Cutting down on transit costs

When my parents were feeling the money pinch, they decided to sell their car.  Good financial move right?  It netted them $8000 and they didn’t have a vehicle eating up gas and insurance money any more.  Well, not so good actually.  They blew through the money in a month or two and now have to spend several hours walking to and from grocery stores and medical appointments.

Photo Credit: DennisM2 via Flickr

Photo Credit: DennisM2 via Flickr

Like many stories about my parents – please don’t follow their lead!  While selling a car may seem like a good way to cut back and save some money, it does you no good if you (1) don’t have a plan for the money that you earn from the sale, (2) don’t have a plan for the money you save from not having a car and (3) don’t have a plan for how you’re going to get from place to place.

So how do you cut down on transit costs without crippling your day-to-day life?  With a plan!  We all have errands to run and jobs to get to.  In any reasonably sized city, it should be expected that you will need to travel to get from place to place at least once in a while.

  1. Instead of a driving a car… Of course getting rid of a car will save you money on transportation.  But in order to reduce the impact on your life, you have to have alternatives thought out.  Perhaps you will ride your bike or take public transit.  Put the savings that you earn from not paying for gas and insurance into an alternative form of transportation.  Don’t just leave yourself stranded and forced to walk halfway across the city to get to the dentist.
  2. Make a drastic move and relocate closer to your place of work or schooling.  This works best in the city where you can have a nice apartment close to amenities and jobs.  When I was in college and when I first graduated from college, I lived within walking distance of all my jobs.  I didn’t have to spend money on transportation and I got the added benefit of walking half an hour each day.
  3. Pool your resources and share the cost of transportation with others.  This might involve the use of car sharing programs like Modo or Zipcar.  It could involve car pooling with co-workers or doing mass grocery shops together with friends or family.  We all need to use transportation at some point, but there’s no reason why we can’t be efficient about it!

Even now, Brian and I still walk, bike or take public transit for the majority of our day-to-day life.  We make enough to support a car, but… why?  Over the years, we have just found that we don’t need to have a car – there’s just too many better things to spend money on!

How do you save money on transportation?

Posted in: Minimalism and Frugality

Top of page