Your Commute to Work is Costing You More Than You Think

By Kat


When you’re planning for your annual budget, you probably account for things such as rent, groceries, utilities, gas, etc. But there are often fees hiding that you’ll forget to account for that could ruin your perfectly laid out financial plan. 

If you drive to work every day, one of these hidden financial losses could be a lot higher than you think. You know about the cost of gas and parking to get you from here to there, but have you ever thought about the opportunity cost of wasting hours away in your car? 

Technically you aren’t losing money here, because it’s money you never earned in the first place. But a new study by Sky Blue Credit investigated exactly how much time each state spends in their transportation to and from work, and it may have you wanting to ditch your office job for something remote. 

The average commute time is unsurprisingly highest in the Big Apple, with New Yorkers spending an average of 33 minutes on their way to work. This may not seem like a significant amount of time (it’s just one Netflix episode, right?), but doing this twice a day, five days a week adds up. Within 10 years, a New Yorker will have spent over 119 full days in the car! That’s almost a third of a year of straight 24/7 driving. 

While that sounds like a huge waste of time, it’s an even bigger waste of money. Based on the federal minimum wage (which is significantly lower than what many commuting employees actually make), these workers could have earned $20.7k if they spent the time at work rather than in a vehicle. 

Of course, New York is one of the heaviest trafficked states in the US, though this opportunity cost is still apparent across the US. Even states with the lowest commute time (South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana) have an opportunity cost of over $1,000 per year. 

So next time you’re driving to work, make your time worth it by listening to a podcast or reflecting on your thoughts, because it’s definitely cutting into what could be hard earned cash. 

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