When you have a family, getting everyone around can be tricky. It’s especially hard when you have babies or toddlers, who require a lot of stuff. In the car, you need to have everyone in car seats, unless they’re tall enough or old enough not to have one. And when you use public transport, keeping track of everyone can be nerve-wracking. One of the trickiest parts of family transport is the cost. Running a car can be expensive, but relying on public transport often is too. And when you go abroad, it can get costly too. If you want to reduce the costs of family transport, there are a few tricks you can use.
Look Into Family Discounts on Public Transport
Many families use public transport for both long and short journeys. You might not own a car, or you don’t want to drive in congested areas. Having the kids in the car when you’re stuck in traffic isn’t fun. You can use buses and trains and in some places trams and underground trains too. The great thing is, kids usually go free up to a certain age. Children under five are often free, while those older (usually up to 16) are often half price. There are also offers you can use to save, such as a Family and Friends Railcard, which allows up to four adults and four children to travel together.
Reduce the Costs of Running Your Car
Having a car makes things a lot easier for many families. However, with the costs of tax, insurance, petrol, and maintenance, they can get expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the cost of your car. One of the major expenses is insurance, and you can often find a better deal than the one you’re currently paying for. It’s a good idea to use a comparison tool, like the one on Money Expert’s website. You can look at different providers side by side and find the one that will work best for you. You could also reduce the cost of your car by taking good care of it, helping to reduce maintenance costs.
Walk and Cycle More
Are you guilty of piling everyone into the car when you could walk or cycle somewhere instead? You might think it’s quicker to drive, but getting everyone in and out of the car could take a lot longer than walking to wherever you’re going. If it’s a short distance, a stroll could get you where you’re going in a few minutes. When it’s a bit longer, everyone could get their bike out. Little ones can go in bicycle seats or trailers attached to the back of adult bikes.
Share Rides with Others
There are several opportunities you might have to share a car with friends, family or other parents. You don’t always need to take the whole family with you when you go somewhere, so taking your half-empty car can seem silly. Perhaps you’re taking one of the kids to a birthday party, and you can team up with a classmate’s parent. Sharing trips can be useful for the school run too, or perhaps you can carpool when you go to work. There’s no need to take the car all the time if it’s just you or you only have one passenger.
Condense Your Car Trips
Another thing that could be costing you more in petrol is taking lots of little car trips. Instead of popping to the shops for ten minutes every day, why not condense everything into one trip? You can often get away with only doing one shop every fortnight, perhaps with a top-up visit to more local shops in between. If you have something you need to do that doesn’t need to be done right away, you could wait until you have another errand to run. Then you can do both at the same time, instead of making two separate trips. You can also do things on the way to doing something else, like picking up the kids.
Skip the Shopping Trips
You can also try skipping the shopping trips altogether. Online shopping will get you just about anything these days, from milk to new clothes. Shopping with the kids isn’t much fun anyway, and it’s not always easy to find time to do it without them. You can often get free delivery when you shop online, and when you do have to pay, you can get it fairly cheap. For example, if you do your food shop online, it might only cost a pound to get it delivered during a quiet time.
You can save on your family’s transport costs with some clever tricks. It’s an important part of your budget, so seeing how you can cut the expenses is essential.