How to save money on your commute

Commuting is rough at the best of times. But it’s been even more chaotic for many this year after a timetabling revamp left many passengers stranded at stations . To add insult to injury, rail fares are expected to go up by as much as 3.2% in 2019 . So, whether you take the train or drive, here’s how to reduce the pain of commuting by cutting its financial cost.

Season ticket loans

Many businesses offer season ticket travel loans to their employees at low, or even 0%, interest rates. These usually cover the cost of travel for the year, which you will pay back in deductions from your monthly salary. Check with your employer to see if this is a perk available to you.

Paying for the year

If your employer doesn’t offer this benefit, it may still be worth paying for the year upfront, if you can. This tends to be cheaper than paying monthly or weekly. Of course this can be quite a big outlay, so you might want to consider what personal loans or 0% purchase credit cards are available to you, and whether this would save you money in the long run.

Rail cards

There are plenty of options for railcards that could help you reduce the cost of your commute. From the 16-25 railcard to the Two Together option, you should check to see if there is one that works for you. They can get you a third off your fares at a cost of £30 a year.

Smart snacking

Snacking can be one of the few small joys while commuting. But, to save paying over the odds for food at stations, think ahead. If you’re going to be tempted to eat in your seat (if you can get one), prepare food at home.

Carpooling

If you don’t get the bus or train, you can save money by organising a car pool with your colleagues. Not only will it split the cost, but you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment.

Cycle to work

Live not too far from the office? Consider cycling in. Although there will be an initial spend on your new set of wheels (some workplaces offer schemes to help cover the cost), you’ll save in the long run. Not to mention, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and getting some solid exercise every day.

Take advantage of refunds

If worst comes to worst and you face long delays or even cancellations, you may be entitled to a refund. Different networks will have different rules - you should make yourself aware of what these are.

1Inquiry into May 2018 network disruption

2Season tickets: 2019 annual rail fares could be more than £100 higher