How I Saved $8,000 in 10 Months

by April Borbon

Related Articles

Save on Auto Insurance By Driving Less

How to Be a One Car Family

About ten months ago, I had an epiphany. I was driving down the street in my expensive, leased car and I noticed the city bus go by. Funny, I hadn't thought about the bus since the last time I took it (I think I was about twelve years old at the time and it was my main form of transportation back then). The thought suddenly occurred to me that if I could take public transportation in the countries we travel to for vacation, why couldn't I take it here in my own hometown?

As an experiment, I took the bus to the mall the following Saturday. Besides being totally embarrassed that someone would see me, it was actually a nice ride. There were no traffic worries, no parking worries, and no need to stop by the gas station for a fill up. I just relaxed and read a book until the bus dropped me at the front door of the mall.

I was sold on the bus that first time. By the next month, I had purchased a bus pass (a bargain at $35 a month) and was regularly commuting to work on the bus. Since that time, I have returned my leased car, and for the first time since I was 16 years old, I don't own a car. I do borrow my husband's car on the rare occasion I have to work at night or do a major grocery shopping. Even my husband who at first thought the idea was ludicrous has now done a 180-degree turn. When he saw how much money I was saving, he became a bus convert too. Now his car sits in the garage most of the time unless we absolutely need to use it.

Overall, I figure that switching to the bus has saved me at least $800 per month. I have no expensive lease payments, don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for gas each month, no insurance costs, no parking fees, and no parking tickets. Also, I don't have to pay to have the thing washed. It took about two or three weeks to get over being embarrassed if someone I knew saw me. Let them bleed cash to support their driving habit. I have three vacations scheduled this year, which I would much rather spend my money on.

Here's some tips for doing your own bus experiment:

  • Wear good shoes. The spike heels stay in my bag until I get to my location since bus travel usually involves walking to the nearest bus stop, which can sometimes be a ways away. The upside is that you can work in a bit of exercise this way.
  • Experiment using the bus on a weekend or other day that you aren't pressed for time. I've missed the bus once and got confused on the times occasionally; you don't want to have a meltdown at the bus stop because you are missing an important meeting.
  • Think safety. "Professional" bus riders have things worked out to keep safe. They carry a flashlight or reflective band to be seen on the road if they are out after dark. An umbrella is necessary where I live due to sudden downpours. Depending on where you live, some bus routes/bus stops may be less safe than others; know which these are and take appropriate care. Always have a cell phone with you in case of emergency and ensure that it has the number for a taxi and for the bus company on it in case of a crisis.

Riding the bus is such a wonderful way to save money and aggravation. I often wonder why I didn't think of it before. Once you get over the stigma of "riding the bus," you may find this easy method of transportation the answer to your financial prayers.

Take the Next Step:

  • Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt