Remember how owning a car was so much more complicated and expensive than you thought at first? You thought about the payment, the gas, and the insurance you’d need, but not about depreciation, or the maintenance needed to keep it running. A lot of people underestimate the costs of commuting, too. It’s not just gas that you’re burning, but money and time.
A recent study finds that the average commuter is shelling out $2600 and 200 hours every year getting back and forth to work. Here in South Florida, the Miami commute takes an average of 49 minutes, and though many cite their commute as a chance to relax, a study from the University of Montréal’s School of Industrial Relations says that there is significant correlation between commuting and the likelihood of suffering from job burnout. In fact, the larger the city, the more stress involved in the commute for those traveling by car. Commutes over 20 minutes increase the risks of workers becoming cynical and disengaged from their job.
Of course, commuting costs can vary with the following factors:
- The daily round-trip distance from home to work.
- The days per month which you commute.
- The local cost of a gallon of gasoline and the fuel efficiency of your automobile.
- The size of your vehicle.
- Your monthly car payment, inclusive of insurance.
- Parking costs such as metered parking or in a lot.
You can figure your individual costs with a handy commute cost calculator and maybe find some ways to trim some dollars and minutes from your commute. You may also be able to trim your commuting costs by rethinking your relationship with your car. After all, while carried costs decrease over time, operating costs increase. The more wear and tear you put on your vehicle the faster it will depreciate and develop operating problems that will cost a significant amount of money to repair.
Cutting Your Commute Costs
- Use an application like Gas Buddy to help you find the lowest fuel price in your area.
- See if your employer offers transit benefits for employees who are driving in, or will pick up the tab for using public transportation.
- Telecommute a few days a week if it’s possible.
- Work up a rotating carpool with coworkers from the same area, or try to get together a vanpool.
- If public transportation is an option, you might even be able to give up one car entirely if you’re in a two-person household. That may save you almost $10,000 per year in terms of payments, fuel, and maintenance.
- Use a rewards credit card to pay for your gas, but not one that gives you back points. You’re going right for the cash on this one.
- Go over your automobile insurance with an experienced insurance agent. They may have ways to save you on one of your largest expenses.
Finally, you may even want to look for a job that’s closer to home. After all, the best way to save money on your commute is by not having one.