How much do you spend just getting to and from work every day? The cost of gas, parking and wear and tear can really add up, and in an urban area like Southern California, it’s near impossible to live without a car!
If you work 20 miles from home, it’s not really reasonable to bike commute or even to take public transportation unless you want to spend two or more hours maneuvering the public transportation system. I understand that there may be some areas in SoCal that have the public transportation wired, but not mine. It would take me almost three hours and several bus changes to go 25 miles.
For someone like me, there are only two reasonable options, carpooling or continue to drive my car and try to save a few dollars on day to day commute.
I live in the Los Angeles area and commute 25 miles each way to work and spend just over two hours a day behind the wheel. It costs me roughly $8 a day in gas to commute. I figured I work around 220 work days in a year. At the cost of $8 a day multiplied by 220 work days works out to $1,760 per year, or almost $150 every month. If I add in the oil changes and necessary car maintenance, it’s closer to $200 a month.
Here a few ideas to possibly save a few dollars.
A Vanpool is the mother of money savers. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for everyone. If you are lucky to work for a company that offers a commuter program, you really should consider it. One of my co-worker’s carpools and his out of pocket is $0, yes nothing the company subsidies the program., When an opening in the vanpool comes available, I’m going to sign-up and save the money for my fun travel.
Gift Cards and Loyalty Programs for Gas
- Look for discounted gift cards for major gas station.
- Sign up for Shell Fuel Rewards or Grocery Store Loyalty Programs that offer per gallon discounts.
- Don’t Forget Costco.
Save on Tolls
Research an alternate route to save on toll fees, it might take a bit longer, but if it’s the same mileage and does not increase your gas cost, it might work for you.
Check the bus routes in your area. If the bus has direct route and drops you off a couple of blocks away, then you get a little exercise along the way. The downside in taking the bus to work is that you must adhere to the bus schedule.
If you can find a co-worker to carpool with it can save you 50%. For almost two years I carpooled with a co-worker who lived close to me. One week I drive, one week she drives. My workload increased and needed to work late more often, so I stopped carpooling. As soon as work settles down, I’m going to try vanpooling.
Alternative Work Schedules
Ask your HR Department about alternative work schedules. If enough people want the program, your company might be open to the idea of implementing a program.
Use Pre-Tax Dollars
Ask your HR Department if your company offers any commuter benefits. My job allows us to pay for parking with pre-tax dollars and provides commuter discounts for people who carpool or take public transportation.