Saving Money on My Commute

Photo by drouu / www.sxc.hu

Every day, I drive an extra 10 miles out of my way to and from work. Yet, I save money and time. How is that possible?

First off, the highways in North Jersey are highly congested messes during “rush hour,” which really lasts from 6:30 am to 10 am, especially when you’re going toward New York City like I am (I work right across the Hudson River in NJ). I get off the last exit before one of the NYC crossings.

So I save time by choosing which of the 3-4 highways I can take. Through trial and error, I figured out the route that would take the shortest amount of time. That means I drive 5 miles out of my way in each direction, but I’m saving 10-15 minutes on my commute.

The other reason I take the route that’s 10 miles longer, round-trip? TO AVOID TOLLS. I hate paying tolls, and two of the highways I can choose to use for my commute cost $1.00 in tolls in each direction, for $2.00 total round-trip.

Gas prices in my area are creeping upward again, but it still costs less to drive a bit out of my way and use the extra gasoline rather than pay the tolls.

Example

Currently, gas is in my area costs about $2.75 per gallon. My car gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway (not great, but not terrible for an older vehicle with a V6 engine). My commute is 95% highway, so I’m going to use that as my benchmark.

$2.75 divided by 25 = 11 cents

So it costs me 11 cents per mile to drive to work. That means the extra 10 miles round-trip cost $1.10 in gas, while the tolls would cost $2.00. This equals a savings of 90 cents per day, or approximately $215 a year.

I’m saving both TIME and MONEY — it’s a win-win situation.

It’s the little things that help you save money in the long run! If you keep finding ways to watch your spending, you’ll find that the savings really add up.

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