Burn calories, not pounds, and save thousands

save thousands in your piggy bank

Savings

Julie Hutchison

7th March 2014 at 5:05pm

If you have a look at your monthly outgoings, I bet on top of the essentials such as food, housing and heating, a big outlay will be on travel. It doesn’t matter whether it’s planes, trains or automobiles, they all come at a price.

So, how do you fancy making some serious savings, when it comes to your commute – and in Climate Week, could a greener option be worth trying? Is it possible to make a small change and save thousands?

A few years ago, I stopped using the bus and got on my bike.  The difference it’s made to my wallet, waist and well being have been considerable, not to mention treading more lightly on the planet.

Greener commuting – could you save thousands?

I really enjoy my commute by bike – it’s much faster than walking, and compared to a busy bus, I much prefer the feeling of being outside.  My journey isn’t long, but if I’ve not been on my bike for a while, I do notice the difference when I’m on the hills – so the exercise obviously has some effect!

But I’ve never really thought about the financial side A few years ago, I stopped using the bus and got on my bike.  The difference it’s made to my wallet, waist and well being have been considerable of the change I’ve made – until now.  Climate Week got me thinking about the impact my greener commuting was having on my pocket as well as the planet.  And I was really shocked by the numbers.

I added-up the money I’ve spent on my bike, waterproofs, maintenance etc and then compared it to using a car or bus for my commute.

I don’t cycle every day, depending on what’s on : so I’ve assumed here that I cycle about 150 days a year, which is about two thirds of the working days in a year.

Here’s the breakdown for commuting costs, based on today’s costs :

Commuting costs table

In reality the annual savings I’ve made in changing from bus to bike comes to £318. So, I didn’t quite save thousands but every little helps!

Am I making real savings?

But they’re not real savings because – unlike my cost-cutting over the Christmas holidays which I wrote about in this blog, I’ve failed to increase my monthly standing order for savings.  I’ve done that classic thing of reducing my costs without actually making the most of the savings.

£2.12 a day, or £318 a year, might not sound like much.  In reality, the annual savings I’ve made in changing from bus to bike come to £318. But I know over 25 years this could amount to around £13,773, with certain assumptions about growth, if I invested it in a tax efficient way.*3

So, if you’re thinking of changing your commute to work, it’s nice to know you can have a win-win-win : it can be better for the environment, your waistline and your pocket.

*1 this assumes that bus fares remain unchanged

*2  www.theaa.com/resources/Documents/pdf/motoring-advice/running-costs/diesel2013.pdf 

*3 This assumes 5% annual growth, 2.1% inflation and an AMC of 1%.

Original blog of 7th March 2014, updated as of 24th March 2014

Join the conversation

Join the conversation and follow us on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook.  You can also let us know your thoughts in the comments section below – have you got any examples of changes you’ve made to your daily commute that has helped you to save thousands over the calendar year?