Car and Commuting Costs
Krystal got me thinking about cars and commuting. The decision on whether we should have a car is not up for debate, so it is something I simply don’t think much about. I was curious to see the numbers of how much it was costing us to get where we need to go.
I have a few options when it comes to commuting.
- 1a) Park at public transit ($2), ride public transit there and back ($7.50 round trip).
- 1b) Take the bus instead of parking for $4 round trip (usually don’t)
- 1c) Walk 20-25 minutes to transit. Sometimes I do this one way, but rarely.
- 2) T drops me off, or I park in a lot 2 blocks from public transit. The round trip price is $8 from that stop, and parking is free.
I generally can work from home on Fridays, but office face time is important too. Let’s estimate I go into work at least 2 Friday’s a month, and that each month is exactly 4 weeks. That is 18 days of commuting and $144 dollars. Not too bad, actually! I have commuter benefits, and once I figure out how to access them, this money will be tax free. That would probably drop me to $100 or so, since my tax rate is pretty high if you include state & federal.
T’s commute is has no non-car costs. He usually bikes, but car usage for commuting is small enough that we can just lump it in with general car use.
We also share a car. Including rough assumptions for initial cost, 10 year ownership, selling price, insurance, fuel, and parking, I estimate the costs at $460 a month. Excluding initial cost and looking just at cash flow, it is just under $300 a month. If we owned a home or lived somewhere with parking included, it drops nearly $100/month. Then again, we might buy this pass anyway, since it is useful for T’s job.
This is a good reminder that we should stay a one car family for as long as possible or forever! It is pretty common here, but in the Midwest where I grew up, nearly everyone has 1/car per an adult, sometimes more!
Adding It Up
All in all, T and I cash flow $400 a month on transit expenses, and $560 a month actual cost. Per a person, this is $200/mo and $280/mo.
I don’t see any easy ways to reduce this. Our jobs are far enough apart that one of us will have to pay for transit (or drive), and life without a car is not an option. Moving closer to transit would save us limited money, but about 20 minutes a day of my time. If we keep the car longer, the actual cost goes down.
How does that compare to you?