The modern-day commute can be an expensive part of our monthly budget. In this quick ACTION guide we discuss a few simple strategies on how to save money on your commute.
The idea here is not to completely stop driving a car (if you own one), but instead to introduce some changes to your spending habits at a pace that meets your comfort level.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how you can save on your car & commuting expenses.
First, if you own two cars, consider switching to a one-car household, saving money on car insurance, fuel costs, and maintenance expenses. These days, you can rent a car by the hour from car sharing services such as GoGet, Flexicar, Green Share Car and Hertz 24/7 who all leverage the power of the Internet to offer you access to a car (including petrol and insurance) whenever you need one.
Carpooling is another proven method to save money, cutting down driving stress and saving on petrol costs. It can also make your trip faster if there are dedicated lanes for high occupancy vehicles (usually more than 3 or 4 people in a single car) on your way. Gauge interest amongst your neighbours, friends and workmates or try services such CoSeats or JayRide in order to find carpooling companions.
If after using the above two options you find that you don’t use your own car that often any more, you might consider renting it out to other people through online services such as Car Next Door (where you rent it out by the hour) or Drive My Car (where you rent it out by the day, week or month). Before you do that though, make sure you carefully assess the risks in renting your car to others. You are obviously also free to use these two services to hire cars yourself from people in your neighbourhood. As a matter of fact, if you want to use Car Next Door, we’ve arranged for you $15 of free credit to start you off.
If you live within a reasonable distance from where you work, consider riding the bike, walking or running. Even if you only do it once a week, you still save on petrol and parking while also getting more fit too.
If possible, catch public transportation from time to time. It is often cheaper than the combined costs of petrol, maintenance, and parking. Plus, relaxing with a book or a bit of YouTube/Netflix is always a nice way to get to work.
When you do use your car, drive at a slower pace and minimise vehicle accelerations and brake usage for the benefit of reducing fuel consumption. One way to do this is to keep a light touch on the pedals or use cruise control when you are driving long distances on the highway.
Keep your tyres fully inflated as part of your monthly routine. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to save on petrol and improve efficiency.
Another way to improve efficiency is to get rid of any extra weight in your car. Every extra kilogram you carry reduces both fuel economy and performance.
Needless to say, keep the air-conditioner off when not needed. Using the AC burns more fuel and puts more of a load on your engine.
Familiarise yourself with petrol prices and their cycle along your commute. Some servos tend to regularly have lower prices than their neighbouring ones (usually independents). Frequent those over others. If you have a smartphone, it has never been easier using petrol price tracking apps.
Consider using supermarket loyalty schemes in order to get discounts on your petrol but make sure first that you can’t get cheaper petrol elsewhere without those discounts schemes.
Still on the topic of petrol, there is very little advantage in using premium petrol so aim for the cheapest option that is compatible for your car.
Finally, combine work and personal trips to not only save money but also make more efficient use of your time.
These are just a few ideas to consider.
Remember, every single saving act helps and most are quite easy to implement once you aware of them.
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