Working Mom's Guide to Balancing Family, Career and Life

Saving Money ~ Commute via Carpool

I was responding to Gen X Mom’s post on bullying and it reminded me of this pretty obvious tip for saving money. 

Carpool   

Two women I work with, and I, have been carpooling for about a month now.  It is fantastic!  I have been averaging about 2 days a week that they drive.  The other days, either it’s my turn or I have to go straight to soccer practice from work. 

Why Carpooling Saves Money

What surprised me, and may you too, is that there are multiple ways this saves money:

1.  The obvious – you save money on gas.  I drive a Chevy Tahoe that gets crappy 14 mpg.  My office is about 14 miles each direction – so 28 miles roundtrip.  That is 2 gallons of gas.  Gas at Costco this week was $2.62 per gallon.  $2.62/gal x 2 gal x 2 days/wk x 52 wks/yr = $545 per year.

2.  Not as obvious - you make time because you are able to use the HOV lane.  Everyone in my office is paid hourly, therefore, if we get to work more quickly, then we are paid for more time.  Assume you make $20/hr and get to work 30 minutes earlier than normal.  This is 4 days per week, so $10 per extra time x 4 days/wk x 52 wks/yr = $2,080 per  year.  You can do the math for your situation. 

3.  Really a surprise - accountability.  I am horrible about dragging around in the morning, taking a “mental health” day if I just don’t want to go that day, or leaving early because I’m annoyed or frustrated with something.  But, on the days I am carpooling, I have other people holding me accountable.  Therefore, I can’t waste time in the morning, am less likely to take a mental health day, and am pretty much stuck there until the end of the work day.  This works in reverse though too.  Therefore, I didn’t put a $ amount to it.  There are days I would have stayed later if I weren’t carpooling.  However, the benefit here is that it keeps me accountable to going home for dinner – which is more precious to me than the $.

What about you?  Do you carpool?  If not, why not?

Chili's Free Chips and Queso

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