Finding inexpensive and convenient ways to get from location to location can be a struggle, but in today’s modern society there are many options for any setting.
The City Life
- In the city, taking the bus can be the simplest and cheapest way to get around, as you refill your card each time and can go far in one ride. Despite these assets, buses are also at the mercy of traffic, roadwork, and other barriers. Always check the traffic maps beforehand and give yourself ample time in case they’re running behind.
- For people with disabilities, schedule transportation with a bus that accommodates your special needs. Many times the service is free.
- Another simple and convenient form of transportation is the light rail or subway. In some of the major cities, the subway has stops along major routes and many have shuttles to and from parking lots.
- Many cities also have bikes you can rent around town — and return, with ample space to park them. Research the most reliable companies for bike rentals in your city, such as Capital Bikeshare or Citi Bike. Rental scooters fall under this category as well if you can’t or don’t want to ride a bike. Scooters also are easier to steer and don’t go as fast as bikes for those crowded streets.
Navigating the Suburbs
- Just as in the city, if you use the bus or subway system, a great pairing to reduce costs is to walk as much as possible. If you need to transport items, you can use a type of cart with wheels for shopping, school, work papers, lunch, beverages, etc.
- If you need a car, you have the option of using a ride-hailing app, such as Uber and Lyft, for longer trips, or if you have too much to carry.
- Another option is to rent a car, whether it be by yourself or splitting the cost of the car and gas with a friend or neighbor. A tip for this is to group all of the tasks near each other. Bring freezer bags in a cooler to keep frozen and refrigerated items at the desired temperature.
- Carpool to work, your place of worship, school, and shopping centers.
- Use mass transit, bike rentals, and scooters where available.
- And remember, if you have a disability, you may likely qualify for special access buses for doctor appointments and more.
Rolling Along in the Countryside
- With longer travel times in between necessary places, finding a group to exchange tasks and shopping might be beneficial to families. You can split babysitting, gas costs, and transportation.
- To save trips to the grocery store, you can always buy in bulk, which is both cheaper and allows you to split the groceries with neighbors and friends.
- In the farm areas and small towns, besides a car or truck, options include walking with a cart, biking with baskets, and using animal-based transportation, such as horses and buggies, to help get around or pull a large cart for groceries.
Deliver to Anytown USA
- Although maybe not a long-term solution, you can also get groceries and other products online through large companies, such as big-box stores, your local grocery store, Amazon, or Instacart. When doing this, it may be beneficial to buy in bulk, as it is often cheaper. Compare prices as well as fees.
- With the ever-changing work landscape, see if you can start or continue telecommuting for part or all of the week. You can also ask your employer if they give monthly passes or even a subsidy to cover part of your transportation.
- Streamline/group tasks by location and traffic flow when out; that way you can save time and money.
Although it may seem stressful at times, in the long run, saving money on your transportation is a great way to help keep that budget balanced — and many give the additional benefit of getting in some exercise!
By Katharine Burgess