Ask the Readers: How Do You Save on Transportation?

By Ashley Jacobs on 2 April 2013 (Updated 9 April 2013) 80 comments
Photo: Ed Yourdon

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Rebecca, Karen, and Debra for winning this week's contest!

Everyday travel — to work, school, or just running errands around town — can cost a pretty penny in the form of gas, bus fare, or even bicycle maintenance costs. That's why many people research frugal ways to get from Point A to Point B.

How do you save on transportation? Have you made any big changes to the way you travel? How have your efforts to save on transportation affected other areas of your life?

Tell us about how you save on transportation and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For extra entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:
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    If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

    Giveaway Rules:

    • Contest ends Monday, April 8th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 8th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
    • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
    • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
    • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture

ride my bike or walk

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Mary Happymommy

I sold my minivan and bought a used smaller car that's more fuel efficient.

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Sarah

Our family of 6 has one car. My husband drives it to work most days. We drop him off on days we need the car. It's not ideal in the small-town midwest to live like this, but it's better than taking on a car payment.

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GP

A while back when I returned to school, I deliberately took an office job at Metro Transit in order to get an employee free bus pass and sell-off my car. That was nearly 20 years ago and today I'm still car-less and that's allowed me to effortlessly plow thousands of dollars every year into my retirement fund.

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Kristine E.

I live in Ohio so we don't have huge public transportation save for the bus, but we do have a Honda Insight that gets 60mpg so it helps save on costs!

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Giang Nguyen

Take advantage of wagework if your employer provides it.

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Christie

We have 2 cars and live a few miles outside our small town. I go to town as few days a week as possible (usually 2, sometimes 3) and stay home the rest! It saves on gas and repair work on the car, but not the insurance. My car was used when purchased and had 19K miles on it. I've had it 4 years and now it has 32K on it. Yep, we don't drive a lot here! (For the other car, my hubby works 3.5 miles from home and that's nice on the fuel consumption too!) We are both safe drivers with excellent credit and get great insurance rates. Works out pretty well!

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Bethany

I ease up a bit on the speed.

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Karl

We combine trips as much as possible. If I need something the person out stops and gets it. We also check our insurance rates every six months to make sure we are getting the best deal/rate.

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KF

I actually started traveling less. I have been working from home more and trying to use less gas. I also try to do all my errands in one day to cut down on driving time.

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Tiffany

I'm lucky enough to have just moved much closer to where I work. Since the weather is warming up, I've started walking to work a few times a week. It's about a 40 min. walk one way but it's a great way to get exercise first thing in the morning. I'm also planning on busting out my bike soon and biking to and from work as much as possible to save on gas money. Biking/walking = FREE TRANSPORTATION, FREE EXERCISE, and MORE ENERGY!

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Sweta

I combine errands/carpool as much as I can. Before I fill up the tank I check out gas prices on gasbuddy.com

Guest's picture

I don't have a car, which cuts out a lot of my transportation expenses. I do take the Metra to work and a monthly pass costs $135. When the weather warms up, I'm going to save that money by biking to work. I'll have some more money in my wallet but I'll also get the health benefits of biking 16 miles. It'll be great.

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Nancy

We could do more to save on transportation, but we are aware and have made some conscious choices for savings. Years ago, we got rid of our second car and the insurance, upkeep, and fuel costs that go with it. This was easy to do because my husband is retired and I work mostly from home. Then we moved to a new town and I began to be away from home more to help care for our grandchildren, so we felt that beloved husband needed to have access to car when he was home alone. So what do we do now to save:
(1) Bought a used car instead of a new one and considered high mpg, cost of insurance, and reliability in our choice
(2) Exercise fuel-saving driving habits (less than 60 mph on freeway, good braking and acceleration techniques, check tires regularly for proper inflation)
(3) Pay cash at lowest-price gas station in our area
(4) Always combine errands, plan the shortest route, and patronize businesses/services in our neighborhood (banking, barber, dentist and doctor, etc.)
(5) Dropped comprehensive and collision insurance on the older car with highest mileage and lowest value

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Pamela Oehrtman

I "hypermile" when I drive my car. Hypermiling is doing things like accelorating slowly and coasting to an upcoming anticpated stop. This allows me to get better mileage.

