Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Know Your Commute Cost

Taking control of your finances is all about knowledge of where you money goes.  One of the large expenses most of us have is commuting to and from work.  I now work from home, but still have the expense of taking my son to school and school related events.  How can I control my expenses if I don’t even know how much it costs? 

Fortunately, the Sacramento region has several associations and resources to help us calculate our commute cost, as well as options to reduce our auto expenses.  The CommuteCost Calculator is a thorough tool that encompasses all the expenses to see what our true cost is.   I found out it costs me $7.36 each round trip to my son’s school.    $37 a week – ouch!  That’s with a four year old paid for SUV and decent insurance rates.

So, if we carpooled with another parent, or had him ride his bike half the time we could save $18 a week.  That could amount to over $600 a year savings with a few changes.  That means I wouldn’t have to drive him to school every day, which frees me up.  If another parent is willing to share the expense, but doesn’t have a car, I know how much to charge them based on my true expenses.  Lots more parents are willing to pay for “gas” if you’ll ask them.  Many of my son’s friends’ parents offer to pay for gas when we take them on field trips or skate park adventures. 

See what knowledge can do for you?  It can give you more control over how you choose to spend your money.  You do have more choices than you think.  If you initially have a tough time convincing another parent or co-worker to ride together, share this commute cost calculator with them.  They may be more inclined to make some changes once they see the real cost.  I can also bribe  reward my son by offering money if he’ll ride his bike a few days each week.

Figure out how much your commute cost is.  How can you take control of one of your largest expenses? Share your ideas.