I consider myself very lucky to be able to stay home with my children. I am given the opportunity to schedule out our days, our ins and outs of the house, field trips to the zoo or museums, or play dates with other stay-at-home families. There are a lot of us who are fortunate enough to not have to get out of the house unless we have to or choose to. But if you’re part of the population who has to work outside the home, you may find a lot of your time in your car. And if you live in a major city, you already know that if you don’t leave your home by a certain time in the morning, you end up jam-packed with other drivers getting to work, taking their kids to school, driving to an appointment, or running errands.
Prior to becoming a SAHM, I was fortunate to be able to ride with a co-worker for many months. It made what would have been an hour in the car take less than 30 minutes since we were able to take the carpool lane. Plus, it was much more fun having someone to talk to and laugh with. At my husband’s last job, he was also lucky enough to carpool with a colleague for almost 2 years. It saved us all a lot of money on gas, time away from our families, and wear and tear on our cars. It has almost been a year at his current job, but my husband has finally found someone else he can carpool with again, even if it’s only for a day or two out of the week. Something is always better than nothing. If there is a carpool program at your place of employment or in your community, see if you can ride with someone for a while and vice versa. Perhaps you’ll end up enjoying the company while saving time and money.
In the North Texas area, we have mass transit systems that people can ride on that costs mere dollars in comparison to the money you’ll spend filling your vehicle up with gas and possibly for the repairs it may need from the daily use and abuse. Depending on where you work, a lot of companies will pay for your fare. The same goes with riding on the bus. Another great advantage of taking public transportation is that you never having to worry about parking. You can save some dough if you are headed to the downtown, zoos or museums, stadiums or arenas, fairgrounds or amusement parks. Parking can be atrocious at some of these places, and the money saved can be better used to have a good time with your family or friends.
But if you absolutely cannot find a carpool partner, or your city or town doesn’t have a public transportation system, try giving your car a break in the evenings, on the weekends, or during your days off. Run your errands on the way home from work, ride your bike to the store, or walk to the park or church. If you’re going out with family or friends, see if you can ride with someone. You can return the favor later and give their vehicle a chance to cool off, too, especially during the summer season when cars can overheat and use up more gas having the air condition set on high, or during the winter months when the heat is always turned on. Not all of us are lucky to live in a place where the temperature is a steady 80 degrees year round.
When deciding to make a change that will help the environment and save you some major cash in the long run, choosing to ride-share or take advantage of public transportation is smart thinking for your finances and for the planet. Any small effort you make to help lessen the number of vehicles on the road is one huge step towards a cleaner and greener tomorrow. If you have little ones in your life, they will definitely thank you for it later.