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Karen L.

I use grocery reward points to save on gas purchases.

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Sue

I ride the city bus or walk. My employer buys my monthly bus pass for me, so the money comes out of my check on a pre-tax basis. My typical monthly expense for the $62 pass is $43 on a pre-tax basis.

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Susan D.

I save by driving an old compact car that I keep well maintained, so I have no car payments, my insurance costs are low, and I get good milage. I live in an area where I'm in a five-mile radius of the places I go to most--work, church, shopping, library, and so forth--and I combine trips. It works out well for me.

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Elena

I save money on transportation by walking when it's possible

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Joe

Ride your bike! Improve health, save money, and protect the environment all at once.

Guest's picture

Well in my town, the city has secured discounts with local merchants for Monthly bus pass holders totalling $55+ when the pass only costs $30. On top of this, my employer pays me an extra $2 a day that I use mass transit to get to work. So if I ride the bus to work every day for a month, I make an extra $40. this is more than enough to pay for my pass adn gives me $10 extra dollars that I can then leverage at a participating businesses to get a $3 coffee for $2...

Guest's picture

I take public transportation or walk most of the time. The annual streetcar pass is $150 and it's well worth it for us. We fill up about once a month because we drive to the grocery once a week or so.

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Marsi

I plan out my errands so that I drive in pretty much a circle. No back tracking, the most effective gas saving route. I also try to remember to not let the gas tank go under a 1/2 tank.

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Ria R

I use public transportation, the Bus and train. I also walk depending on the distance and weather.

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Liz Lombard

Now that I am unemployed, I am very strategic in running errands so I can save on gas. I do a list on Sundays of things I need (groceries, etc.) and pick a day during the week when I am attending a meeting and coordinate my errands around the location of my meeting. Thus far, it's working. I have been unemployed one month as of yesterday.

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Chelsea

I moved 12 miles closer to work last year and it's saved me not only money but lots of time on public transit, traffic, tolls, and crossing a bridge. Now I can walk to work and I do so a few times a week but I mostly take the bus. My employer has a pre-tax commuter benefit program too, where I can get my commute cost taken directly out of my paycheck and deposited onto my transit pass to avoid tax. It's a few hundred bucks in commuting expenses annually, so it saves me quite a bit per year!

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Diane

I don't have the most fuel efficient vehicle~ a 7 year old Chrysler Town & Country, purchased when I was still hauling loads of boys to soccer games. But it's paid for & in good shape, so I make the best of it. Fortunately, I work from home, so I don't have to drive every day!

I do a lot of shopping online (Amazon!) and have things delivered whenever possible. Even if I'm purchasing something locally, I do research online, so I can avoid running around to comparison shop.

My best fuel savings comes from combining trips when I do go out. I make a list of errands & plan my route to cover as many things as possible in the same area. I also keep up with routine maintenance & keep the tires inflated to keep my vehicle running as efficiently as possible.

Guest's picture

It's ironic that you have a picture of a subway for this article! Unless you can give up your car or you are 1) riding alone and 2) expect to have to pay for parking at your destination, riding the subway is AS EXPENSIVE AS or MORE EXPENSIVE THAN driving!

Anyhow, our biggest savings come from three sources: I work from home, we plan our errands carefully, and we buy relatively inexpensive cars and keep them for a very long time. Also, our last car was a 4cyl automatic, so it gets 40 mpg and up without being a hybrid.

When we take the subway into D.C., we do it for convenience if we think we'll get trapped in rush hour traffic, but with three family members who have to pay plus parking expenses at the terminus, it's way cheaper, even on off peak tickets, to drive in and pay for parking there.

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Jerry

To save on gas money, I have altered my driving style to maximize fuel efficiency. It's already pretty good since getting a hybrid car, but doing things like cruising when going downhill, accelerating slowly and evenly, using the brakes sparingly, and drafting behind larger vehicles has really helped (boosted average mpg from 50 to 58).

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J. Murphy

We do our own vehicle maintenance and do it religiously, walk to do errands, and avoid the toll road.

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Natalie B.

