PFCollege: Learn To Use Public Transportation

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Personal Finance for College Students Series Seal Do you have a car? If you’re like most college kids, you either don’t have a car or it’s a piece of junk. College is the perfect time to learn how to use public transportation. You’ll save money on costly insurance (expensive for you folks under 25), costly gasoline (expensive for everyone), and costly parking (unless you like rolling the dice with street parking). Plus, added onto to all those personal financial benefits, you will be doing the environment some good by not consuming as much fuel, producing as much pollution, and all that other good stuff related to personal automobile use.

Back at my alma mater, we had a little sticker we put on our student identification cards that gave us “free” rides on mass transit (we paid $17 per semester for this). Since we had this seemingly free transportation, many of us learned the intricate bus routes for our area and we could easily get to where ever we wanted. Many of us got into the habit of taking the bus and that’s a good habit, especially if you end up living in a metropolitan area where the costs of owning a car are significantly higher than in the boonies.

What will you save? Well, if you drive 12,000 miles a year, have a 20mpg car and pay $2.50 per gallon on gasoline, that’s a cool $1,500 in your pocket. You also won’t need insurance or pay for maintenance or a lot of the other auxiliary stuff not on the price tag. For some quick math, just use the IRS business deduction for business travel, 44.5 per mile, on 12,000 and you can ballpark the costs at around $5,340 a year. That’s some good savings.

(There are inaccuracies to using the IRS business travel deduction in that way but I figure it’s close enough to give you an idea of how much you’re saving)

This article is part of a new series I’ve started called Personal Finance for College Students (hence, PF College).

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One Response to “PFCollege: Learn To Use Public Transportation”

  1. Once you’re out of college, public transportation can continue to save you a lot of money if you commute into a city for work. Corporations will often subsidize a public transport plan for their employees in return for tax breaks. This keeps the price of riding low; combined with all the insurance, parking, and gas savings it makes the bus or train a great way to “give yourself a raise”. Plus it’s a great way to get out of staying late at work. “I’d love to stay and help but my train leaves in 5 minutes….”

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