Since transportation can be a huge portion of your budget, it makes sense to try to save money on transportation costs whenever you can.
Would you like to find ways to save money on transportation costs – significant savings? This article includes simple ways to trim costs a little bit, or more radical ways if you are up for a challenge – especially if you’re aggressively paying down debt or saving for a specific goal.
When you hear the words “ways to save money on transportation”, what do you picture?
Awkward, s-l-o-w methods of getting from point A to point B?
Or carpooling with a character like John Candy?
6 Ways to Save Money on Transportation
The hefty price of transportation
Transportation is typically one of the most expensive line items on a budget. CAA helps you calculate the true cost of owning and operating a vehicle in Canada. On average, CAA estimates that it costs $9000 per year to own and operate a vehicle. This includes depreciation of the vehicle, which is often overlooked.
My friends, along with their four children, did an experiment for almost an entire year. They decided to take both of their vehicles off the road and just rent a vehicle instead – and only on weekends. Before selling the vehicles, they wanted to be sure they could sustain this lifestyle.
On Friday afternoons, a representative from Enterprise would drive to the house to pick them up. Monday morning they would drop off the car and be driven home by Enterprise again. Talk about great customer service!
- Rental = $10/day
- Car insurance = FREE (covered when renting vehicle with a credit card)
- Maintenance/Repairs = $0
- Gas = Pay only for what you use
- Note: Weekend special includes 100 free kilometers
Now, because they were regular customers, they were often given a minivan for the price of an economy car, too! Enterprise has locations in major cities throughout Canada. This family estimates they save over $800/month. Worth considering, right?
Become a one-vehicle family
For those who are not able to go without vehicles, would you be able to go down to one vehicle if you currently have two on the road? This is one of the easiest ways to save money on transportation.
I enjoyed the time that my husband and I shared a vehicle when we were first married. It was a bit of an adjustment, since I had owned my own vehicle for quite a few years, but I liked the time we spent commuting together.
When it was my turn to have the car, I would efficiently map out all errands – something I don’t always do now that I have my own minivan, four kids later, which was a huge time and money-saver.
Saving money on gasoline
There are many rewards programs for gas stations out there with savings of cents off each litre. My new favourite rewards redemption is with Air Miles. Every 95 Cash Rewards you collect, you can redeem at Shell for $10 in free gas. In 3 months, I have already received $130 in free gas.
Work from home options
Many companies offer telecommuting options. If an average Canadian could work from home 1 day/week (and save approximately 2 hours of commuting time), this would save 104 hours in a year. Would this be worth exploring with your employer?
If you live in the Vancouver area, there is an intriguing option becoming increasingly popular. It is called car-sharing. On average, drivers who participate in this program spend $117/month ($1400/year) to share a car with other people.
Find a trustworthy mechanic
This is essential to peace of mind and long-term savings for any vehicle owner. Ask around for a highly recommended mechanic. We are thrilled with Sil’s Auto in Mississauga, and will never go anywhere else. Find someone you trust and stick with them!
Assess the following criteria:
- How is their customer service and reputation?
- Do they explain findings in a patient, clear way?
- Will any work that needs to be done be assessed by its urgency? They should map out what needs to be done immediately and what can wait 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Will they keep track of what regular maintenance your vehicle needs?
- As a bonus, do they have a rewards program so you can accumulate money off future repairs?
There really are so many ways to save money on transportation costs, from minor adjustments to radical changes, and by trying out just a few of the suggestions here, I can guarantee you will be saving some serious cash!