I have my transit cards deducted pre-tax from paycheck. I also try to bike instead of taking the train during warmer months.

Guest's picture

We maintain our vehicles and do as much of our own work as possible. We buy higher octane gas. It'sore expensive but we get better gas mileage-we've found it to be worthwhile.

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Corinne

I take the bus. I don't have a car. My job gives us $100/mo for not parking in our building (it costs them $200/mo per person to pay for our parking). A monthly bus pass costs $84/mo.

I make $16/mo to not drive myself anywhere.

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Guest

I try not to drive the damn gas-guzzling truck so much! And carpooling! Carpooling is key! haha

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Catherine

I ride my bike to work and to run errands. This way I save tons on parking, gas costs, bus fare, and don't have to pay for a gym membership. When driving I combine trips, keep my tires properly inflated, and don't keep unneccessary weight in the car.

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Raina

I make sure to live close to my office, haha. I only have a 2-mile drive to work, which saves on gas.

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amberwitch

I bike to work

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Alex H

I always check out the bus services (Bolt But and Megabus have been my go-to sources) for low-cost transport. Busing has come a long way! It feels a bit like flying, but a bit more time-consuming, and a LOT less cost-consuming.

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Laura Jacobson

I try to plan trips so that I dont have to go out as much to save on gas! If I can get a few runs in at the same time...that helps!

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Dianne

I drive a hybrid car so I save money on gas.

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Guest

I take the bus (public transit) to where I want to go. Passes cost around $40 each month. ... vs at least $190 a month for car expenses.

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Carla

I bought a used Prius- it's saved me over $40 a month in the winter, and I'm hoping for more savings this summer.

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Kelli

My husband and I share one pretty fuel-efficient car. It can be mildly inconvenient at times, but it's really all we need. I gas it up on Tuesdays which is double coupon day at a chain of gas stations in our area. They accept competitor coupons, so I find the biggest ones I can, usually $0.10 off per gallon. I also save an extra $0.03 off per gallon by having this chain's loyalty card. Just keeping the car well-maintained (oil and filters changed, tires properly inflated) helps too.

Guest's picture

I don't wait till the gas tanks gets to E to fill up. Keeping my gas tank full maximizes my gas efficiency in my opinion.

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Monique

I take the bus to work and walk whenever possible. One upside is lots of exercise here and there, though it doesn't feel like exercise. When I do drive, I drive pretty slowly, which is better for fuel economy.

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Jennifer

I drive 104 miles each day round trip to work. Since I started putting the cruz on the speed limit I am getting 4 more miles per gallon! That really adds up over a year.

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Marcie Lynn Florance

My money saving ideas with gas are fairly common sense. We try to run all of our errands in one day, check the tire pressure in the tires, and we take our smaller car instead of the truck... It helps a little bit... but it is better than nothing!

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Guest

Two ways: drive a small, fuel efficient car (and buy gas at Costco) and live across the street from the light rail so we can take it easily without feeling put out. also, living in the neighborhood you work in helps, too.

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Kay

I stay home as often as possible. To run errands, I go to whichever shopping center has the most stores having good deals for items I need that week.

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MELISSA HANSSON

We only have one car in my family and we try to carpool for everything.

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Brenda Faulkner

Combine trips for essentials.

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Mike LTNE

I sold my car and ride my bike to work, run, or walk. Cheaper and I'm also getting a workout.

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Guest

We take the bus everywhere. Fortunately, in our community, bus service is free, subsidized by all taxpayers in the area. It's a terrific service.

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Therese

I can use the city buses for free with my work ID, or I walk to work. Saves me money and is good for my health.

Guest's picture

Right now, we're down to one car. It means that I do all the driving, which means that I've got to really be careful with the rest of my day if I want to get anything done (*cough*dishes*cough*).

It also is allowing us to spend more time together as a family -- more time talking, so we're growing closer.

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Lynda

i carpool with my husband to work.

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Ben

I live very close to work.

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Betty D.

On weekends, I try to combined my errands. My commute to work is only about 4 miles, so not too bad. My biggest expense is the car and insurance. I'm usually driving alone, so a safe car is worth the cost to me.

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rebecca shockley

I like to carpool and my family like's to walk to save on transportation!

