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Your job is the engine that drives your earnings, your financial plan, and your personal growth. The process of simply getting there, however, can be a bit of a balancing act: how far away is your workplace from where you live? How much time do you need to allot to get there? What mobility options are available to you? And, in an age of rising gas prices and insurance premiums, what will it cost? Today’s blog looks at ways to make your commuting plan more efficient both for your schedule and your wallet.

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Bike To Work

As an ardent fan of all things two-wheeled (just take a look at the inaugural Progressa blog post,) I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the benefits of biking to work. According to a recent article in AAA Traveler Midwest magazine, the annual cost of driving an average car a total of 15,000 miles in 2011 was $8,776. For the budget-conscious, this means a huge bundle of expenses, including fuel, insurance, maintenance and financing charges! Not to mention parking!

Not everyone can justify replacing their car with a bike outright – travel distance, cargo capacity, weather conditions and other concerns make it a big adjustment. However, even an occasional choice of bike over car will have an impact on your ability to save on commuting costs. Riding to work also confers a huge boost to quality of life and fitness over time. It’s energizing and occasionally challenging: getting your morning ride to work may give you the spark you need to stay productive during the day. And you can take off for a cruise after work to unwind!

Share Rides, Save Money

Carpooling – which has effectively been re-christened “ridesharing” in the post-Uber world – is another time-tested way to keep your commuting costs down. It allows for savings on gas as well as limiting vehicle wear-and-tear. Organizing a carpooling group also allows you to become more socially connected with your co-workers! As with biking to work, a full-out conversion to carpooling may not be ideal right off the bat: commit to one or two days a week, however, and the savings will aggregate over time. The social networking age has made finding a group to ride with even easier: numerous websites exist to help prospective ‘poolers connect to one another.

Rewire Your Week

Some of the world’s most prominent and wealthy business leaders, including Richard Branson and Carlos Slim Helu, have advocated the adoption of a shortened work-week – three or four days instead of five – with longer daily hours. Their justification hinges on the fact that a restructured week creates greater employee contentment and productivity – however, it also makes commuting more cost-efficient. This change is facilitated by technology: companies and their employees have increasing access to new and efficient tools with which to manage their time, as well as to distribute large quantities of information via data-enabled mobile devices. Talk to your HR department about the possibility of arranging alternative scheduling that will allow you to limit the time (and money!) you spend on the road.

No matter how you go about it – cycling, telecommuting, transit, savvy scheduling, or rolling in the HOV lane with your colleagues – there are ways to optimize and lower the costs of getting around and getting to work. You work hard to earn and save your way to a better financial future: why should getting there feel like a step backward?

Tags : alternativebike to workcarpoolcommutecommutingsave moneyschedule