The Money Shop guide to cutting the cost of your commute
Commuting is rarely fun – especially when you're having to pay a significant percentage of your wage just to get you to work on time.
Over the past few years, transport companies have hiked up their prices considerably, leaving those stood on the station platform feeling the pinch. And in our book, that doesn't seem right.
Can we do anything to stop transport companies increasing their prices? Probably not. However, if you have your wits about you and take your time when planning your commute, there are plenty of ways in which you can get to work without spending a small fortune.
With Network Rail contractually obliged to release timetables 12 weeks in advance, companies like The Trainline and Red Spotted Hanky have seized the opportunity to sell cheap rail tickets via their respective websites and apps. Because of this, those willing to book in advance could save up to 40% in just a matter of clicks!
Want to be the first to find out about cheap tickets? Sign up for The Trainline's Ticket Alert and stay one step ahead of the game.
Think there's an even cheaper way? You're absolutely right! It may sound daft, but by splitting your ticket across several stops throughout your journey, you could end up saving a bundle – so it's always worth checking out Rail Easy's Train Split tool before buying your next fare.
If you're looking to save on your annual commuting costs, it might be worth investing in a railcard - you could end up saving as much as 33%.
One of the most common railcards used today is a Young Person's Railcard. Available to passengers aged 16 to 25, it entitles a user to a third off adult fares – meaning the £30 cost of rail card can be paid card back in just a few trips, so it's a great railcard for commuters. If you’re feeling cheeky, you could purchase a Young Person’s Railcard a few months before you turn 26 - just so you can get an extra year of discounted fares!
As well as the Young Person's Railcard, there are plenty of options available for other commuters. Senior Railcards for the over-60s, and Disabled Railcards for those with certain disabilities, can save up to a third off too.
If, like many people in the UK, you commute with your friend, partner or colleague on a regular basis, a Two Together Railcard could save you a third off adult fares – providing you're entitled, that is!
As far as railcards are concerned, restrictions do apply – so be sure to check all the terms and conditions of each pass before diving in!
Pick up a pass
Up and down the country, as the wheels on the bus go round and round, it's easy to feel like you're spending pound after pound. If this is the case, and buses play an integral part of your daily commute, nine times out of ten you'll be better off buying a bus pass as opposed to a single or return fare.
In cities throughout the UK, commuter routes are travelled by buses everyday – and it isn't always the case where one bus company dominates over the next. For example, in Manchester, students commuting from the suburbs to the city have a range of bus companies to choose from – and with each company competing for maximum footfall, it doesn't take long before there are plenty of offers for the students to take advantage of!
Think you've landed a great deal? Why not have a look online and see if any other providers can offer the same service at a discounted rate?
Before committing to a brand new railcard or bus pass, it's worth considering the money you could save if, rather than relying on public transport, you used good old fashioned pedal power to get you to work on time.
Sure, bikes aren't the cheapest things to buy outright – but they're certainly cheaper than the cost of a bus pass or railcard every month!
If you'd prefer to spread the cost of a bike rather than shell out hundreds in one go, then Cyclescheme is something you should definitely look into. Online, there's a really useful calculator that helps you to get to grips with the scheme, while also showing you how much a certain bike will cost you each month. Savings range from 25% all the way up to 42% - which, even if you don't use your bicycle all year round, could add up to a healthy sum!
Commuting is just one aspect of employment that costs money. If you think you're spending a lot of money on employment, then find out how to cut these costs here. Alternatively, for more money saving tips, check out our blog.
Remember, do not buy what you can’t afford, and think carefully before taking out a loan for any non-essential purchases.