Money Saving Tips
Getting Around For Less!
Here are ten ways to fatten your wallet, clear the air, and shrink your carbon footprint. You might even give a boost to your health, your social life and your community. We start off with easy steps, then bigger challenges. Try something new, and let us know how it goes!
10) Stop idling
Try turning off your engine every time you bring your car or truck to a stop, when not in traffic. It's not hard on your engine: restarting in two minutes is fine, and the gas you just saved could take you an extra mile. What's more, slow driving,--not idling--is the best way to warm up the engine on modern cars, which are ready to roll in 30 seconds or less, even in cold weather. See also information on asthma and idling, and idling myths and facts.
9) Mellow out--your driving
Hitting the gas and brakes can lower gas mileage by up to 33%. Fast driving also eats gas fast—every five miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying 24 cents more per gallon! Starting slower, avoiding sudden braking, and coasting to turns and stops could save you over $100 a year. It might even lower your blood pressure. See www.fuelconomy.gov for more details.
8) Skip a trip
Do you really have to run that errand? Try combining more of your trips or swapping grocery pick-ups or library book drop-offs with a neighbor. Instead of going out, enjoy homemade food or fun tonight. Skip just one trip out of ten and save up to $200 or more per year on gas, parking and vehicle wear and tear.
7) Share rides
Share a ride with just one person and instantly cut your travel costs in half. A FULL car means each person pays only a small fraction of the cost of driving alone. Ask co-workers, friends and neighbors to share rides to work, shopping, or events. Ridesharing is good for the community and dramatically cuts carbon emissions. See our pages on Ridesharing and Vanpooling.
6) Let someone else drive
Ride the bus, and you can rest, work, read the paper or knit a scarf while you ride! You’ll create even less CO2 than carpooling, and even with full-price fare (you may pay less), local bus trips over 7 miles cost less than driving alone in a SUV. Riding the bus is safer, on average, than driving, and some people choose the bus when roads are bad. All local buses are wheelchair accessible, and allow service animals for persons with physical impairments.
5) Get active
Walking and bicycling are the cheapest ways to get around at pennies per day. Active transportation can also help you feel and live better. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can have positive effects on your mood, weight, sleep, sex life, energy level and resistance to chronic disease. Many people walk or bike to enjoy the outdoors and/or the community more. Try adding walking or bicycling in small amounts: park further out and walk part way, or add one simple bicycle trip to your routines.
4) Take a staycation
More people are taking stay-at-home vacations, or "staycations", saving hundreds or thousands of dollars while still relaxing or enjoying new experiences. Less travel means more time vacationing, and can shrink your carbon footprint dramatically. The key to a great staycation is making it a real vacation: be sure to set your regular routines aside and take time to plan and do fun activities. Or enjoy relaxing by saying no to your phone, computer and regular chores. Here are some more staycation tips.
3) Cut your commute
If moving closer to your job is not possible, there are other ways to save the time and cost of a commute. Compress your work week: if you can work 4 longer days a week, or 9 longer days over two weeks, you’ll save money and enjoy more long weekends.
2) Consider carsharing
Carsharing can mean having a car or truck when you need one, while saving thousands of dollars a year over the cost of owning your own. Carsharing can also be cheaper and faster than taxis or the bus for running errands.
Members of Ithaca Carshare can use any car or truck in their fleet, while skipping the hassles of vehicle ownership. Carsharing also makes more efficient use of cars and parking, and has been shown to reduce driving and the number of cars on the road. Share a vehicle with a family member or neighbor, or consider joining Ithaca Carshare.
1) Drum roll please -- go car free!
If you can get to work without your own car, live downtown, and/or can walk or bicycle to a bus, you can probably go car free. Most car-free folks use a variety of ways of getting around, including walking, bicycling, bussing, taxis, sharing rides, joining a vanpool, joining Ithaca Carshare and/or renting a car when needed.
Giving up a car saves about $8,000 a year on average. Investing that money over the course of a career could make you a millionaire, but even going car-free for a few years—or a few months—can mean paying off debt, saving up for a house, or having more money for something else you’ve always wanted to do.
How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish is full of terrific tips, stunning statistics and fantastic “fuel” for considering a car-free lifestyle.