If you spend hours a week commuting to work in your car, you probably know how expensive gas is. Factor in car insurance premiums and repairs and driving can eat up a large part of your budget.
But here’s the good news: you don’t have to spend so much on transportation. Take a look at 5 habits you can change in order to cut down on your costs and pocket more cash.
1. Use alternative forms of transportation
The first habit you can change is to drive less and take alternative forms of transportation more. Public transportation is a cost-effective way to get you where you need to go. Better yet, you’ll be able to kiss goodbye filling up on gas, feeding parking meters and paying those expensive highway tolls.
If you live in a city, look into your local public transportation options to see what might be doable for you. If you live outside a city, you may still be able to find commuter rail or bus options.
You can also consider taking Uber and Lyft instead of driving your own car. Of course, do the math and see if it works to your advantage. I live in Los Angeles — a city notorious for its car culture — and I am car-less. That’s right. I work from home and live in a walkable neighborhood that also has great public transportation options nearby.
If I’m going somewhere that’s not accessible or convenient by public transportation, I take a Lyft. With zero car payments, parking tickets, parking fees, car insurance, gas or automobile repairs, I estimate I save around $10,000 each year.
2. Get some exercise
Do you want to kill two birds with one stone? Try walking or biking. This way you can get your workout in while saving money on transportation costs.
While living in Portland, Oregon I didn’t have a car and started walking or biking everywhere. My transportation costs were $0 and I was in great shape. This option is also a great way to explore your environment and surroundings.
3. Check gas prices ahead of time
Gas can eat up your budget. Sometimes you may end up paying more for gas simply by going to a gas station that’s more expensive than another one just down the road. So, how can you find the best gas prices in your area?
Try GasBuddy.com. Using this site, you can input your zip code and compare gas prices in your area to find the most affordable option. While it may seem like the difference between gas prices is only a few cents, it adds up.
4. Drive efficiently
Did you know that the way you drive can actually be costing you money? It’s true. According to fueleconomy.gov, “Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic.”
So, in order to save money and get the best gas mileage, avoid accelerating too quickly and instead speed up gradually. Also, drive at the speed limit and avoid excessive braking.
5. Keep your car in good shape
In order to get the most out of your car and save money on transportation costs, it’s important to keep your car in good shape. Doing so will help you drive efficiently.
To start, make sure your tires are inflated at the right pressure so you can get the most out of your gas mileage. Also, do routine check-ups on your engine, and change your air filter and oil regularly. Think of your car in the same way you think about your body. You probably try to keep healthy and stay in shape to avoid illness or injuries. Why not take care of your car as well?
By keeping your car in good shape and performing regular maintenance, you can lessen the possibility of costly repairs and mechanical problems down the line.
Let’s face it, driving can take a bite out of your budget. You may even be frustrated about spending money on your car when you could be using the money for other things. But, if you change your habits and use these 5 tips, you can lower your transportation costs and save more of your hard-earned cash.