Your commute is bad for your wallet and health
The daily back and forth to work is costing you more than you realize.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
Commuting is a necessary evil for workers across the country. But it's a costly practice, both for your pocketbook and your health.
It's estimated that 10.8 million Americans commute more than an hour each way to work, according to Reuters. About 600,000 workers have 50-mile or more "megacommutes" that take a minimum of 90 minutes.
Kay Phillips of Elon, N.C., was one of those megacommuters, Reuters said. Phillips traveled 2.5 hours each way to her job, five days a week. Reuters wrote:
The total tab, she figures: $43,000. And that is just in gasoline -- not oil changes or repairs, not the value of her time.
"I always thought it would make me sick to find out," she says. "And it did."
The average worker commutes about 25.5 minutes each way, which hasn't changed since 2000. But, unfortunately, megacommutes are the harsh reality for many Americans.
Commuting takes its toll on more than your wallet. It has a significant impact on the stress level and well-being of the commuter. Reuters said:
In fact the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed Americans about daily commutes and their effects, discovered a virtual horror show. They found the longer the commute, the higher the levels of one's obesity, cholesterol, pain, fatigue and anxiety.
According to Time, a report from the U.K’s Office of National Statistics determined that commuters actually experience lower happiness and life satisfaction than non-commuters. Time said:
Riding a bus for 30 minutes or longer was associated with the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness, but even if you're lucky enough to bike to work and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, your satisfaction takes a nosedive commensurate to how long you spend doing it.
Click here to see the average commute times across the U.S.
In my small town, the average commute time is less than 14 minutes. When I worked outside the home, it would take me eight minutes to get to work. My husband works less than five minutes from our house. We're lucky. My brother lives just outside Seattle. He telecommutes now, but before he had that option, he was forced to drive 30 to 60 minutes one way, depending on traffic. Ugh.
Do you commute to work? What's your commute drive/ride time?
More from Money Talks News
I've got a commute that's a bit over 25 miles and ranges anywhere from 35-80 minutes depending on when I leave and what traffic looks like. There have been a few cases that have bumped that commute time to upwards of two hours, but those are rare enough that I don't really take them into consideration.
That much driving twice a day and 5 days a week is certainly irritating. It means a nice 40 hr work week is actually more like 47-53 hours of my time. Fortunately my car was cheap, has been reliable, and always gets 38-40 mpg so that's not too big of an expense.
We could move closer to my work but my wife's job has her working super long hours(some shifts well over 24 hours and without sleep) and often commuting at odd hours so I consider it important for her to have as short of a commute as possible. I could work closer to home as well, but it would mean changing professions and probably taking a paycut of 30-60%. Fortunately I only plan to continue this line of work another year before her work will have us moving anyway.
In the meantime, audiobooks make the commute much more enjoyable. I've found they don't distract me from driving anymore than music or my own thoughts do and I'm able to get through all these books that I otherwise wouldn't find time for.
i suck up a commute of an hour each way. however, i take public transportation. i could buy a car and deal with the depreciation in addition to the other expenses, and that would probably reduce my commute time to 35-40 minutes. i could also consider moving closer to work, but my work is in the suburbs, and i am very much an urbanite. so i make the conscious decision to live downtown. i like being able to walk anywhere i need in a maximum of 45 minutes (or take the metro if i want), and i like being able to go out and get hammered with my friends any night of the week and not worry about driving home.
of course, i have the option of moving to a job closer to my apartment, but i think i am more likely to move cities than to take a new job in my current city. while i'm young i want to explore.
Moving closer to work is NOT an option - the areas i could afford have crappy schools and working on the other side of the bridge ups ALL of my expense to 2-3x what they currently are.
4 days, 3 nights. 280 of miles of open desert and no water. Only a trusty camel to get me to the other side.
Nah, just about 5 munities away.
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