What is the Cost of the Commute?
Not only is commuting frustrating, an invasion of your personal space, damaging to your health and lost time from your day it’s also expensive, very expensive. So, how much is your commute costing you?
Lost Life Time – Commuters are spending an average of 43 minutes – travelling 22 miles – each way. 86 minutes a day is equal to 29 hours a month or 2 weeks a year and that’s just the average, some people are commuting for double the amount of time at 90 minutes each way every day.
Health – The American Time Use Survey helps to quantify the negative effects noting “each minute spent commuting is associated with a 0.0257-minute exercise time reduction, a 0.0387-minute food preparation time reduction, and a 0.2205-minute sleep time reduction.” So, for instance, over the course of the year, someone who commutes for 15 hours each week for 50 weeks misses out on about half an hour of sleep each day.
Frustration & Satisfaction – An international team of researchers surveyed 225 employees of a large media company in London earlier this year and found that the longer they commuted, the less happy and emotionally satisfied they were with their jobs.
Personal Space – In most social circumstances we only allow people within an arm’s length of our body, but commuting on public transport violates that immediately. Gately argued in his book Rush Hour that we very frequently travel in conditions that would be considered inhumane for livestock
Money – With train prices rise year on year, now costing over £5,000 for an annual, season ticket in some parts of London, it’s hard to believe commuting is better than living in central London. It’s more expensive to live in the centre of the city but you have all the amenities and attractions on your doorstep without the cost, stress and reliance on unreliable rail services.
Cut the Commute: Cut the Cost
You can dramatically slash your commuting costs and reclaim back your life. Here are our top 10 tips on how you can improve your life. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to accommodate some major changes and big savings.
If you love your job but hate your commute, you may want to consider moving. Living closer to your workplace can dramatically slash the cost of travelling. If you can find something within walking distance, you can eliminate the expense completely.
Check out PLACE property app to find a Place close to work.
- It’s not a crazy idea: If you rent your home, then you have the flexibility to find an apartment for rentand try a new place to live, especially if you feel like you have a good level of job security.
- But it’s extreme: If you own your primary residence, on the other hand, this may be both cost prohibitive and, in this property market, extremely difficult. Plus, high moving costs usually mean it’ll be a while before you start noticing a positive change in your bank account. One way around this is to rent out the property you own and rent another property closer to work
Download PLACE today to search for properties based on commute time
2. Find a New Job
If you’re spending your life and your disposable income commuting to a job that you hate or you could find work closer to home, quitting for greener pastures is probably the most extreme change you can make but can make you better off, especially if you do contract work without the long term security of a full time contract.
- It’s not a crazy idea: If you own a home and have highly portable job skills, this option may be for you. Like moving, changing jobs can save you a great deal of money in commuting costs (without dealing with the hassle of expensive moving costs).
- But it’s extreme: Though your trip to work is tough, finding a new job can be a lot tougher. Don’t quit because of a commute until you have something else lined up.
3. Work from Home
Believe it or not, many companies are sensitive to the rising cost of commuting and office space. Take advantage of programs like flexible hours and the option to work from the comfort of your own home.
- It’s not a crazy idea: Even if you need to be in the office most days, your employer may be willing to compromise. Working from home just two days per week can cut your commuting costs by 40% per year.
- But it’s extreme: Be very careful how you propose this. You don’t want to be perceived as someone who isn’t running with the pack.
4. Work Longer Days
Working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days can save you 20% per year in commuting costs, with the added benefit of three-day weekends.
- It’s not a crazy idea: Many employers have adopted the “9/80” schedule, in which staff members work two full weeks in nine business days. For a few more hours a day, you’ll get an extra day off every other week. With a smart schedule, companies can cut internal expenses and save you money without losing an ounce of productivity.
- But it’s extreme: Obviously this only works if you can make the required arrangements with your employer. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking you can go home early some Fridays just because you worked extra hours earlier in the week.
Change Your Method
5. Bike to Work
Riding your bike to work can save you a great deal of money. Cycling is an excellent workout, you can save on an expensive gym membership and many employers have schemes to help you buy a bike too. You can even combine cycling and the train to break up your commute; the PLACE App can help you find the optimal train and cycling commute.
- It’s not a crazy idea: As communities become more bike-friendly, it’s getting a lot easier to find protected bike lanes and safe routes to work and many office buildings have secure bike parking, showers and changing rooms
- But it’s extreme: Cycling in driving rain is miserable so don’t rely on this plan for 100% savings.
- Use a Waxi
Water taxis are often overlooked. With seating and wifi they are a very pleasant way to travel to work whilst actually working onboard at the same time. Waterway commuting can be faster, especially if your office is near the river, like Canary Wharf.
If you’re not interested in changing your commute consider carpooling. It’s an easy and effective choice that usually only requires a bit of coordination among some colleagues at work.
- It’s not a crazy idea: Carpooling is cheaper, as long as you all share teh cost equally.
- But it’s extreme: It can lead to frustrations and arguments with your co workers and you might want to get away from your co workers when you leave the office rather than be forced to sit in a car with them for an extra couple of hours a day. Think Peter Kay’s Car Share http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02n62v4
Change of Car
8. Buy a More Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
If you don’t want to make any significant changes, but wouldn’t mind saving a little bit of money in fuel expenses, think about investing in a small fuel efficient cars.
- It’s not a crazy idea: A new car comes with a high initial expense, but if you’re in the market for one, look for the most efficient models and you’ll save plenty over the next few years.
- But it’s extreme: You’ll have to sell your car and buy something that you might not like and might not be practical outside of the city.
- Join a Flexi Car Program
- It’s not a crazy idea: With the flex car alternative, you can cut maintenance, insurance, and sometimes even fuel costs from your regular budget.
- But it’s extreme: A flex car or taxi service is too expensive for everyday use. It’ll only cut your budget if you commute just a few days per week, or if you pair it with another one of the tips on this list.
10. Changes Your Driving Habits
Do you love your job, your house, your car, and your lifestyle? You can still save a little bit on your commute without making any drastic changes. Just incorporate some small changes in your driving technique and car care.
First, buy a tire gauge (the Accutire MS-4021B Standard Digital Tire Gauge is a good option). Properly inflating your tires can increase efficiency by up to 5%. When you’re on the road, drive the speed limit, avoid carrying access weight, coast down hills, don’t gun the engine after every red light, and pay attention to regular maintenance. You’ll find that while these little changes won’t save your budget, you’ll cut a few pounds here and there from your usual travel expenses.
- It’s not a crazy idea: These are practical tips that everyone should incorporate. You don’t have to spend any money to operate your own car a little more efficiently.
- It’s not too extreme: Something you should do anyway but it can be a challenge to change driving habits that you’ve had for years.
For many of us commuting to work is one of our largest recurring costs so applying these tips can help you save you several thousands of pounds. Apart from the saved money commuting itself has a cost on your lifestyle and your health. Even though it may cost a bit more living closer to work you’ll feel better and have a better quality of life.
Download Place today.
If you’ve found another way to cut the commute and slash the costs share it with us below!