How to Lower Day-to-Day Transportation Costs
As the cost of gasoline rises more and more people are beginning to think about alternative forms of transportation. However, the convenience of a car is hard to resist. So what are some ways to at least lower your day-to-day transportation costs?
Often many of the places we visit frequently are near home. For example most people have a grocery store and a park near by. I even have a post office and library near my home. So my first suggestion is invest in a bicycle. You save gas costs, as well as wear and tear on the car for all those short trips. Plus you get some exercise.
If bicycling to the grocery store isn't an option for you then consider having your milk delivered. Milk is usually bought more frequently than other items. If you can have it delivered you avoid extra trips to the store. (You'll also save a little money on your grocery bill because extra snack food is often bought during these trips.) Check with your local farms to see if they deliver. If it costs a little more than the grocery store milk just remember you are saving yourself a trip. Plus farm fresh milk tastes better.
Another major use of our transportation expenses is the daily commute. However, with today's technology there are a number of telecommuting options. And this doesn't necessarily mean that you would have to look for a new position. Often there is some part of your work that can be done from home. Discuss the possibility of telecommuting with your employer.
If telecommuting isn't an option, or if your only telecommuting one or two days, then consider carpooling. Do you have a co-worker who lives nearby? Post a notice on your company bulletin board or in the company newsletter. Also, don't overlook the possibility of carpooling with a family member or friend who works near your place of employ. Then you'd get the added benefit of more time with someone you already enjoy spending time with.
Another option for the commute, if those above don't work out, is to take a bus or train. Could you take a bus to work? If there is an express available, it takes the same amount of time as driving there yourself would. If, however, your commute would require a couple of bus changes, or there is no bus stop near where you live, consider driving to a park-and-ride and taking the bus from there. Then you still save a little gas but don't take the extra time a bus change would require.
Children can also eat up a lot of travel time and money. So, consider exploring bussing options. Moreover, choose an after school care facility that is near your child's school or home. Find out if their after school care provides bussing. If your children are old enough and the school is not too distant, consider allowing them to bike to and from school. If another family or two also allows their children to bike then there would be safety in numbers.
School and child care aren't the only travel expenses that children create. There are also after school activities. If possible find activities that occur right after school at the child's school or after school care facility. In addition, get to know the parents of the other children in your child's after school activity. Then you can arrange to take turns transporting the children with those parents who live nearby. If you have a vehicle large enough you could even carpool to games or competitions.
Doctor's visits may only come once a year but if you have a family of four that's four separate trips to the doctor's office. So, if possible, schedule your family's check-ups for the same day. However, if your children are young, you may want to take them into the room one at a time so as not to scare them. My mother scheduled our check-ups for the same day and, after watching big sister and brother cry when getting their shots, he refused to come out from under the examination table.
Errands are another travel expense. Moreover, they often get put aside until the weekend and then the weekend is spent running around in the car. Save your weekend and a little money on gas by trying to work your errands into other trips. If the video store is on the way to and from work, don't make a special trip to the store. Plan ahead so that you can stop on your way home from work. Or as you approach the store give your spouse a call and find out if a movie would be welcome.
It's often hard to stop on your way home from work. You're tired and you just want a chance to relax at home. Just remind yourself that you are saving money and it will be one less thing for you to do on your day off.
Finally, if you are in the market for a new car, choose diesel. This will allow you to use biodiesel without requiring any modification to your car. Biodiesel is not a petroleum-based fuel but a fuel made with vegetable oil. Or, if you wanted to save even more, you could convert your diesel vehicle to run on pure vegetable oil. Companies like VegPower Systems and Supply provide conversion kits.
So, biking, bussing or carpooling, I hope you are able to spend a little less time on the road and a little more time at home.
Charles Greenwood on alternative transportation
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