As more offices open up and return to in-person work, you need to think about how your commuting costs will fit back into your budget. After a year (or more) working from home, don’t worry if you need a refresher to make sure your budget’s up to the challenge. These five tips will help you prepare for your commute.
Bring Your Car into the Shop
If it’s been a while since your vehicle had a tune-up, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your mechanic. This is especially important if your car sat in your driveway for most of the past year.
Maintaining your car comes with a few benefits. You’ll improve your mileage, reduce your chances of facing a costly repair, and you’ll extend the lifespan of your car.
Have an Emergency Fund
A well-maintained car can handle a long commute with fewer complaints, but there may come a time when it breaks down despite your best efforts.
Things happen — a tire might blow, you might be involved in a fender bender, or your transmission fails out of the blue. Having a well-stocked emergency fund can help you handle these repairs without delay and get you back on the road faster.
According to the AAA, you should set aside at least $50 each month for these unexpected problems. Over a year, that’s $600 on top of your usual routine car maintenance costs to help offset surprise repairs.
Know Your Alternatives in an Emergency
Sometimes, your plans to be prepared hit a speedbump. Your unexpected auto repair won’t always wait until you’ve saved up what you need.
So, what happens if you fall short of this goal before you’re on the side of the road calling for a tow truck? If payday is several days away, you can use your phone to research and apply for a cash loan.
Whether by calling a lender or visiting their mobile site, loans over the phone have convenient, fast applications that cut down how long you have to wait until you get the cash you need. If approved, you can use your cash loan to get your car roadworthy again so that you can get back to work.
Sit Down with Your Budget
Now that you can expect to add a tune-up and regular monthly savings to your budget, it’s time to figure out what you actually need to motor through your commute. Sit down and tally up your expected costs, remembering to figure out these monthly expenses:
- Routine Maintenance
Can you fit all these expenses comfortably into your budget? Don’t panic if your budget is struggling to change gears to include commuting. Look to your discretionary expenses to see if you can cut any unnecessary spending and free up cash for your commute.
Update Your Insurance Policy
During the pandemic, many insurance companies offered people reduced rates because they said they would not be driving as many miles each month. With your commute starting up again, make sure to check your auto insurance policy and update your monthly miles. If you don't, your insurance company could reject a claim should you get injured while commuting to work.
Get to Work Another Way
Driving solo to and from work isn’t the only way you can get to the office. You may find some savings by carpooling, taking public transit, or, if you live close enough, biking and walking to work. These alternatives give your car a break from bumper-to-bumper traffic and may save you a lot of money.
A return to the office means a return to your daily commute. You did it before the lockdown, and you can do it again. Just remember these tips for guidance.