Reduce Transportation Costs

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Reduce Transportation Costs

reduce transportation costs
Reduce transportation costs? As moms, one of the many hats that we wear is that of the personal driver.

When we are not riding around running errands (i.e. grocery shopping, going to the bank, paying bills, etc.) we are shuttling our family around all over the place.

School, after-school activities, parks, the library, friend's houses, the doctor's office.

When it gets right down to it, transportation costs are going to be one of the major expenses that most families worry about. High gas prices certainly don't help matters. But, worry not money saving fledglings - I am here to help!

*Does very embarrassing imitation of superhero theme music*

Ok, so first I want to talk to those of you who came here for advice that will affect your decision to BUY a car. You lucky ladies have the chance to reduce transportation costs that others who already have cars may not.

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Reduce Transportation Costs: Take Public Transportation

Ok, I'm so not trying to be facetious here. If you live in an area with an excellent transportation system, you may want to rethink your decision to purchase a car.

In some areas (such as New York City) having a car is just not a necessity because you can get just about anywhere via public transportation. And public transportation is usually cheap transportation (unless you insist on riding in cabs everywhere).

A monthly bus or subway pass will probably run you less than a full tank of gas these days. And it will also probably allow you to travel more miles for that cost than you would be able to in a car. Besides, there's no better tip for saving money on gas than not having to buy gas at all. This is a great tip to utilize even if you do own a car.

I spent two years in Portland, OR, without a car, utilizing public transportation exclusively. It can be done.


Reduce Transportation Costs: Get a Low Maintenance, Fuel Economical Car

If going carless is not an option, then when shopping for a car, avoid the fancy ones and the gas guzzlers. Sure they look nice, but they will only cost you more to use. So, instead of springing for the SUV that will hit your wallet hard gas-wise, opt for a reliable car that is also fuel efficient. Not only will you be saving money on gas, but you will likely be saving money on maintenance and repairs.

Reduce Transportation Costs: Get an Insurance Quote First

Car insurance is a requirement in most states and is just plain smart to have (you never know what will happen) so it's definitely something that should be taken into consideration when buying a car. Insurance companies take a car's make and model into consideration when determining the insurance rate. Also, expensive cars typically cost more to repair so insurance companies usually attach a higher insurance premium on these. Shop around a bit and take that into consideration before you make your purchase.

Reduce Transportation Costs: Buy Used

You knew it was coming, right? You guys know me so well. Buying a used car is definitely a way to obtain cheap transportation and buying used, in general, is one of the cornerstones of the many frugal living ideas out there. However, you have to be smart when buying a used car. Here are some tips on things that you should keep in mind:
  1. If you are going to get financing, do that first. There's no point in wasting time looking at cars you won't be able to afford. And that way you won't be tempted to even try.
  2. Do your research. Find out how much a car is worth and how much it typically sells for before making a decision.
  3. Shop around and have variety in the types of places you go to. In addition to used car dealerships, you can also find used cars at new car dealerships (they have trade-ins), private sales, and car auctions.
  4. Keep in mind that the best buys will be cars that are less than three years old and which have been driven less than 15,000 miles each year. So look for cars that are less than 3 years old and that have less than 45,000 miles on them.
  5. Most importantly, make sure you know the car's history: what is its service history, does it have anything wrong with it, has it ever been in an accident or withstood any damage. Ask to take the car for a test drive. Look it over. Bring a friend who knows about cars to look it over. If you get a great deal on a bad car, it's pretty much wasted money.
Ok, so now let’s talk about how to save money once you have a car.

Reduce Transportation Costs: Cut Down to One Car

Many families with two adults have multiple cars. Especially if both of the parents work outside the home. What this means is that you are paying twice as much each year on fuel and maintenance. If it is possible, you may want to consider cutting down to one car.

Both work outside the home? Do you work the same schedule? Work it out so that you can ride to work at the same time. If this means getting up a little earlier than usual to make sure you are both at work on time, you will find that it will be worth your while, savings-wise.

If you work different schedules, it may be a bit more difficult but many people find a way. Besides, if you sell one of your cars, that will add more money to your budget for other things.

Reduce Transportation Costs: Carpool

Another way to save on transportation costs (particularly if you are interested in saving money on gas) would be to join a carpool for work. If you can work out a carpool schedule with a coworker (or a couple of them) you can reduce your weekly fuel consumption. Look at it this way - even if you only carpool once a week, you are still going to reduce your fuel consumption by 20%. Every little bit counts.

Reduce Transportation Costs: Combine Trips

Another simple method for saving money on gas is to consolidate your errands into one trip whenever possible. How many times have you gotten into your car to drive somewhere several times in the same day. Sometimes revisiting the same areas (e.g. going to the doctor's office in the morning, going home, running back out to go to the bank and pay a bill, going home, only to come back out later that day to grab some last-minute groceries that you need for dinner).

All of that driving around is a waste of time and gas. Instead of running around town sporadically -plan ahead. Make a list of all the errands you need to run (really sit down and think about it). Doctor's appointments, grocery shopping, paying the bills, etc. Then you can set up a day where you do all of that.

Consider your route. Which places are close together? Which ones are further apart? Where should I go first? Second? Third? If you need some help doing this, most GPS systems have trip planners that will map out the most time-efficient route possible.

If you don't have a GPS, Driving Route Planner is a website that will help you out. You can enter in up to 25 stops and it will tell you the best route for you to take. At the end of the day, you will have accomplished the same errands without using up as much fuel.

Reduce Transportation Costs: More Ways to Increase Fuel Efficiency

If you are looking for even more tips on saving money on gas, keep these tips in mind when driving:
  1. Only drive when you need to. If you can walk somewhere, do it.
  2. When driving on the freeway or on roads with very few cars, use cruise control. When you reduce fluctuations in speed, you can save gas.
  3. Go the limit. Not only is it responsible driving, but driving fast uses up your fuel faster.
  4. Steady is best when it comes to speeding up and slowing down as well. So no more 0 to 30 in 5 seconds or hard braking at traffic signals.
  5. If your job can be done from home, ask your boss if you could work from your home office a few days a week.
  6. Avoid the drive thru option (especially during times when the line is long). You waste gas when you are idly running your car. Instead, go inside.
  7. If you have removable roof racks on your car, consider removing them when they are not being used. Also avoid carrying heavy loads often. Both of these will reduce the aerodynamic drag and thus, your fuel costs.
  8. Another way to reduce aerodynamic drag is to keep your windows closed, especially when you are driving on the highway. Doing so can reduce your fuel usage by 10%.
  9. Finally, use your air conditioner only when necessary. Doing so puts less work on the engine and, thus, causes less fuel to be used
Do you have any more tips on how to reduce transportation costs or saving money on gas? Please share in the comments section here:

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Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on how to reduce transportation costs? Next week we'll be talking about how to save money on insurance.

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