If you’re on a mission to save more money, one of the most important things you can do is reduce your transportation costs.
From the cost of buying a car to paying for maintenance, gas, and insurance, there are tons of opportunities for you to cut back.
But where, exactly, should you start? And which money-saving strategies will have the biggest impact on your budget?
Well, for the rest of this guide, I’m going to dive into the 12 best ways to reduce your transportation costs.
So, if you’re ready to start saving, keep reading!
1. Use Public Transportation
The easiest and most obvious way to reduce your transportation costs is to take advantage of public transportation.
Typically, it costs less overall to use public transportation than it does to own a car, especially when you factor in the cost of car maintenance and upkeep.
It’s also worth asking to see if your employer is willing to pay for some or all of the cost of a bus or light rail pass.
While not every town or city offers public transportation, most urban areas offer some form of public bus or train to transport commuters.
If it’s an option in your city, take advantage of it as much as you can!
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Carpooling is another fantastic way to reduce your transportation costs.
Therefore, if you live near some of your coworkers or school peers, try to set up an alternating carpool schedule.
Or, if you work at a large company and you’re unsure about whether or not any of your coworkers live in your area, use your company’s communication channels to organize a carpool.
By carpooling, not only will you be able to split the cost of getting to and from your destination, but you’ll also make new friends and reduce the wear and tear on your car.
Think about it – if you drive into work with four friends, you’ll only have to pay for one-quarter of the gas you’d ordinarily buy when driving on your own.
If all of your fellow carpoolers are willing to rotate cars and drivers, you’ll also end up putting fewer miles on your car, resulting in even more savings.
Oh, and here’s one more thing to keep in mind: since auto insurance providers use your annual mileage to calculate your rate, the fewer miles you drive, the more you’ll save.
3. Ride Your Bike
Do you live fairly close to your place of work? If so, you can ditch your car altogether and ride your bike to work instead – it’s free!
Don’t think your commute is bike-able or walkable?
What if you thought of your commute as an opportunity to exercise?
Try combining your workout and commuting efforts into a single activity. After all, some people spend 45 minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill in the morning, then get in their cars and take a 20-minute drive to work.
By combining both your workout and commute into one heart-pumping activity, you can save time, money, and get in shape all at once.
This is an especially great option if your workplace happens to have a shower, but it’s still a possibility even if it doesn’t.
If you have an extra-long commute to work, consider riding a bike or walking wherever else it’s possible for you.
4. Take Care Of Your Car
You may consider skipping a few routine maintenance checks to reduce your transportation costs, but this is a terrible idea.
It’s much more affordable to keep up with regular car maintenance payments than it is to fix a major car issue, or worse, to have to buy a new car altogether.
To avoid having to pay an emergency expense when your vehicle’s broken down, stay up-to-date on oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine maintenance.
Pay attention to how your car is running, and address any irregularities as soon as you notice them. This will help you get ahead of any major damages or necessary repairs.
The better you take care of your car, the longer it will continue to serve you by getting you safely from Point A to Point B.
Over time, this is one of the best ways to keep your transportation costs low.
5. Shop Around For Car Insurance
If you ever find yourself in a car accident, it’s important that you’re insured. Unfortunately, buying car insurance can sometimes be a big, expensive headache.
So, if you’re looking for a fantastic way to reduce your transportation costs, ask your insurance provider if they offer any discounts for member loyalty, safe driving, or bundling your auto insurance with your homeowner’s insurance.
Also, I highly recommend using a quote comparison tool when you’re shopping for car insurance. This is the easiest way to compare the premiums of multiple providers and find the best possible policy for your budget.
However, keep in mind that the cheapest car insurance isn’t necessarily the one you should buy.
It’s vitally important that you have enough coverage in case you get in an accident, so don’t shop based on price alone.
The last thing you want is to have to pay for car repairs that aren’t covered because you weren’t willing to spend an extra $8 per month on insurance.
6. Follow Traffic Laws
There’s nothing worse for your budget than getting pulled over for speeding or walking up to your car to find a parking ticket on the windshield.
Traffic violations can cost you hundreds of dollars, not to mention they can put you and others in danger.
While it might not seem like a big deal at the time to drive over the speed limit, the money you have to use to pay for your speeding ticket can blow a major hole in your monthly budget.
By driving safely and paying attention to traffic laws, you’ll be less likely to have to pay hefty fines.
Oh, and as an added bonus, your auto insurance provider may offer a bonus or reduced premium for maintaining a safe driving record.
7. Find Out What You Can Expense
If you’re spending a lot of money driving for work, find out which transportation costs your employer will cover.
Large companies sometimes allow you to expense your miles, or they might even provide a company car for you to drive.
It never hurts to ask to find out what benefits your employer provides related to transportation costs.
Seriously, you won’t know all of your options until you ask.
Also, be sure to keep track of and expense any work-related travel you do. This usually includes the cost of gas, plane tickets, and any other purchases you make while on a trip for business purposes.
8. Buy A Smaller, More Economical Car
Commuting to work every day in a large, low-MPG car can end up costing you quite a lot of money.
So, if your car is a gas-guzzler, it may be time to consider a smaller, more economical alternative.
Gas is a recurring cost that’s unavoidable for car owners (unless your car’s electric!). And, depending on where you live, gas prices can get expensive.
Getting a car with better gas mileage can reduce your monthly gas bill drastically, and that savings seriously adds up.
9. Buy Your Car With Cash
One of the best ways to save money when buying a car is to purchase it with cash.
Many people think owning a car means that having a monthly car payment is inevitable, but that’s not true.
You don’t have to take out a loan to buy a car if you save up enough money to buy one first.
While it might be a foreign concept to some people, not having a car loan gives you the freedom to save, invest, and spend your money the way you want to.
Meanwhile, the debt from an auto loan can be difficult to get away from, and you’ll end up having to spend more than the car is worth on interest payments.
Beyond that, cars depreciate faster than almost anything you can spend your money on.
With that in mind, instead of saving for a down payment on a car, start saving for the entire thing.
Shop around to find out how much you’ll need to save to purchase the make and model you want. Then, make a plan to put away a certain amount of money each month until you reach your goal.
Instead of having a car payment, you’ll make interest-free, no-risk payments to yourself ahead of time.
While this may mean you’re not able to get the fanciest car on the market, if you make a concentrated effort, you’ll be able to afford a nice, reliable car without going into debt.
10. Save Money On Parking
As if owning, maintaining, and insuring a car doesn’t cost enough, car owners also often have to pay parking fees at apartment complexes and shopping centers.
While this might be a great option if you live in a crowded area, if free parking is ever an option, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it.
Sure, you might have to walk a little further, but the money savings you achieve can be significant over time.
11. Work From Home
What if you could get rid of your commute altogether?
Now more than ever, it might be a real possibility.
Many companies are now willing to let their employees work from home entirely or at least for a few days a week.
The option to work from home is more feasible in more industries than ever before, so even if your company doesn’t have a track record of allowing employees to work remotely, you still may be able to.
Especially if you have a long commute, it’s worth asking your employer about the possibility of working from home for some or all of your workdays.
By ditching your commute, you could reduce your transportation costs by half or more – talk about a company perk!
If your employer is hesitant to allow you to work from home, try to negotiate a trial period. Even if they only allow you to work from home one day per week, you could save close to 20% on your annual cost of gas.
With the help of these tips, your transportation costs should no longer eat up such a large section of your budget.
And with all your newfound savings, you can pay off debt, invest in your future, or even just pile up some cash for your next car purchase.
So, what do you do to save money on transportation costs? Be sure to leave your answer in the comments below!