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Olivia

We do what we can. We buy used, and have only one vehicle. We combine trips and seek the best prices on gas. We plan our schedules to work with each other's. Keep current with oil changes. We increased our insurance deductable.

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C Duong

Drive 55 mph saves money on gas. Anything over 60 mph and you are going to the pump often!

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meaghan

I ride my bike on the Curtis Trail to work 1 day every week or so. Also on Wednesdays I go to work early to avoid the extra metro fair for rush hour, and get lots of extra work done too.

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Andrea

We are a family of four. We own one car. My husband and I both found jobs that are, literally, a few blocks away from one another. (It took us a while, but we made it happen.) We carpool together. We attempt to bring our lunch to work and eat lunch together. We purchased a house that is less than 2 miles from our place of employment. (That was dumb luck.) We live 3 blocks from our daycare provider (my mother), so in good weather they can walk, in bad weather we can drop off. (That was planned.) In good weather, we are within walking distance of our grocery store, the library, the barbershop, and a park. We live less than two miles from "the city" (we live in the suburbs), so we can bike to entertainment.
Downside, our children are in private schools that are on the other side of our city. (2 miles in the opposite direction of our places of employment.) My son's swim team, also, practices on that side of the town. We try to plan accordingly, so we aren't making several trips to the same location.

Guest's picture

I just started using car sharing a month ago. I donated my Saturn to a charity, and now don't have the expense of insurance, repairs, and gas. I just reserve a car for the few hours a month I need one!

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Rebecca B. A. R.

We walk when we can, and we combine errands to save on gas in the car.

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DeeDee

Car pool when possible

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AW

Over the past few months I've had to REALLY watch ever single dollar, so I've tried to cut out using public transportation unless I really need it. I've started biking and walking everywhere. And if I can find someone headed in the same direction as me, I'll hitch a ride. As a result of biking and walking, I'm getting more fit which is an added bonus! and I've made new friends of my fellow cycling commuters to and from work. So I'm saving money, burning calories, and being more social. It's a win-win situation all around! Love it.

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Jeremy S.

Carpool to work. It cuts my gas bills almost in half. It's as simple as finding out where people you work with live, and coordinating a carpool. You get to make more friends at work as well.

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Leah

I take the bus to work. For extra savings, I buy my bus passes through my employer's Commuter Benefits program which is pre-tax! In addition to saving on gas and wear and tear on my car, this saves me over $100 in parking per month.

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kristina

I walk a on a lot of my errands.

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Tabathia B

Well we are a one vehicle family and try to combine errands and trips to when we have to go out and pick up the kids so that we can conserve gas

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Guest

I bought a double stroller so my kids and I can walk to preschool, the grocery store and church. We also try to do everything else we need to do (e.g., library, bank, dry cleaning) right in our own neighborhood so that we can either walk or do a very short drive. The stroller didn't cost us too much because we were able to cover the majority of the expense with gift cards our kids got for their birthdays. It is great because I can spend time with my kids while getting a workout. (All in all, I am pushing 90 pounds!) Plus the kids love exploring the neighborhood this way!

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Debra K

I combine trips to save on gas. We also are driving older cars that are totally paid off instead of making car payments. My husband carpools to work. And we walk sometimes when feasible.

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SerenityNow

I live in a very eco-minded college town where, luckily, it's fairly easy to get around without a car. I moved downtown this past year so that I'd be in walking distance to work, the bank, the post office, drugstores, and several grocery stores and co-ops. I run virtually all of my errands on foot and find that I rarely even need to use the bus!

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BRB

Just try to find the cheapest gas around and get it when we are nearby.

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Alissa A

I carpool when I can and also combine trips to drive less.

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NJ

I combine my trips as much as I can and walk to things that are close by when possible. To save on fuel I'll go to the grocery store and get gas gift cards so that I earn 2x the fuel points buying a gift card and then save more money by using the gift card instead of cash at the pump. Having a smaller vehicle--a subcompact that I keep maintained also has helped me too

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Carmen

I try and group errands so I don't make multiple trips.

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Kathy

I moved closer to work.

Guest's picture

I sold my car. I ride my bike all year around in upstate NY.