Cutting the Biggest Expenses II: Transportation

Welcome back to To Brighten Your Day! In such a capitalist society many people feel that they NEED a car, when in reality cars typically lead to increased costs and increased liability. When you're attempting to get out of debt, vehicles prove to be a heavy weight. Though sometimes it's more logical for you and your situation. But, keep your mind open to all options that can reduce your total costs.

Public Transportation

This is one of the most cost friendly options available to people who live in urban areas. As a citizen of Atlanta I have really come to value public transportation over the hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic. I would much rather sit back and read while someone else is responsible for the drama in traffic. Some things to consider when choosing public transportation:

  • Does your city have a local bus line? If it does, is it accessible for your daily commute?

  • Do you have a park and ride option to save on gas and time?

  • Where is the nearest train station, could you park there and ride the train for the remainder of your commute?

  • How much does this option cost monthly?


This option is completely free outside of a one-time upfront cost to purchase a bike and chain. If you live in a city that is bike friendly and your commute is short enough this is a great option to take. Some things to consider:

  • Are you responsible for dropping off the little people at school? How far is their school? Could a sidecar or additional seat allow for an easy ride home?

  • Are you athletic/healthy enough for the commute? Don't put strains on your body that you are not comfortable with. Start working out if you need to build some stamina.

  • On a typical day do you have others in your car? Have to pick up groceries? Etc. If so, figure out how to make fewer of those trips and more bike rides.


With the rapid changes and developments in technology we now have the ability to have full access to a car at nearly any time of day. If you are a person who rarely needs transportation outside of the normal bus line, a hybrid transportation plan may work best for you. For typical days when you use the bus or train but when you need to run to the grocery store or visit a family member you can utilize a Lyft.

  • Do you feel comfortable using a Lyft/Uber? (some people don't trust this method of transportation for safety reasons)

  • How often do you need to make non-busline trips?

  • What are the estimates for using a Lyft/Uber to the locations you need?


This is an option that I encourage people to steer completely away from. This route is for individuals who like to switch up their cars frequently, though they build no equity. I assume you enjoy saving money if you are reading this post so please do not take this route. Instead of listing questions to determine if this option is good for you, I will instead list a couple reasons why it is not.

  • No equity is built. You are consistently paying a car note and many times paid a down payment, but you never own the car.

  • Hidden fees. Okay so more than likely you signed the paper so they aren't hidden but leasing a car can be worse than a rental. Charges for mileage overages, can be reflected in increased lease rates or mileage penalties, stains, dings & dents will also cost you as well.

  • After paying thousands of dollars for a car with a lease of 3-5 years you are back to square one, without a car. Which means you have to lease or buy another one.

Cash Ownership

This is the absolute best transportation option for individuals who can't bike it out. If you have the ability to save for a car and pay it off in cash, DO IT! This option is typically best for individuals who live near public transportation and don't have a ton of overhead. Here are a few things to review before deciding this option is the best for you.

  • Do you have the ability/self-control to consistently save money?

  • Would the saving of said money make it impossible to travel to work/school or other required locations?

  • How much time would it take to save to buy the car you want? (Be realistic, less than $5,000)

  • How much do you currently have saved?

Payment Ownership

This is an option most people take, though I encourage you to at least consider some of the better ones listed above before jumping into this deal. So, typically you have to sign a contract ranging from 3-6 years. Throughout this entire commitment you will spend money on interest and paying for car maintenance. Make sure you are fiscally prepared for this situation before you sign on the dotted line.

  • How much is your car worth?

  • How much do you have saved for a down payment?

  • Will your credit be enough? Will you need a co-signer?

  • Do you want to deal with such a huge financial burden?

  • Can you afford full-coverage insurance?

Now that I have presented all of these transportation options to you, how will you move forward? Make sure that you choose the best option for your life and your budget. Transportation is one of the top three expenses in most households. Make sure you choose an option that is cost affordable for you. If you have questions or options that I haven't listed please share them in the comments!

If you are interested in saving more money in your business, feel free to check out the service tab to learn more. All phone consultations are offered nationwide.

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