We work, in part, to make money, but all the dough we spend getting to and from our jobs can make the trip feel like we're being robbed. Commuting can be stressful enough – the traffic alone could make someone want to put the brakes on their daily travel. But there are ways to save money on your commute that will have you feeling as happy as a dog with his head out the window catching a breeze.

Your commute doesn't have to leave you broke. Use your hard-earned money for more exiting purchases and let your ride be smooth sailing!

1. Carpool

Carpooling isn't just for moms and dads taking their kids to soccer practice and Boy Scout meetings. Adults can carpool too, saving money and mileage in the process. Find some co-workers seeking to save just like you who live nearby. They don't even have to work in your office. As long as their workplace is near yours, you can commute together. Not only will this save gas money, but you'll deepen relationships along the journey.

Another plus, HOV lanes! As per The Simple Dollar, "On the days you do drive, you can use the HOV lane for more efficient driving. Even if you're just giving someone a lift each day, it's still worthwhile. If you have a HOV lane available to you, you can now access that lane and drive at a more reasonable pace with substantially less stop-and-go driving."

Not to mention, on those days you're not driving, you can sit back and relax as you're chauffeured to work. That's especially inviting on those mornings you're feeling like you didn't catch enough zzzzs or after a grueling day at the office.

If you can't seem to find anyone to carpool with, no worries. Consider ride sharing to set you up with others seeking a carpool. Via is great for flat rates rather than how long the ride is. Gett is another great option and you can even book up to two weeks in advance - so no excuses for not making use of the service. Duet is a cool one to try - it will set you up with commuters near you and you can even coordinate your rides together. Check out some more ride sharing options via Nerdwallet.

2. Use Public Transportation

If you reside in a community where public transportation is available to you, make use of the trains, busses, and subways regularly. This mode of transport is not only environmentally sound, but it's far cheaper than driving solo to and from work every day.

According to And Then We Saved, "There are costs associated with riding public transportation, but they can be offset by the money you save on gas." While your trip may not be any faster, you can get other things done on the way to and from your place of work. Catch up on reading, peruse the latest headlines, get prepped for a staff meeting, slug through emails, or listen to some tunes.

Using public transport for just a few days per week can add up to significant savings. Some places of business will even reimburse you fully or pay for a portion of your commute. Inquire with your HR department about the Transportation Reimbursement Plan. The Transportation Reimbursement Plan is an employer-sponsored plan which permits you to set money aside on a tax-free basis to reimburse yourself for qualified transportation expenses. Qualified transportation expenses are work-related parking and commuting expenses. As per the details of this plan, "In 2016, the maximum allowable parking benefit is $255 per month and the maximum allowable mass transit/commuter vehicle benefit is $255 per month. The two benefits can be used simultaneously for a total of $510 per month." That's a decent savings over a years' time!

3. Ride a Bike

Get in some heart-healthy exercise, breathe in the fresh air, and save money by biking to work if your job is located within a reasonable biking distance. U.S News & World Report notes, "A number of bikers say peddling past cars stuck in rush hour traffic makes their commute that much more pleasant." As those drivers are frustratingly sitting in all that congestion, you can zip by with a sense of freedom.

Many large cities have bike sharing programs, such as Citi Bike, the nation's largest bike share program. Rates are reasonable - the annual membership is just $14.95/mo with annual commitment (or $155/year if you pay in full). It includes unlimited 45-minute rides. Rides longer than 45 minutes incur extra fees: $2.50 for the first additional 30 minutes, $6.50 for the next additional 30 minutes, then $9 for each additional 30 minutes after that.

If you're located in a smaller town, you can purchase a reasonably priced bike at your local cycling or sports store that will last you for years of precious pedaling. Just be sure to be safe, follow the rules of the road, wear a helmet, and dress appropriately for bike riding.

4. Adjust Your Hours

If it's possible, talk to your boss or supervisor about adjusting your hours so you're not traveling at the height of rush hour. Even a couple of hours' difference (or less) can be a huge time- and money-saver. You will get to work much faster, saving gas in the process. U.S. News & World Report suggests that a different start time could potentially, "cut the time you spend commuting by half."

Another idea is to reduce the number of days per week you go into the office and add a few hours to those days you do work. Not only does this give you a 3-day weekend, but you'll save on travel expenses.

Your commute should be exciting, not expensive. Steer clear of extra costs you don't need to spend as you take the road less traveled!

Subscribe to PayPath Newsletter
PayPath
Follow Us on

It's easy to forget that the presidency of the United States is a government job just like any other–in that it comes with a stipulated salary and benefits.

But regardless of their bombastic rhetoric or self-serious public image, politicians are like all other government employees. The president, vice president, and legislators earn an annual income from the government in exchange for their duties, which include: executing/circumventing the law, upholding/withholding the civil liberties of American citizens, and legislating/sabotaging how societal institutions meet the needs of citizens, from healthcare to education.

If you've ever wondered what American politicians earn for all their hard work arguing across the aisle and starting Twitter feuds, look no further:

Keep reading Show less

Maybe you've had a high stress occupation before, like social work or stock trading, and fell victim to the high burnout rate of these kinds of jobs.

Or maybe you're just starting your career, and looking for something that won't take over your life but will still provide you with a good living. Whatever reason you have for looking for a high paying, low-stress job, you've come to the right place. We've compiled a list of the top 5 jobs that promise a solid paycheck without taking too much out of you.

Keep reading Show less

What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.