Hidden Commute Costs: How to Save Money

While commuting to work may be a necessary downside for many people today, it’s not often they consider the true cost of a daily commute. Between the psychological effects of a long commute and the loss of valuable time, many would be better off finding other alternatives. Let’s look at some of the hidden costs of your commute.

Traffic Takes a Toll

There are many costs associated with commuting to work, and not all of them are financial. A difficult or time-consuming commute can lead to higher stress levels and open the door for a lot of negative emotions. Experiencing a lengthy period of boredom or frustration before work every morning can hinder your productivity at the workplace. Lengthy commutes can also lead to feelings of social isolation – ironic when you consider that you are literally surrounded by other people doing the exact same thing.

Spending too much time in the car can have negative physical effects as well. Back problems and obesity-related issues are the most common. It’s hard to be your best when you show up frustrated and nursing an aching back!

The Financial Costs Can Be Steep

When you think about your daily drive to work and the dollar cost average you spend going back and forth, some of these costs are very apparent. Gas, insurance, and maintenance of the vehicle are all figures that are easy to calculate, and over the course of a year can total upwards of $1,000.

But what about the costs that are less apparent?

Opportunity cost is how much something costs you in missed opportunities. For instance, if you do lawn care for a living, the time you spend driving between lawns could be spent working on more lawns, if it were possible to have them all lined up. If you are washing cars but have to keep running to the store every hour to buy more supplies, that is time wasted that you could have been washing more cars.

Opportunity cost is a crucial factor when working with a budget because every dollar earned is already accounted for. And the longer your commute, the larger the barrier to making more money.

Simplify Your Commute

While commuting has many negative and unexpected consequences, it is often unavoidable. If you don’t work from home, you have to go to work somewhere. If you are struggling with debt-related issues, it is important to cut your expenses down as much as possible. Avoiding extra stress is also recommended wherever possible.

Take steps to shorten your commute in whatever ways you can. If you can transfer to a location closer to home or perhaps take your skill set to a different job, you should calculate the benefits of doing so. For some, it may be easier to make other housing choices, such as looking for places to rent that are closer to your place of employment.

If you are unable to adjust your living arrangements or employment location, look into carpooling or ridesharing. The costs of commuting can be split among several people, and when you aren’t driving you can spend time answering emails or looking through classifieds for new opportunities.

If you are dealing with credit card debt and looking to develop a budget and get your finances back on track, give CreditGUARD a call today. Our certified credit counselors are ready to speak with you!


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