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How To Save On Your Commute

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.

 

With gas prices skyrocketing every day, it’s no wonder people are trying to find creative ways to save money on their commute. The current national average gas price is rapidly approaching $4.00 a gallon and many simply can’t afford it. Most people want to learn how they can save money on gas, to help alleviate the financial burden on their family. A lot of people think that the amount they pay for their commute is one that they don’t have any control over, short of switching jobs to one closer to home, or moving closer to their place of business. While those are viable options, there are many things you can do that are a little less extreme to help soften the blow of rising fuel prices.

Stop throwing your money in the tank
 
So what can you do to cut the devastating costs of your commute? There’s a few things that will help keep some of that gas money in your pocket instead of in your tank:
  1. Commuter Benefits:  Many companies now offer a commuter benefit that is not always advertised. Some companies will offer parking subsidy or even a bus subsidy. The company I work for pays for me to take the bus! With their subsidy, the bus costs me only $5 a week. Considering I would pay about $30 a week for gas, that savings is substantial! Not to mention saving the cost of wear and tear on your car from stop and go traffic. Plus, my commute actually feels SHORTER because I bring my kindle and read on the bus…something you can’t exactly do if you’re driving! If you live in an area that has some form of public transportation, don’t be afraid of it! I always though “ew…I don’t want to ride the bus” but our buses in my area are clean, well-lit and now full of other commuters doing the same thing I am! 
  2. Fuel Perks: If you can’t/choose not to take public transportation, the next best thing is figuring out how to SAVE on your gasoline purchases. See if your grocery store offers a fuel discount club. At Rainbow they offer the Roundy’s Fuel Perks card, where it tracks your purchases and gives you 5 cents off a gallon for every $50 you spend at their store. It may not seem like much but it definitely adds up. Plus, they give you the 5 cents off for $50 before coupons! That means if your pre-coupon total is $100 but you only spent $40 after coupons, you would still get the 10 cents off per gallon! It’s like free money! So far, we have saved an average of 60 cents off per gallon each time we use it. It does take a little while to accumulate, but the savings are still a great perk!
  3. Part-Time Telecommuting: Ok so I know not everyone has this option, however it is possible that your job might allow you to work from home a couple days a week. If you can do this, you cut down on your fuel costs simply by driving less. The idea here is that you bring it up to your boss that you would like to see about working from home, possibly starting out with just one day a week to see how it goes. If it works, you might be able to do it several days a week, or even just coming in for important meetings and such. This will save you big bucks in the long run on commuting
  4. Working Four 10’s: This is another option where you’re going to have to ask your boss very nicely if you’re allowed to do this, but it will also help you keep more of your gas money in your pocket. Working Four 10’s refers to instead of working five 8 hour days, you instead work four 10 hour days. This option is not for everyone, it might be difficult with kids in daycare or if you work really far from home as it is, but it could be a viable option for others. This way, you are only driving to work 4 days a week instead of 5. Plus, by working the extra two hours, you are likely going to miss most of the rush hour traffic too! Bonus!
  5. Parking Options: If all else fails, check out other ways to help cut the costs. If you pay for parking, try looking around the area to see if there’s a lot farther away from your building. In my case, if I were to park in the parking ramp across the street from my building, (if I decide to drive or if I miss the bus) parking is $12 a day. YEOWCH. However, if I park a few blocks away in a flat lot at the stadium ( I work on a University campus) the cost plummets to only $4 a day! My work will also subsidize a portion of parking benefits, so it is important that you ask to see if such a program is available. Plus the extra walking is great cardio to get the blood flowing first thing in the morning. I find the days that I do that extra walking, I feel more awake and alert at my desk, making me a better performer at my job!  Carpooling is always an option too, but it’s contingent on having coworkers who live near you. There are carpooling websites, but I just can’t make myself comfortable sharing a ride with a complete stranger in their personal vehicle in this day and age.  

What other ways can you think of to save money on your commute?

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Exercise In Frugality

Sunday 25th of March 2012

Thanks Jeff! That's very true, Cub and other stores do similar programs. Personally I was a little shy at first about using coupons, but then I thought who cares? People shouldn't be embarrassed about using coupons, they should be embarrassed about wasting money needlessly when you can pay way less!

Jeffery C.

Sunday 25th of March 2012

Cub Foods also offers a coupon for gas, each 50 dollars you spend is another 5 to 10 cents off per gallon, also, some gas stations offer double coupon days, similar to the grocery stores (Super America does on Tuesdays) and they take competitor's coupons on top of it! Don't be afraid to be a couponer, I thought it was silly at first and felt like an idiot doing it, but that money you pocket at the end makes it all worth it.