How to Save Money on Your Commuting Costs

If you're looking for ways to save money, you may have already trimmed the areas of spending where cutting expenses was relatively easy: groceries, eating out, cable TV, phone usage. However, for most Americans, transportation costs are their second-largest monthly expense after housing.

metro sign on a light post

If you haven't considered it before, is it time to take a closer look at your commuting costs and how you might trim them? Here are some ideas for putting the brakes on commute-related spending:

Go Public

If you're in an area that has a good bus, train or other public transportation system, give it a second look. Many employers subsidize the cost of using public transportation, so if you're not sure, ask your HR department if this benefit is available. However, even if you pay for your own commuter passes, the savings could be worth it.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that drivers generally pay 55 cents per mile to drive a car when you add up gas, insurance, depreciation/maintenance and tolls. To pinpoint the number of miles you drive to work, refer to an online map. Then use AAA's 55-cents-per-mile figure to compare your annual commute costs to the price of a public transportation commuter pass.

You can also use a calculator, such as the one available at the American Public Transportation Association, to compare your driving costs to the price of public transportation cost. Depending on the size of your vehicle, the length of your commute and local gas prices, your public commute costs may be only a fraction of your driving costs.

Cut Your Driving Costs

If you absolutely must drive to work, you can still cut your expenses:

More Ways to Save

Cutting your costs related to insurance and driving more strategically can also add up to big savings.

Once you look more carefully at your commuting costs, you might be surprised at how much money you can save. And knowing that you're spending less during drive time might even make your daily commute just a little bit more pleasant.

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