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Four Ways to Save Money on Your Commute!

Our daily commutes to work can add up -- in hours and dollars. If you are looking to save money on your commute, we’ve got some great tips to help you cut costs!

According to the U.S. Census, a typical daily round trip commute for a U.S. worker is about 38 miles. Depending on how much you drive your car and assuming 245 working days a year, that average commute could cost you between $4,400 and $7,000 each year, using  AAA’s average cost per mile. And, that doesn’t even include parking fees and tolls. It can hit budgets hard -- especially for those watching their spending or seeking to pay off debt.

But it doesn’t have to cost so much just to get to work. There are simply ways to save money on your commute, depending on where you live and your job. There are ways to cut the price tag so you’re not paying so much to actually earn money!

1. Ride a Bike

You might have hung up the helmet as soon as you got your license to drive, but your bicycle can once again be your go-to mode of transportation.

save money by biking

Biking can not only save money, it’s a bonus for your health!

The League of American Bicyclists reports that the number of bike commuters is increasing -- especially in bike-friendly communities where leaders encourage biking. Since 2000, the group reports that the bike commuting rate in those communities has increased 105 percent.

There’s good reason: One study found that bicyclists save a whopping $4.6 billion per year by choosing their bike over their car. If U.S. drivers switched a single four-mile car trip for a bike ride each week for a year, they’d save more than 2 billion gallons of gas, the study found.

And now is the time to take your first commute by bike. May is National Bike Month. Find out more about bike-friendly communities and events in your area on the league’s website.

2. Board the Bus

A bike is great, but what happens if your commute is long or the weather is stormy? Consider giving public transportation a try.

public transportation

You may enjoy pubic transportation and the ability to read or work!

Workers who swap their car for public transit each day could save $9,234 a year, according to the American Public Transportation Association. The savings are based on not only the cost of driving a vehicle, but also owning it.

Large cities typically have the most extensive transit networks. But public transit in small and mid-sized cities is gaining traction. One study found that more than 250 transportation systems in mid-sized cities serve 1.5 billion trips a year.

Find out what’s available in your area by searching on the American Public Transportation Association’s website, which tracks transit systems across the country.

3. Join a Carpool

Commuters who carpool pay less for gas, parking fees, and maintenance. They also might just get to work -- and home -- quicker, taking advantage of high-occupancy lanes that allow only vehicles with multiple riders.

save money with a carpool

Carpooling has many benefits

Still, less than 10 percent of commuters carpool, according to Census.gov, despite some significant savings. According to RideShare.org, a person with a commute of more than 12 miles could save more than $1,500 -- not including parking or toll costs -- by joining a two-person carpool.

Websites and apps offer services to match carpool partners. But, sometimes the best way to find a carpool buddy is to just ask at work and in your neighborhood.

4. Telecommute

The easiest way to save money on the commute is by not commuting at all. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 37 percent of U.S. workers have telecommuted, up from less than 10 percent in 1995.

ask to telecommute

More employers are allowing full or part-time telecommuting

While it might be tricky for a day-care worker or forklift operator to work from home, telecommuting is a possibility for a growing number of jobs thanks to email, teleconferences and other technology.

Every little bit helps. Even if you can’t ride your bike, hop on the bus, carpool or telecommute everyday, leaving the car at home once a week or even a couple of times a month can add up to some big savings for commuters.

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