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?

Save Money by Not Shopping on Black Friday

There may be some good deals to be had today but you don’t actually save money by buying stuff you don’t need.  I’m guessing that approximately 100% of the stuff being bought as part of the Black Friday deals can be classified as wants rather than needs. I’m lucky that there is very little I want or need.

I only have one more Christmas purchase to make and I’m not going to be doing it today.  The GF and me might go by CVS later and take advantage of some of the “free deals.”  Technically we will be shopping on Black Friday but we will not be spending any money.

Do It Yourself Car Repair

One way to keep your automotive costs down is by doing maintenance and simple repairs yourself. I’m not mechanically inclined but I’ve found that with the help of a repair manual I’m able to do simple repairs that save me a lot of money compared to what they would cost to have done at a repair shop. The most popular paper manuals are Chilton and Haynes. If you’re lucky you might be able to find the necessary manual at your local library. I haven’t tried the Alldata online manual but it is recommended by many. The drawback is you have to subscribe to it yearly.

Recently I changed my spark plugs and installed new front brake pads. Changing the spark plugs was very easy yet it would have cost me at least $60 to have them done at a garage. Replacing the brake pads was more difficult but since I saved about $100 doing it myself it was well worth the effort. I spent about $80 doing the two repairs. The cost would have been much less but I had to buy the manual plus some tools. My future repairs will be even cheaper. Using a repair manual and doing your own car repairs can save you some significant money.

Refill Your Printer Ink Cartridge

New ink cartridges for your computer printer can be very expensive.  The cartridge for my printer costs about $35.  Refilling your printer ink cartridge rather than buying a new cartridge saves you quite a bit of money.  You can buy a refill kit for about $10 depending on what type of printer you have.  I haven’t used a refill kit but I’ve had friends that have used them successfully.

The other option is to have a store refill the cartridge for you.  I recently had my printer ink cartridge refilled at Walgreens and was pleased with the process.  The cost is $10 for black ink and $15 for black ink.  I had a coupon for $3 off ink refills plus a $5 off $20 purchase coupon so I effectively had the cartridge refilled for $2.  A $33 savings over buying a new one.  It took a half hour for the cartridge to be refilled.  When I got home I just popped it back in the printer and it printed great with no problems.

I’m sure there are other stores that refill ink cartridges but you probably can’t get a better deal than at Walgreens.   They frequently have coupons, register rewards, and free after rebate items that can allow you to buy stuff for free or even make a little money.  Check out Money Saving Mom for details on how to get the best deals.  I’m too lazy to come up with my own scenarios but picking the best ones off her site works well for me.  Even if you don’t want to bother with the deals you can save a lot of money by having your printer ink cartridge refilled.