Transport can be a big expense, especially if you commute to work over anything but the smallest of distances. Public transport prices seem to go up again and again, and running a car can barely seem cheaper a lot of the time. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce costs and make it more affordable to get from A to B.
They are not much good for most peoples daily commute since they can only be used at off-peak times, but railcards can be a great money-saver for occasional travel, leisure, and those whose work requires them to catch the train during the day or at weekends. For a relatively small fee, they cut a third off the cost of rail travel and owning one can also open up a range of other discounts and special offers too. They are only available to certain groups, but the options are fairly diverse. They include the 16-25 card, senior card and the “Two Together” Railcard (for two people, but only valid when they are travelling together). Those in the South East are lucky enough to have access to the virtually universal Network Railcard for travel within this region, which also gives the same discount to up to three adults travelling with you.
Buying tickets in advance can also get great discounts. They are often best bought from third-party providers rather than direct from National Rail, and there can sometimes be a benefit to shopping around different sellers. If you also have a railcard, you will find it varies as to whether you save any extra money by booking in advance or whether the price “bottoms out” at around the same you would have paid with the railcard anyway, but it is still definitely worth checking up on.
Buses can be the most effective way for those without their own transport to travel within a small distance, or between areas that simply do not have train stations. However, they can also be unpleasantly expensive. If travelling for more than ten or fifteen minutes each way, it is worth finding out if the bus company offers a ticket that provides unlimited travel within a certain area for a day. These often go by names like “explorer” or “discovery,” and can often work out cheaper than all but the shortest return journeys and cover a fairly wide area.
Travelling in your own car may not carry any actual ticket costs, but the price of fuel and insurance can still seem hefty. There are a few things you can do to help keep costs down. Always shop around for insurance and learn the little tricks that can bring down your insurance costs, especially if you are a new driver. Learn about how to drive in a more fuel-efficient way and, if you drive daily to work, consider sharing lifts with a coworker. A variant of car-sharing, where you simply offer a petrol money to a coworker who lives near you instead of doing some of the driving yourself, can also be an affordable replacement for a commute on public transport.