Did you know that the average daily commute for Americans is 26.9 minutes? In addition to spending your valuable time there are layered costs such as tolls, fuel, maintenance, insurance and parking fees. The good news is that there is another option that will save you some stress and definitely some money.
This alternative is known as “Carpooling”. Sharing the costs of commuting with others is a great way to shed costs and to maintain your sanity. In this article, we will explain the benefits of carpooling and ways to implement this strategy into your daily life.
It’s good for your wallet
One of the main benefits of sharing the drive to work with a colleague is most noticeably going to be in your wallet. Carpooling allows you to share the costs of gas and parking, cutting your expenses by nearly 50% (sharing with one person). Imagine how much you would save if you have three or four people carpooling together?
Commuting costs and time vary for everyone but for this example let’s assume a person spends $150 each month on gas for travel to and from work. From here, let’s add on the costs of owning a car which include maintenance, insurance and car payments. This can easily average an additional $400 a month. This adds up to a combined monthly total of $550 and a whopping $6,600 a year just to get to and from work. Excessive commuting costs can lead people to use credit cards or online loans unnecessarily.
By carpooling with just one person, those annual costs are cut almost to half. Not sure how much you are spending each month on commuting solo? A great way to track this would be to create a commuting expense budget and to track what driving to and from work really does costs you on a monthly basis. It is usually more than you might think.
It’s good for your health!
Saving money is definitely a major benefit of carpooling but there is another noticeable advantage to sharing the commute. Improving your health and wellbeing!
First of all, by decreasing the daily stress of commuting you are actually improving your health. Sitting behind the wheel day after day for hours, spending excessive amounts of money on gas, repairs and car payments often leads to chronic stress. This type of stress is more often than not a silent killer and may may lead to other diseases eventually. Taking control of your time and carpooling will not only save you stress today but can prevent the time and money that would be spent on future doctor’s visits and prescriptions related to any such illnesses.
Second, carpooling grants you time to make personal connections with the people you ride with. We are social beings and there are multiple studies that have shown that socialization can lead to a person living a happier and much longer life.
It lets you claim back your life!
On days that you’re a passenger and not the driver you have extra time in your day to be productive. For example, if the commute is 45 minutes each way that is an hour and a half that the passenger can spend getting work done, reading a book or having a conversation with a friend, family member or colleague.
There are many people that live in densely populated areas such as Los Angeles, where commuting can easily be 2 hours of someone’s day. Imagine having an extra two hours a day to get work done or to take care of personal interest such as reading, shopping online or socializing online. That is an extra 10 hours per workweek you can claim back!
It’s Better for the Environment
Carpooling is not only a way to improve your health and wallet size but it also is better for the environment. With less cars on the road means reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality.
Better air quality means less costs related to air pollution related illnesses. Less cars traveling around also means less trash and debris that piles up from old tires, plastic waste from cars and other debris.
And it extends vehicle longevity
By forming or joining a carpool group you are bound to be using your car much less than making the commute solo. Driving less is going to reduce the wear and tear that would have normally been brought on by daily commuting use. This means less fuel and maintenance related costs each month, which over a year can be huge savings in your pocket. Less use is going to prevent any future maintenance surprises that would require the use of financing or a quick loan.
On average, most Americans buy 10 cars during their lifetime for personal use. If you are driving less each week, this means that in the long run your car should last much longer due to the reduced use. If the lifespan of your vehicles are now double what they used to be as a result of commuting this means you will purchase less cars, thus leading to thousands of dollars of savings over your lifetime. Lowering your expenses means more cash in your pocket and less of a chance of you ever needing to use credit cards or quick loans
All in all, cutting unnecessary expenses, giving yourself more free time, making personal connections and improving your well being can lead to a longer and healthier life. Who would have guessed? Just remember that time is money and if you are spending less on vehicle costs and you have more personal time you are already ahead of the game. Small adjustments in your budget can snowball into a large amount of savings each year. The idea is to not have to use credit cards or quick loans unless there is an emergency, and decreasing your commuting costs is one way to avoid this.