Back in my “Simple Life Changes…” post, the researchers cited bringing one’s lunch, taking the bus and buying in bulk as three small habits that can have appreciable long-term saving benefits. While I analyzed BYO lunching last week, I thought I would take a closer look at public transit.
I have to discolse that in and of itself, I don’t enjoy the act of driving. Earlier in my career I commuted across the city, and after four years and one serious, if not inevitable accident, I knew I had enough. Coupled with the fact I live and work near an urban area, I’ve been taking public transit for the better part of the last 3 years.
I actually have two public transit options available to me - a bus route and a train route. The train offers a level of comfort over the bus and is about a half-hour shorter each way. At the beginning of the year I wanted to understand what the impact of taking the train full-time would be, so I worked on a little budget forecasting – the chart below summarizes costs and savings associated with each option:
A couple notes:
- These models are based around 20 working days per month.
- The car model assumes my current automobile insurance would go up about $20/month if I was driving to work, as I currently receive a 'barely on the road' discount.
- Relative savings compares the transit option with most expensive option (car).
Based on my current situation I'll be sticking it out on the bus, as low-glam as it is, for at least the near future.
A couple other transiting fringe benefits:
- I can sleep (in fact, lately I have been factoring this in)
- I can read (enjoying The Investment Zoo at present)
- It’s more environmentally friendly
- As suggested, I'm using the prescribed $0.42/km to estimate maintenance costs, based on the Canada Revenue Agency guidlines for reimburseable mileage.
- I'm using a rate of $28/hour to measure my 'time costs', based roughly on my after-tax hourly wage. (I know, this model is getting somewhat stretched)
Even if only hypothetical, this shows very different results, and highlights for me the willingness I have at my current life stage to sacrifice time (for better or worse) in order to save money. Once you factor time in, its a whole different story. I don't need to ask myself which option my young family would prefer.
Thanks for the feedback - I learned more in this exercise than I planned!