How to make your work commute cheaper and save a little money

woman taking public transport to save money

Well it's finally happened! The international borders are open, masks and working from home mandates have lifted, sports and outdoor activities are back on–but what does that mean for your finances?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve saved up heaps of money due to the lack of commuting to work…or anywhere, but as restrictions lift and employers ask people to return to the office that extra saving will soon be no more.

Returning to the office has its pros and cons, and we’ve weighed up costs and benefits before. But I want to focus on the costs that come with commuting. 

Everyone’s commuting journey is different - I personally catch a train and in 20 minutes I arrive at work. This commute costs me about $7 roundtrip, mostly because of the peak hour surcharge. Some quick maths shows that a 5 day per-week train commute (for roughly 230 working days in a year, considering public holidays and annual leave) costs around $1,610 annually. That’s a massive chunk I used to be saving!

If you’re like me and were saving close to $2,000 from lack of a work commute, do not freak out like I did. Below are some tips on how to keep some of that money in our pockets.

Ideas to cut the cost of commuting to work

Bike to work

Riding your bike to work can save you a lot of money and you also get the benefit of a good workout (goodbye expensive gym membership). While this is a good option for your health, wallet and the environment, hot weather and rain could ruin your commute, so always be sure to check the weather before you head off.

Use public transport

If you live in a city or town with a decent public transportation system, this alternative is a great option to cut down on commuting costs. Not only can you save on petrol costs, but you’ll be sure to maximise your commute time while someone else drives you to work (e.g. enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book or newspaper, catch up on your Netflix shows). However, keep in mind that sometimes transit emergencies could cause a major disruption in your commute time, but thankfully those don’t happen too often. Also some public transport systems have a weekly travel cap, meaning that after hitting a certain amount of money your commute is free.

Avoid peak time

This might be a capital city problem, but places like NSW make travelling during a certain time more expensive (by 30%!). If your employer allows, try to accommodate your work schedule to fit the off peak times and save yourself a couple of dollars. Every little bit helps in the long-term saving game.


If you’re not interested in public transport or biking don't worry! Coordinate with some colleagues at work (or friends that work in the same general area) and carpool. By doing this you can save on petrol costs and put that extra money in a savings account instead.

What to do with that extra money

Now that you have some ideas on how to save money from your daily commute, it’s time to figure out what to do with it.

Some ideas to consider are:

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