Would You Carpool to Save Money?

by TTMK on April 8, 2013 · 12 comments

Most of us enjoy saving money, right?  Who wouldn’t like to have extra money at the end of each month, based on some smart choices in terms of our expenses.  It’s even better when those choices don’t involve much sacrifice on our part.  The classic win-win is a great thing!

Along those lines, some people try to save money by carpooling.  If there is a long commute to work, trading off driving responsibilities can be a nice way to save some money.  For many people, there is very little sacrifice in doing so.  It’s a bit of a twist on the topic of money and relationships, but one could save a few dollars by simply sharing a ride with people and taking turns using one’s vehicle.

Here is a look at the pros and cons of carpooling:

Reasons to Carpool

  • Save money on gas.  With the cost of gas at a point where it can really add up and eat into one’s budget, it would be nice to save a good chunk of change each month.  The longer your commute, the more you can save.
  • Avoid wear and tear on your car.  The more you drive each week, the quicker the mileage on your car will add up.  This means you’re accelerating your car’s useful life.  Maybe a better way to put it is that the car will die out quicker.
  • Delay recurring expenses.  The more you drive, the quicker you’ll have to get an oil change. Or replace tires. You get the idea: maintenance and regular repairs will be done less frequently if you drive your car less often.
  • Good conversation.  If you have a long commute, it might be nice to have someone there to talk to.  Plus, you just might be able to make a friend or do some  networking.

Reasons NOT to Carpool

  • Not having the same schedule as fellow carpoolers.   If you and your carpool buddies can’t keep your schedules aligned, it could be a pain.  What if you want to get home by 6:00pm, but your carpool mate says he (or she) needs an extra 20 minutes in the office?  Wouldn’t be fun to be delayed getting home by 20 minutes due to someone else’s schedule.
  • Having a relatively short commute.  The benefits of carpooling, in terms of gas, wear and tear, and repair savings, aren’t quite the same if the commute is short.
  • You enjoy your drive alone.  For some people, a commute is a way to decompress from a day at work.  That buffer between work and home when you’re driving can be a good way to slowly shift gears into family time.
  • Bad conversation.  If your carpool mates can be annoying, it means you’re essentially getting paid to put up with them.  Some people, sad to say, can be so irritating that saving a few dollars isn’t worth being around them more than you have to 🙂

What would I do?  Well, I did look into carpooling back when I had a super long commute with no public transportation options for that route.  There were a few possible carpoolers that I could work with, but in the end I chose not to do it.  I want flexibility in my schedule in terms of when I come and go.  Plus, with responsibility for dropping a child off at daycare a few days a week, it didn’t make sense for me to carpool.  So, I just kept on driving on my own.

Listening to audio books on topics I liked seemed like a good alternative to forced conversation or awkward silence, anyway:)

What About You?

Have you ever carpooled to work?

If so, what was your experience like? Would you do it again?

If you’ve never carpooled, would you give it a try?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole April 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

I tried carpooling a few times with a coworker who lived very close to me. He’s a nice guy, and the 25 minute trip to work didn’t seem to take as long. Only problem was that he smoked and didn’t want to give up the cigarette on the car ride. I have asthma, and the cigarette smoke was a trigger for me. We only rode together a few times because of that.

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TTMK April 10, 2013 at 12:16 am

Nicole – yeah, that would be a deal breaker. Totally understandable!

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Emily @ evolvingPF April 8, 2013 at 7:30 am

I carpool with my husband. 🙂 So it is very easy. But I think I would take public transport/walk over carpooling with other people unless I had very inflexible working hours.

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TTMK April 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

Emily – one’s spouse is of course a great carpool partner!

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Michelle April 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

Carpooling would be nice but everyone I work with lives on the opposite side of town so that wouldn’t work at all (they would have to pass our office to get me).

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TTMK April 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

Michelle – well, it’s not always in the cards for us to take advantage of carpooling. It’s okay.

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Christian L. April 8, 2013 at 9:43 am

I’m fortunate enough to work with a good friend (I helped him find this job). As of late, we’ve actually been biking to work together. But there have been a few times we’ve carpooled and it’s been just fine. Our commute is short and we’re both pretty quiet in the mornings.

Biking is a lot more fun and wakes up quicker than our morning coffee.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

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TTMK April 10, 2013 at 12:14 am

Christian – great that you’ve found someone to carpool with, and can enjoy the friend’s company in the process. Win-win!

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AverageJoe April 9, 2013 at 9:10 am

I found that carpooling is great even if my neighbor doesn’t have the exact same schedule. It was nice to vary my routine from time to time. Now? No need to carpool all the way from my bed to my home office. Sweet commute!

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TTMK April 10, 2013 at 12:13 am

AverageJoe – the ultimate commute!

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KC @ genxfinance April 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

That would be really nice. You save moeny on gas. Yeah, the only thing is, co-workers seem to have this agreement that their apartment should be at the other side of the town.

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TTMK April 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Always a tradeoff, saving on gas but may spend more time, deal with folks you may not want to spend more time with, etc.

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