If you’ve ever taken a good, hard look at your finances, you’ll notice that a lot of your monthly costs are from transportation. No matter your commute style, you must invest some amount of money, and sometimes that amount can add up to a lot. The unfortunate aspect of transportation costs is that they’re nearly always non-negotiable. Getting around costs money, regardless, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot, and that is the key.
There are some ways you’re able to save money on transportation. Follow one or several of our suggestions to see how best you can avoid spending too much on your daily commute.
Avoid Toll Roads
Depending on what area you live in, tolls for state highways or bridges can be one of the biggest drags on your wallet. Some toll roads can be upwards of $12, and that’s just one way! Tolls tend to sneak up on us and before you know it, you could be spending way too much on what should have been a simple drive. If you’re able to, plan and take a route that avoids tolls. It’ll save you in the long run.
Plan for Parking
Like tolls, parking fees can also sneak up on you. Between metered street parking and high-priced parking lot fees, there’s many ways that parking costs can rack up, too. Sometimes parking fees are very hard to avoid, but if you plan and check parking options like finding out when and where there are at rates, or whether free parking is within a reasonable walking distance, you can save yourself a few bucks with each outing.
Search for the Best Gas Prices
You never want to be caught nearly out of gas and only within range of an over-priced gas station. To avoid paying too much for gas, you can do two things. One is to always keep an eye on your fuel gauge so you never run out of gas mid-trip. Always have at least enough gas to drive across town or to the cheapest gas station. That leads to the second option: check the prices of local stations. There are plenty of sites and smartphone apps that allow you to search for the lowest gas prices within a certain radius. Look these up before you hit empty to maximize the bang for your buck when filling up.
Plan Your Maintenance
Taking care of your car is the best way to ensure its fuel economy is in top form. This means regularly cleaning it out and taking it in for regular maintenance. Routine checkups on your oil, your tire pressure and your transmission will catch any issues early enough before they become big, expensive problems. You will also ensure that your car is running at its most efficient. As much as you may not want to pay for regular tune-ups, you’ll be less inclined to a have a huge expense down the road.
Talk to your Insurance Company
We all need to deal with car insurance costs, and sometimes, it’ll feel like paying your premium fees is the biggest hassle, especially if you haven’t ever dealt with anything yet that requires your auto insurance to increase. The good news is that your policy-holding company will almost always be happy to work with you to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need, no more and no less. If you just talk to someone in person or over the phone and say you’re looking to either cut costs or move to a different insurance company, the representative will work with you to make sure you aren’t paying for anything you shouldn’t be. Often, you may have included something in your first policy you don’t need, like towing coverage if you already have some form of roadside assistance. Additionally, many companies offer discounts to your policy for being a student driver with good grades, for being accident-free for a certain amount of time, for using autopay, among many others. Ask what discounts you might be eligible for, so you can ensure your best rate.
If you’re in a city or an area that has a bus system or a subway system, take advantage. This could especially save you money in the long run if you’re in a congested city with a car with which you are consistently stuck in traffic. Trading in your car and switching to public transport, only if it’s reasonable for your situation, could save you thousands of dollars in the future.
This isn’t always an easy option, but giving up auto transport, altogether in favor of walking or using a bike is going to save you the most amount of money. Again, as with public transportation, this money-saving option is contingent on your living situation. But, if you do live in a walkable city where you only need the occasional cab or subway ride, you should embrace this convenience. If walking is a little too slow, invest in a bike, which is a one-time investment that could last you years and save you all kinds of money.