How to Commute For Less in the UK

Unless you're lucky enough to be able to walk to work, spending money on your commute is unavoidable. But you can keep the costs down if you consider the cheapest ways to commute and are willing to change your routine. Here's how to save money commuting whether you travel to work by car, rail or bus.

Get on Your Bike

If your commute is fairly short and the route has cycle paths, consider ditching your car or public transport and traveling to work on two wheels. If you already have a bike and all necessary safety gear, you don't need to spend anything. If you don't have a bike, check whether your employer is a member of the government's cycle to work scheme. This lets you buy a bike and safety equipment tax-free. You might even be able to cancel your gym membership if your daily cycling keeps you fit enough.

Car Share

Share your commute with a colleague (or a friend who works in the same area) to half your traveling costs. Take turns if you both drive, or work out a suitable weekly petrol contribution if only one of you does. Check out sites like Liftshare to be matched with others in your area if you don’t know anyone to car share with. Some people also post on Gumtree or their community's social media pages to find car share opportunities.

Buy Travel Cards

On most forms of public transport, it works out cheaper to buy travel cards rather than individual fares. If the upfront cost of this is over your budget, check if your employer offers an interest-free season ticket loan scheme. Most regions offer a rail commuter club, which allows you to enjoy the benefits of an annual travel card but pay in monthly instalments.

Alternatively, consider buying your travel card on a zero-percent purchases credit card and pay it off in monthly instalments before the zero percent deal comes to an end.

Reduce Fuel Consumption

If your only option is to drive to work, you can take steps to bring your costs down. First, bring your overall speed down. Drive at a steady speed of 50 mph instead of 70 mph to improve fuel economy by 25 percent. Other ways to drive more efficiently include changing gears earlier and avoiding sharp braking and accelerating. Switch off your air con unless it's absolutely necessary, check your tyre pressure regularly and leave earlier for work to skip rush hour and avoid wasting time in traffic.

Work From Home

If you work at a desk, ask your employer if you can work from home for part of the week. Working from home just one day a week saves 20 percent on your fuel consumption, not to mention commute time.

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About the Author

Claire Gillespie, who has been writing and editing for 18 years, has written about personal finance for private clients and various websites, including SheKnows and Reader's Digest.

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