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7 Ways to Help You Reduce the Cost of Commuting

Posted by MoneyKey on September 9, 2019
overhead view of a highway filled with traffic

Whether you drive in from out of town, take public transportation, or sit in city traffic for an hour every day, commuting to work can be a big drain on your finances. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the average mileage rate for the use of a car driven for business purposes in 2019 is 58 cents per mile, which is 3.5 cents higher than it was in 2018. So, how much is the cost of commuting costing you?

Well, this on a few different variables, like your car and how expensive gas is in your area, but let’s take the average of 58 cents per mile as an example. Let’s say you drive 15 miles total every day to and from work, and do this five days a week for fifty weeks out of the year. You’d be spending about $2,175 every year just on gas for your commute. That’s definitely not cheap, especially if you’re living on a tight budget.

If you can manage to find ways to cut back on the cost of commuting, you may be able to see some significant savings. If you could manage to save 15 percent of the $2,175 you spend every year on gas for your commute, that would add up to around $326 for the year! This money could go towards your emergency fund, bill payments, or making payments towards your installment loans online.

The good news is that if you regularly drive to work, there may be ways for you to reduce the cost of commuting. So, let’s take a look at seven simple ways to do this.

1. Work from home

person working from home to lower the cost of commuting

One of the keys to lowering the cost of commuting is simply to drive less, and working from home is one of the best ways to do it. Now, it may not be realistic to go from being in the office five days a week to working from home full-time, but speak to your boss to see if you can work from home a day or two every week. If there are days where you have no meetings and are working alone for the day, these are probably the days where you’re going to want to work from home.

Cutting out a day or two a week from your commute may not feel like a lot in the moment, but if you’re driving 15 miles a day and paying 58 cents per mile, then cutting out 50 days of driving for the year would save you $435!

Not everyone is going to have a job that allows them to work from home, but if you do and your boss is okay with it, take advantage to lower the cost of commuting.

2. Take advantage of public transportation

If you live in a big city, there’s a good chance that you have access to a public transit system that can get you to most corners of the city. If you don’t live right in town, you may be able to find a commuter train nearby, or one that’s a short drive away. Either way, this could help cut back on the cost of gas, car maintenance, and if you normally have to pay for parking everyday near work everyday, you can cut this cost out too.

3. Don’t skip out on basic car maintenance

When you’re using your car everyday to get to work, you’re going to start racking up a lot of mileage over the course of the year. If you’re not taking care of your car properly and skipping out on the regular maintenance it needs to run smoothly, you’re likely going to increase the chances of running into car trouble, which could stop you from getting to work and raise your cost of commuting.

person changing the oil of a car

To start, take a look at your car’s owner manual which should have a maintenance schedule in it. Make sure you keep up with this schedule by bringing your car into the mechanic, or by taking care of some of this basic car maintenance yourself. While you’ll have to pay to keep up with regular maintenance, these payments are small compared to what it would cost for a major repair, and could potentially extend the lifespan of your car.

If your car does break down and you have to bring it into the shop for an unexpected emergency repair, you may want to look into online loans with monthly payments. While you should try to cover this expense with your savings, you may not have enough money saved up to take care of it if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. If you’re in this situation, personal installment loans may be able to help you deal with this repair so you can get your car fixed and avoid missing an extended period of work.

4. Ride your bike

Another potential benefit to living in a big city are the bike lanes and bike rental stations. If you’ve got a bike and live relatively close to work, consider biking to work when weather permits. If you don’t have a bike, take advantage of bike rental stations around your city. They typically don’t cost more than a dollar or two every day, and these kiosks usually have an app you can use to make the renting process simple. If you find that you can manage to bike to work on a regular basis, you might want to consider buying a bike of your own to lower the cost of commuting.

5. Incorporate other tasks into your commute

We all have busy lives, and there are only so many hours of the day to take care of all the tasks you need to get done. If you want to make the most of your time, make a plan ahead of time to start incorporating your errands into your commute. For example, if you need to buy groceries after work, make a list the day before and go straight to the store from work. If you like to workout, throw your gym bag in your car and go before or after work. By incorporating these things into your commute, you won’t have to head home after work just to leave the house again, racking up more mileage than you need to in the process.  

6. Review your route to work

review your route to work to lower the cost of commuting

You’re normal route to work may feel like just another part of your routine, but have you ever stopped to really evaluate if it’s the most efficient way to get to work? If not, spend some time looking in to whether there’s a better way to get to where you need to go. Think about things like:

  • Do you have to go through a toll booth?
  • Is it the shortest route?
  • Do you run into a lot of traffic that forces you to idle and use up extra gas?

Look into different ways to get to work and see if there’s a more efficient route that could lower the cost of commuting.

7. Carpool with a co-worker or neighbor

Do you have any co-workers who live nearby? Maybe you have a neighbor who drives to an office close to yours everyday? If so, see if you can arrange a carpool, even if it’s not everyday. If you can manage to get a lift to work at least once a week, you may be able to lower your cost of commuting by around 20 percent.

Use these tips to help you cut the cost of commuting

For a lot of us, commuting is unavoidable. Maybe you live in a completely different part of the city, or you might live in another town altogether. Either way, that long ride to and from work everyday can get expensive. Fortunately, there are things you can do that may be able to help you lower the cost of commuting.

Try implementing some of the tips we’ve listed here, and you might just be able to start putting some of these extra savings to good use!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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