Monday, October 18, 2010

The Precious Cost of Commuting

From the Dollar Stretcher. I recommend ignoring the part where the writer complains about gas prices--this was obviously written back when prices were higher than they are now.

"Can you imagine having 20 hours more time per month if you could cut your commute in half? Wow! What would you do with that time and the savings in money? Spend more time with your family? Take a class? Make time to exercise? Just think of the possibilities!

Consider how you might be able to cut your commute time and costs:

* Can you work from home some of the time?

* Can you find a job closer to your home?

* Can you move closer to your job?

Depending on your circumstances, you may find that getting a job closer to home may be worth taking a slightly lower salary if you're saving the money and time. Only you know what is best for your unique situation. Take all of these different ideas into consideration.

It was painful to calculate the cost of not being paid 40 hours per month for a commute to and from work. I would try to read books, listen to books on tape, read the newspaper, and try to convince myself that the time on the train could be productive if I wanted it to be. I rationalized that it was quiet time just for me. Where I lived was of no consequence to my employer; I was just expected to show up on time and do my job. I had to decide if I wanted to continue this lifestyle or not. I have had to make some tough lifestyle decisions but decided I would never have a commute in excess of 15 minutes each way to the office again.

If you decide to take steps to reduce commute costs, you may find that you not only saved money, but also you have more of your day to do what you want. You might even discover you do have the time to focus on accomplishing that goal you've been putting off because you just couldn't find the time."

In the past, I have recommended moving closer to work--since you travel to and from work 5 days/week (or more), and this is the bulk of your traveling, it makes sense to get closer to the source. Shopping can be done on days off, and curtailing the distance for this can help too--change stores, change bank branches, do whatever it takes to make your traveling field smaller. Even with today's lower gas prices (slated to get even LOWER), it will only add money in your pocket to shrink your travel footprint.

The author suggests taking a lower-paying job if it's closer to home--here's how to make lower pay work for you.


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