The cost of the commute

traffic jamFor many of us, owning a car (or two) is considered a necessity (remind me to tell you the story of when my husband and I had to share a car for a week. The horror!).

I’m lucky. I work at home full-time, which means that my commute is upstairs to downstairs when I need a cup of coffee.

For those who need to travel, the cost of the commute and owning a car equates to one major cost centre. Is this one that makes sense for your family, or is this perhaps an area in which you could slice and dice your spending a little bit?

The commute

The reality is, most of us face a commute of some sort to work every day (some of us a lengthy one). Are there other alternatives that might work to help condense that cost?

Like with so many other things, driving yourself is convenient, but you pay for that convenience. On top of charges for parking and gas to get from here to there, don’t forget about the extra wear and tear on your car- which will add up to extra cost over time.

Think outside the slow lane

If your car exists mostly to support that commute, than you may want to rethink some alternatives to cut costs around it. How about public transport? Do the routes and times make sense to your schedule?

What about carpooling? This is a great way to save both on gas and parking- not to mention it’s not terrible to have company when you’re stuck in a log jam on the freeway. Of course, this means that you can’t be belting out your tunes along with the radio- or maybe you can! Pick your carpool partner wisely….

Another option would be to see if telecommuting (even a day or two a week) is an option. You can seriously reduce your costs that way. Plus you get to wear your slippers all day long (a little-known perk enjoyed by those working at home).

Cut costs

If the car is the only way to go for you, there are ways to shave down on the costs. Service your car regularly and make sure that tires are filled properly to make most efficient use of gas.

Be an even-tempered driver, coasting rather than slamming on the brakes, which produces wear and tear on your car, but also increases your gas consumption.