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7 simple ways to cut the cost of your commute

Commuting to and from work is unavoidable and can be expensive so here are a few ways you could cut the cost of commuting.

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1. Car Sharing

Sharing your journey to work with a friend or colleague could cut the cost of your commute in half. You could alternate who drives or work out a weekly contribution towards petrol if only one person drives.

If there is no one you know to car share with, there are plenty of sites like Liftshare.com that could match you up with someone in your area.

Not only will it reduce your fuel bills, but it could also speed up your journey time by giving you access to car sharing lanes or help make a dull, repetitive journey more interesting.

Look for a car share match in your area

2. Think bike

Top Tip

You may even be able to cancel your gym membership if you are getting enough exercise from cycling which will save you more money.

If your commute to work is relatively short and the route has cycle paths then you might consider cycling. As well as reducing the amount of petrol you need to zero, it will also keep you fit.

Before you buy the latest bike, check with your employer first to see if they are a member (or would consider becoming a member) of the government's Cycle to work scheme. If so this could give you the opportunity to purchase a bike of your choice, with the necessary safety gear, tax-free.

3. Get Walking

Like cycling, walking is only really an option for those who have a shorter commute and it will keep you fit.

It is a great way to get to know your local area and walking route planners can even show you the quickest way from your home to your office.

4. Take public transport

Even if your local bus route does not cover your commute door-to-door, you might consider using it to get as close as possible and then walking or cycling the rest of the way. Using a park and ride scheme is another alternative as it could help you avoid the hassle of having to find and pay for expensive city centre parking.

With most forms of public transport it tends to be cheaper to buy travel cards rather than pay for individual fares. However, the cost of a season ticket for your rail or bus journey can seem like a lot of money to pay up front.

Some employers offer interest-free season ticket loan schemes to their workers so it is worth checking if this applies to you.

If this kind of scheme is not available to you, then you might look at buying your season ticket on a 0% purchases credit card paying it off in monthly instalments. If you choose this option, remember to pay off the cost in full before the introductory interest free deal comes to an end.

If you use the contactless technology on your credit or debit card to pay for your tube or bus journey, be careful you do not end up paying twice.

Due to the "touch in, touch out" system being used by TFL you will need to be careful not to pay for a fare more than once.

Taking your cards out of your purse or wallet to use them will help to avoid duplicate charges.

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5. Parking

Having to pay for parking means that your car is still costing you money even when it is not moving. If you are paying high parking fees to park close to work, you could find somewhere to park that is further away for free and walk in.

The same applies if you commute by train and need to leave your car at the station (parking tends to be expensive). Alternatively, you could find that hiring someone's drive as a parking space works out cheaper.

6. Cut your motoring costs

If it is difficult for you to find an alternative form of transport to get to work, here are some simple ways you can reduce your fuel consumption and save money at the pumps:

  • Drive more efficiently By lowering your overall speed and changing gear earlier you will burn less fuel. Also try to avoid braking or accelerating sharply.

  • Switch off your air con It burns a surprising amount of fuel. Only use it when you really have to like during the hottest summer months.

  • Leave earlier for work You can avoid rush hour and spend less time sitting in traffic to save on petrol. Sometimes leaving just five minutes earlier can greatly reduce your journey time.

  • Check your tyre pressure Under inflated tyres will significantly increase your fuel consumption.

  • Lighten your load Remove everything that is not essential to your journey. Clear out your boot and remove your roof rack (if you have one fitted).

  • Drive less By working from home one day a week you could save 20% on your fuel consumption.

7. Shop around

Use an online price checker to find the cheapest pump prices in your area (but make sure you do not drive too far for cheaper petrol) and always keep an eye out for supermarket promotions.

Try to avoid waiting until your car is running on fumes before filling it up or you may have to pay over the odds for convenience.

About Matt Fernell

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