Here are seven tips for reducing the cost of commuting..
1) Book Train Tickets In Advance
The earlier train tickets are booked, the cheaper they tend to be.
Most train operators offer “advance” tickets for sale up to 12 weeks before the date of travel; some companies’ advance tickets get released even earlier. Most companies make it easy to find advance tickets by sending out email alerts about advance ticket availability. These alerts are typically sent by route.
For example, Which? recently found London-to-Leeds advance tickets for sale for just £30 – an 87% savings over anytime tickets.
An important caveat: advance tickets aren’t usually eligible for refunds or transfers. They can only be used on specific routes at specific times.
2) Try Splitting Train Trips
Splitting up a journey into smaller legs (commonly called “split ticketing“) is often a path to reduced costs. Generally speaking, the longer the overall trip, the greater the potential savings in split ticketing.
Travellers split tickets by buying multiple tickets that combine to reproduce a trip commonly covered by one “through” ticket.
For example, traveling from Glasgow to Manchester is £22 cheaper when a traveler splits the ticket to travel Glasgow-Preston-Manchester rather than buying a through ticket.
3) Walk Or Bike When Practical
The cost of commuting typically boils down to buying public transport tickets or operating a private car. That means the cost can be eliminated entirely if walking or cycling is a viable alternative.
Even the cost of buying a bicycle can be minimised thanks to the Cycle to Work scheme. Cyclists can save up to 40% off the cost of a new bike, depending on their salary. Electric scooters are also a viable option in many countries nowadays according to GES.
4) Reduce MOT Costs
The government mandates the fees for MOTs (currently £54.85 for cars). What some commuters don’t realise is that this mandate is only a maximum fee. Service centres can, and do, offer tests for less. Before scheduling a test, owners should check their area to find the lowest price currently available. Some motorists even scrap a car that is not economical in favour of a car that is cheaper to run.
5) Economise On Fuel
Finding the cheapest available fuel can drastically reduce the cost of commuting.
Supermarkets that have fuelling stations often have the lowest prices in the area. Another rule of thumb is that fuel is cheaper in more densely-populated areas — big cities versus rural towns. Finally, many handy online resources can help motorists check fuel prices in their area.
6) Pay Less For Parking
Several apps can guide drivers to free or cheap parking wherever they need it. AppyParking is a good tool for seeking out the nearest free parking; Parkopedia is a good app for comparing parking prices and finding the cheapest lots.
Another option commuters should consider is renting a private driveway. Here again, there are apps to help, like Just Park. Renting a residential parking spot is often much cheaper than parking in a multi-story garage.
7) Use A Cost-Effective Breakdown Service
For commuters that rely on their own vehicles, breakdowns are inevitable. Signing up for a good breakdown service can significantly reduce the costs of these unpleasant incidents. One add-on worth considering is “home start,” or whatever a given service’s equivalent is. Statistically, most breakdowns happen at home, so coverage tailored to this situation gives good value.