5 ways to save on your commuting costs

A lot of people are starting to go back to the office, at least on a part time basis. Many of us – myself included – have enjoyed saving all the money we spend commuting to the office. Not wanting to sacrifice my new savings rate, I’ve tried to cut my commuting costs.

Some of the general commuting office saving tips are much easier said than done. Commuting takes up a significant amount of time and energy. The last thing on your mind after a long day at is likely to be meal prepping for lunch the next day.

So, with the help of some money blogging friends, I’ve come up with some easy ways to reduce your commuting costs – that should be doable for most people.

If you have any other tips to save money on your commute please do share them below, so everyone can benefit from them!

Here’s how to reduce your commuting costs:

  1. Optimise your travel
  2. Find your old cards
  3. Save money on lunch
  4. Make the most of free entertainment
  5. Be flexible

Optimise your travel

This was one of my favourite tips, so it’s not a surprise it came from Lynn aka Mrs MummyPenny.

She suggested re-examining your journey to check which zones you’re travelling to – this is particularly relevant in London.

You might be able to jump off your train a couple of stops early and save some money by cutting out an extra zone.

The best thing about this tip? It also helps your step count! If you’re as paranoid as me about hitting your daily goal, this will be a real bonus. Exercise before work is also proven to help your focus and productivity – so you may well have a better day for it.

This tip also works outside of London. For example, out of town carparks are usually cheaper than inner city ones. If you can spare an extra 15 minutes or so, perhaps you could save yourself a couple of pounds each day – in both senses of the word!

Office picture - different floors
The view from the lift in my office

Find your old cards

This tip is again probably most relevant if you’re commuting in London.

Most people use their debit or credit card on public transport now, rather than an Oyster card. This might be more convenient, but you may have unspent money lying around.

Have a hunt around your house for any old Oyster cards. You might be surprised how much money is left on these cards.

Additionally, using an Oyster card might save you money. If you have a railcard – like a 16–25-year-old one – you can connect it to your Oyster card. This will save you a third on all your off-peak travel.

Outside of London, rail cards are still a great investment. If you’re travelling regularly, you can make your money back and more very quickly. If you’re confident you will keep travelling by train, a three year railcard works out cheaper than buying a new card each year.

Save money on lunch

As mentioned earlier, I’m fully aware that meal prepping might not be practical or desirable after long days in the office.

If you can bring your own lunch even a couple of days a week, this will save you money. If you can’t, don’t worry. You can still save money on lunch.

A lot of shops and restaurants offer lunchtime deals.

Also consider collecting any loyalty cards you can. If a Tesco meal deal is your go to lunch, make sure you get a club card too. If you prefer Sainsburys, get yourself a Nectar card.

Equally, if you like to treat yourself to a meal from your favourite restaurant or café every now and then, see if they have a loyalty card scheme. You may be able to get yourself a free sandwich or hot drink, for example.

If you have a tendency to spend a lot of money on coffee, you could try a Pret subscription. For just £20 a month, you can get unlimited barista made drinks. A very good deal if you’re partial to a caffeine fix!

Make the most of free entertainment

It can be tempting to splash out on expensive audio books, podcasts, films or TV shows to keep you entertained on your commute.

The Reverend recommends finding free alternatives. There’s plenty of audio books available for free. You don’t need to spend significant sums of money downloading books to listen to each week.

If you already have a Netflix subscription, try and avoid splashing out on an Amazon Prime subscription too, for example. A lot of content moves around both streaming sites, so you don’t miss out on many shows by just having one subscription.

Be flexible

This one is potentially out of your control. But, you could ask your employer if you could change your working hours slightly. While the threat of Covid-19 is still relatively high, many companies are being more lenient and allowing their staff to travel at quieter times.

If you can negotiate this, you may be able to save some money. Offpeak fares are often much cheaper. For example, my off-peak fare is £2.70, while my peak fare is around £7. This does include my railcard discount, which doesn’t apply on peak travel.

Your working hours might be fixed. If this is the case, you might still be able to move your travel times around.

Could you book a gym class before work rather than during your lunchbreak and travel before the peak fares set it? Or you could arrange to meet friends after work and travel home later. If you were going to spend money on these things anyway, you might as well do them at times that will make your commute cheaper.

Even if you drive to work, being flexible could save you money. Getting stuck in traffic uses more petrol – and is much worse for the environment! Travelling when the roads are quieter will not only save you a lot of time but also money.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it across social media or with your friends! I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. How do you save money on your commuting costs? Did you find these commuting money saving tips helpful? Comment your thoughts below.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts.

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