Big budget month day five: cut your transport costs

John Fitzsimons
by Lovemoney Staff John Fitzsimons on 05 March 2012  |  Comments 7 comments

Today's edition of our month-long series of articles on budgeting looks at how to cut the amount you spend on travelling around.

Big budget month day five: cut your transport costs

Getting from A to B is getting ever more expensive. When I look at the amount of money I spend on my commute on lovemoney.com’s free MoneyTrack tool it never ceases to amaze me.

But there are ways to cut the amount you hand over.

Cutting your motoring costs

It’s an expensive life being a motorist. Official figures show that motorists in the UK pay the highest percentage of fuel duty and tax in Europe, diesel has hit a new record high and petrol is set to follow suit.

There are some simple steps you can take to limit the damage though. You can find the cheapest places to fill up by checking PetrolPrices.com before you head out, which lists more than 11,000 stations up and down the country. And check out this article How to find the cheapest diesel and petrol prices.

It could also be worth signing up to one of the many loyalty cards for drivers, which we explore in this article.

Finally, adjusting the way you drive could see your fuel efficiency improve. According to the RAC, becoming a smoother driver – so ditching sharp braking and accelerating – could shave as much as 30% off your bill. Limiting your use of air conditioning and other features will also help, as will ditching unnecessary items from the boot and ensuring your tyres are correctly pumped up.

Cutting your train costs

If you need to travel by train, see if you can book in advance. Tickets are available to book 12 weeks in advance, and if you sign up to the Trainline and East Coast email alerts you’ll find out exactly when cheap fares for your desired journey are released.

Travelling in off-peak hours where possible will cut costs, as will signing up for a railcard if you’re eligible – there’s the Family & Friends Railcard, 16-25 Railcard, Senior Railcard or Disabled Persons Railcard.

There are numerous bargain sites which pick out cheap off-peak fares. Try using Megatrain, Chiltern's best fare finder and Virgin Train’s best fare finder for example. Be aware that some sites such as The Trainline charge a booking fee.

Bizarrely, splitting your ticket – so buying two or three train tickets covering your route rather than going for one fare - can often work out cheaper. Just make sure your train stops at the station(s) where you've split your tickets. Similarly, getting two singles can end up cheaper than a return ticket. Check out Splityourticket.co.uk.

Finally, you can use your Tesco Clubcard points to get money off your train travel on the website redspottedhanky.com. The site also offers loyalty points for every booking you make, although it's worth double checking it offers the cheapest fare for your journey.

Take up cycling

If your journey isn’t that long, why not cycle there? Not only will you get fit but it will save you cash. You can pick up a bike cheaply on sites like eBay or Gumtree, or even for free on Freecycle or Freegle!

More:
Big budget month day one: how to plan a budget
Big budget month day two: looking at your spending
Big budget month day three: setting your goals
Big budget month day four: make sure you’re not missing out on money
Six easy ways to pay less tax
The cheapest cars to run

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Comments (7)

  • LiamT
    Love rating 45
    LiamT said

    @electricblue - i was referring to the guy above me saying that moving house saved him money, im saying that moving house is very expensive so not a great way to save cash... actually i DID need to move house to help look after my father.

    im just annoyed at the amount of tax they get from me to GET TO WORK... i know there are ways for subbies or people who own companies to get plenty of cash back, im annoyed that us 'normal' workers cannot get the same benefit.

    "The government raises taxes because they need the money for everything the state provides" - erm no. why not stop giving money to countries like india and pakistan. if they can afford to spend billions on nuclear weapons tech then why should we be giving them millions to help them out?

    why arent we chasing tax avoiding companies?

    you really need to read my initial post properly as you dont seem to have grasped what i said. its ok for the gov to say public transport is ok in big cities and then penalise everyone who doesnt use it - for some of us its not a viable option. i actually work on a business park miles from the town centre and no public transport comes close to here

    Report on 06 March 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    Moving to look after your father is a choice in the same way as having more or less kids is. This wasn't a political debate about government spending and businesses don't have subsidies for people getting to work, quite the opposite these days as company cars are heavily taxed. What exactly is a 'normal' worker? It has always been a cost getting to work and it has never been tax deductible. There probably should be some rural fuel subsidies to balance out the travel costs, but that would be a different issue to campaign for. I read your post and you are whining about your costs getting to work and I state yet again that you have choices, not the least of which would be to get an LPG car and halve your fuel costs. Public transport sucks even when it is provided and it never runs at convenient times. Buses are totally impractical for families and business travel and only the fat lazy oaf Prescott would ever suggest that we should all (except him) get on a bus.

    Report on 06 March 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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