A few years back I found this awesome infographic that summarized why it literally pays to live closer to work. Using the assumption that it costs about 51 cents per mile to drive your car (including insurance, gas, wear and tear, etc.) and a 40 minute commute, you spend, wait for it:
$125,000 over 10 years
1.6 working years sitting in your car
So what can you do to stop this waste of time and money? Plenty.
Move Closer to Work
The most obvious solution is to move closer to work. You’d save both money and time. Live half the distance to work (the above example used 19 miles) and you can save more money over ten years than most people make in a year. You can also get 20 more minutes of sleep in the morning.
Multitask While Driving
No! I’m not encouraging texting while driving. I mean use these 80 minutes a day to get some work done that doesn’t require being distracted from driving. Been meaning to make a few client calls or reschedule that appointment? Make a few hands-free phone calls to get some tasks checked off on your to-do list. Learn a new language or listen to some audiobooks you can borrow from the library. There are a lot of things you can accomplish on your daily commute that will free up your time later.
Take Alternative Transportation
What’s the best way to save money on your commute? Don’t take a car. Many options exist:
Take a Bike
If you live close enough to work to bike, simply hop on your two-wheeler and get a great workout in the process. Over that same ten-year time horizon you maybe spent $500 on a decent commuter bike and maybe $200-$300 on accessories, repairs, and tune-ups. A far cry from $125k.
Again, if you live within walking distance to work, just walk. It’s absolutely free and a great workout.
Take Public Transportation
A 30-day unlimited subway pass in NYC costs $112. UNLIMITED! You can go to work, run errands, and go out all for $112 a month. When you calculate that for the 10-year period, it comes out to $13,440, still over $100k of savings when compared to a car used just for commuting.
Don’t Avoid Tolls
I wrote an article before about why trying to dodge toll roads can actually be very costly. Stick to the cheapest route when going to work.