5 Practical Ways to Save on Commuting

This guest post was written by Dean Sherwin, owner of the blog Art of Stinginess. His blog features daily tips, tricks and lifestyle design guides which aim to save you money.

Very little is free in this life, yet by being stingy or at least by following some very simple guidelines we can easily cut back our expenses. One expense that many of us have is commuting. It can be a pain shelling out to get to a place just to earn money, can’t it?

Or maybe it’s not a job you commute to, maybe it’s college. In that case chances are you’re a student looking to save every penny you can. Here are some tips so you can do just that.

Public Transport

I for one used to cringe at the thought of getting public transport. The mere image of late buses or standing in the cold waiting turned me off. But then one day I did some calculations and the amount I would save as opposed to driving was astounding. I guess you could say I was rapidly converted.

Plus, you can use the time on your commute for other things rather than just mindlessly staring out the window. Many people take out a laptop and do some work. Others listen to music or watch TV shows on their MP4s. Public transport is what you make of it and by putting in the effort you can make it into that little bit of ‘me time’ we all like.

Use Your Status

Young People, Senior Citizens, Students, Civil Servants and other such members of our society are almost always entitled to discounts when it comes to transport. You have that I.D. for a reason so use it.

Discounts can go up to 40% or can wave the fare all together depending on where you live. So why pay extra when you don’t need too?

Cycling or Walking

Still, why pay anything at all? For those lucky enough to live within walking/cycling distance of their jobs, why not walk instead of taking your usual method. This way it won’t cost you a dime.

Once again you can listen to your MP3 player or just enjoy the stroll before the long working day starts. It’s great exercise and it’s good for the environment. (I even hear many life insurance policies are starting to lower their premiums for people who commute by walking or cycling so you could save even more money).

Car Pooling

Public transport or hoofing it might not always be on the cards. It could be pouring down rain or you may not live near a bus route. So car pool with your fellow employees who live close to you!

You’d be surprised how popular this is becoming. With the rising cost of gas and car insurance, many co-workers take joy in taking turns driving each other to work. Just ask around your workplace or enquire with HR to see if there’s a program already up and running.


If your job can be done from home (maybe you’re a designer, writer, programmer etc…) why not ask your boss if you can work from home 1-2 days per week? It saves on your commuting costs and it increases your quality of life. Plus with E-Mail, file sharing and Instant Messaging it’ll practically be like you’re at the office!

Many jobs are now making this an standing invitation as it pleases their employees and saves on their operating costs (electricity, phone etc…). Normally they will subsidize (to a certain extent) your own costs of a home office.

By implementing just one or two of the above tips you could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year. That’s good spending money for you vacation, right?

2 thoughts on “5 Practical Ways to Save on Commuting”

  1. Not so much saving on commuting as saving while commuting, but I make myself a tall-sized flask of coffee before I leave for the station which saves me nearly $3 a day. That is money I used to spend so I snowflake it with Cashflake.

    I also use the commute to note down things I can do for a little extra cash, website updates, article writing etc.

    Some of the tips don’t save you time, such as cycling or walking, but that is not time lost so much as time taken back. You can do a lot of thinking and planning on a daily walk to work.

  2. Yeah, it’s all practical but it’s bulls*** when it gets cold outside. All of these ideas are entirely derivative. If the writer REALLY wanted to offer five tips for saving on commuting (aside from waiting in 10 degree weather for a bus that’s half-an-hour late), he could have said the following:

    1) Buy gift cards for gas stations online. There are many sites that will offer $100 BP or Shell cards for $80. I buy them all the time.

    2) Get credit cards that offer cash back on purchases at gas stations.

    3) Get a more fuel-efficient car, and invest the time and money in keeping your car running well by having the maintenance performed on schedule.

    4) Know what insurance companies like. Red sportscar? Your rates are gonna go through the ROOF. Insurance companies just loooove to penalize drivers based on such pedantic things as car color and credit rating. Understand what they like, and this will surely save you money.
    Also, definitely understand multi-line discounts. If you’re renting and you have a vehicle, get renter’s insurance. It’ll usually lower the total cost of the insurance bill (i.e., your renter’s + vehicle cost will be lower than the original vehicle insurance cost).

    5) Keep your car garaged when you can; cars that are garaged last longer (not sure what the stats are, but I’ve read this before).

    6) Consider wrapping your car with ads for a company (I don’t even know that anyone really does this anymore).

    7) Keep your tires properly inflated, rotate them accordingly, and make sure your tires match the season. A good friend of mine has two sets of tires – regular tires for the spring, summer, and fall, and snow tires for the winter. He has had the same set of tires for three years now, and he drives quite a bit. Both still pass the “penny test”.

    8) Look for coupons related to auto maintenance. I got a $500 set of Michelin Tires for $150 after all rebates. I also get most of my oil changes for free after mail-in rebates are applied (I would do it myself, but we’re talking free oil!)

    9) Don’t be tempted into convenience purchases, such as a morning Starbucks or even a gas station coffee. Make it at home, buy a thermos, and you’re good.

    10) Plan your trips, like they used to do in the old days. Instead of going to the grocery store six times in a week to pick up stuff, plan one trip. Also, try mapquest or maps.google.com to map your trip to figure out the shortest route.

    This is just stuff that I pulled out of the top of my head, that didn’t involve the “written a million times” ideas about getting rid of your car (which most people outside of cities can’t do), telecommuting (which most offices limit because, well, your boss usually wants you in his office, breathing HIS oxygen), or car-pooling.

    Sorry Dean Sherwin, but you’ve gotta be original, and it hurt my head to skim through this article.


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