Tips for Making Your Commute Cheaper
The daily grind can get the best of all of us. Morning and evening commutes–especially in and around metropolitan areas–are often long and tiring. What’s more, simply going about the drive to and from work each day without any attention to detail can lead to exorbitant expenditures on gas. Here are some tips to save on your commute:
Minimizing Your Commute
The best way to reduce the amount of money you spend on your commute is to minimize the amount of times you have to get in the car and head into the office. Luckily, there are several options that have become more popular and amicable among companies in the U.S. Here are a few to consider when you’re trying to save money on gas:
Working From Home: As more companies today are technology-driven than ever before, many will have policies that enable telecommuting. Consider talking to your manager or supervisor about the prospect of setting a schedule to telecommute one or two days out of the week. If your commute is half an hour in each direction, you can explain to your superior that two days of telecommuting would lead to two hours of added productivity. Additionally, that would be a lot of gas money back in your wallet.
Pay Attention to Traffic Patterns: The shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line, and this is especially true when driving to work in a metropolitan area. By paying attention to the roads that are more congested, as well as which times are the worst, you can keep your miles per gallon a bit higher, all while taking some stress off of your car’s engine.
Avoid Rush Hour: If you live in an area that is simply impossible to travel between home and work during the normal work hours, consider speaking to your superior about hour adjustments. Many employers will be flexible, and could allow you to come in an hour earlier and leave an hour later to avoid rush hour, saving you money, time and peace of mind.
Deals and Teamwork
Some companies will provide employees with opportunities to save money on their commutes, and many workforce members will help one another out in the fight to reduce these expenses. Consider the following options:
Carpool: This has become one of the most popular ways in which workers have reduced commuting expenses. Not only can carpooling reduce the amount of money you spend on gas, but it is also an eco-friendly mode of transportation to and from work. Additionally, some major metropolitan areas and surrounding suburbs have implemented fast lanes for carpooling vehicles. At best, this tactic can cut commuting expenses in half. Don’t go it alone, and consider taking the ride in with a friend from work.
Commuter Programs: Some companies have started offering commuter passes to employees who take public transportation to work. Businesses can sometimes qualify for deals on cheaper train and subway tickets for their employees when they can prove that a certain percentage of their staff will take advantage of the opportunity. If your company does not already have a program in place, consider starting a petition with fellow train riders to get one in operation. Though not always a major discount, the savings will add up over the years.
More Drastic Changes
While purchasing a new vehicle, relocating to an apartment closer to the office or changing your place of employment might be more of an investment, these options can be the best ways to save on your commute.
Go Green: Efficient vehicles, such as those powered by electricity or hybrids, can save a tremendous amount of money on gas each year. Vehicles manufactured in the coming years have to comply with a higher level of efficiency standards than ever before because of legislation that passed in Washington several years ago. Hybrid, electric and other fuel-efficient cars can also give you substantial tax breaks–and in some places, you can even use the carpool lane. If you’re getting ready to purchase a new car, an efficient vehicle might be the best option for a long commute.
Relocating: If you’ve just moved into a new apartment, this is probably not the best option. However, if you’ve been thinking about moving, consider looking for an apartment closer to work. Even if rent is a bit more, you might end up saving on gas and car maintenance.