As we all know, the cost of travelling to work in the UK can be very high, with the average British commuter spending between £2,440 and £4,800 on commuting to work each year by either train or car.
Unless you are fortunate enough to live within walking distance from your home to work, most people spend around 16% of their annual salary on daily travel costs.
With both fuel prices and train fares are on the rise, you can find yourself beginning to wonder whether it’s time to consider other options such as moving closer to work or working closer to home especially since train fares increased by 3.6% this year in the UK, the highest in five years.
Share Lifts With Colleagues
Sharing is caring when it comes to cutting down and saving on travel costs. Consider car sharing with a colleague you know from work or a friend who works very close by. This way, you can take it in turns to drive to work on a weekly basis. Overall, this reduces stress levels of commuting into a city, as well as reducing the costs of fuel for both parties.
There are actually a few social media websites and apps where you can contact others who work in your area and who are wanting and willing to take part in a car share scheme, these include Uber Pool, LiftShare and ShareTheRide.
It is especially useful to consider this if you work for a larger company, as there may be people who live in your area that work in a different department. Consider putting an ad on your company’s notice board, intranet or private Facebook group to reach out to people looking for similar options.
Book Train Tickets in Advance
You can get cheap train tickets through booking your tickets in advance using online booking services like The Train Line and My Train Ticket. Using these online platforms, you can choose a specific train with a specified time and even book a seat. This can be a much cheaper way of purchasing tickets because the closer your departure date/time is, the more you can be charged as there are less alternatives available.
So, by being organised and planning your journeys in advance, you can be a lot more frugal and cost effective.
However, if you are likely to miss your booked train, you may well lose your money as most discounted fares are for specific trains only.
Another great option is to purchase an annual season rail card as this provides a greater discount than other monthly, weekly or daily rail cards options and allow unlimited travel between your specified destinations.
Research into the statistics has shown that by purchasing an annual season rail card, you are effectively only paying for 40 weeks travel and not the average 52. This discount is clearly worth your money, time and effort to be organised in advance of all daily traveling. Some companies offer to lend money to employees who cannot afford the cost of an annual season rail card upfront, where the employee pays the company back what was lent to buy it in the form of a number of instalments over a longer period of time. It is best to inquire about this with your employer as this can save you money in the long and short term.
Other clever options include a companion pass whereby your partner or spouse travels for free or a discount rate if you travel together. Other discounts are available for those who are aged 16 – 25 and senior citizens, which relates to employees over 60 years of age.
Consider Cycling and Walking
If you are within walking distance of work, you should consider doing so, especially in the summer months as it is a free and a healthy alternative.
During the last decade, there has been a rise in the number of people cycling to work, as well as cycling in general for purposes of leisure. Famously, Boris Bikes were introduced into the city of London. Since their introduction, they have gained in popularity and other towns have also shown interest in following in London’s footsteps.
You pay to use a Boris Bike for periods as short as a day, a week or as long as a year and some short journeys have the first 30 minutes free. It costs only £3 to buy a key to unlock the bike and after the use of the bike the key is returned to the docking station.
Using a Boris Bike or buying your own bike is a great way to save money on travel, given that you live a reasonable distance from your place of work. A lot of companies have implemented a Cycle To Work scheme for their employees. The individual receives a tax break to encourage them to cycle to work and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Also consider motorbikes and mopeds as other methods of transport to cut down on costs, since they are less costly than a car.
Saving Money On Parking
Commuters will accumulate costs by paying for parking every day, whether this is paying to park at the train station or in car park near the workplace. However, there is a skill to finding a cheaper parking alternative, even if it means an extra 5-minute walk. The average cost for parking around the Northern Line is £4 per day (equal to around £1,000 per year) and for the Jubilee Line it is around £5 per day (equal to around £1,200 per year).
Parkopedia shows where you can park for free in the UK based on residential streets that do not have any parking restrictions. If you find that there is one near your office, you could be in luck and save hundreds of pounds a year.
In addition, you can look at websites like Just Park or approach local residents that have a lot of parking in their front drive and arrange a deal that is a fraction of what the local train station or commercial car park can charge.
In the age of technology and more flexible working, there has never been a better time to consider ‘teleworking,’ also known as working from home. All you need is a laptop, Skype and a telephone to complete a successful day of working, along with your employer’s permission of course!
There are several companies like Tesco’s Head Office who have agreed to let their staff work from home on Fridays. After all, if they can reduce the number of people and desks that they need in the office, it means that they have lower office costs. There are some companies that are willing to offer more days from home during busy work periods, so it is worth speaking to your employer and finding a way to accommodate both.
With the average person spending £10 to £12 on commuting per day, just working from home for one day a week can save the employee around £40 to £50 per month, equal to £480 to £600 per year.
At Uncle Buck, we are passionate about helping people find the right solutions for them. Offering short term and payday loans with flexible repayment options, we offer useful guides and money saving tips to help Britons spend their finances wisely and save money.