Commuting on a budget: 3 simple tips

With fuel prices skyrocketing and public transport costs following suit, it's no surprise that the cost of commuting is mounting. With rail fares rising by at least 4.1% this year, many commuters find themselves spending the first hour of work each morning paying back the cost of their journey.

Unfortunately, it's part of the daily grind that you can't really get away from. And unless you can convince your boss to let you work from home, you're going to have to make your way into the office every day for the foreseeable future. Don't worry, though. These three tips will soon see you saving money on your commute without having to change things too drastically.

1. Get on your bike

Not only will you save money on your commute, you'll also save money on that gym membership. Who needs spin class when you're doing the real thing twice a day? Lots of companies take part in cycle to work schemes, where their staff can buy bicycles at a 20% to 40% discount. You don't pay all at once: it comes out of your wage in instalments. If you do go down this route, remember to factor it in when you're working out your monthly budget: our free budgeting software can help you do this without the need for complicated spreadsheets.

If your office doesn't have showers, never fear. You can avoid feeling sweaty by keeping some wet wipes and deodorant in your desk drawer. Don't cycle in your business clothes, either: wear your usual work-out clothes and get changed once you arrive.

2. Do as the Americans do: carpool

One way to save money on petrol and parking is to share the expense with a couple of colleagues. Ask around the office and see if anyone who lives in your area wants to take part in a car sharing scheme. If nobody you work with is interested, you can try sharing with people who work in offices nearby. Websites like BlaBlaCar and Liftshare connect willing drivers with people who need a lift. You get to save money on your commute, and you might even make some new friends on the way.

3. Take the bus

It might not be as glam as the train, but if you want to know how to save money, the bus has the answer. In London, a tube from Paddington to Old Street costs £2.10 with an Oyster Card; but only £1.40 if you take the bus. That's a saving of 70p, which might not sound like much, but over the course of the week it really adds up. When you're budgeting, small savings like this can really make a difference. It's worth doing a bit of shopping around to find out if the bus is cheaper for your commute: if you're travelling from the suburbs you can make even bigger savings.


Posted by Money Dashboard


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