks. This is ideal if you don’t want to worry about dividing up costs. Alternatively, one person can be the driver, and everyone else can chip in toward the expenses.

In some areas, county- or city-sponsored vanpools may be available. With these, the agency provides you with a van, and you just pay to use it. Usually, the cost is much lower than taking your car. Plus, it eliminates anyone’s having to deal with wear and tear on a vehicle.

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have also gotten into the game. The carpooling options allow multiple passengers to split the cost of the ride, lowering the financial burden for everyone’s commute.

Alternative Work Arrangements

If your employer allows for some flexible working options, then see if these can reduce the cost of your commute. For example, a compressed work week, such as pulling four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour ones, can eliminate one day’s worth of driving.

Working from home on occasion also reduces your commute, helping you save money every time you work remotely.

Change Your Driving Habits

It is possible to save on your commute without making drastic changes. Small adjustments to your driving habits can go a long way toward lowering these costs. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated and removing excess weight from your car helps. Following the speed limit and avoiding gunning the engine also makes a difference.

Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to cut the cost of your commute. So, review the tips above and see which ones might work for you.

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