How I save $4,500 a year, and make money on my way to work!

How I save $4,500 a year, and make money on my way to work!

Everyone in the working world falls into at least one of these categories:

  1. Make money/pay bills
  2. Something to do
  3. Make a difference
  4. Love what they do

They are all great, but let’s go back to reason #1.

Now I know a lot of you (like myself) work to make money to pay bills and leave some extra for some fun stuff like travel or shopping. I know I do enjoy my current job in the health care field, but it could always be better. My salary is just ok but like a twenty-something like my self, more money would mean more for savings, more for fun, more for my future.

I’ve been reading this super interesting article on American satisfaction trends in the workplace. According to the PEW Research Center, 30% of Americans say their job is just work to get them by and pay bills. Their poll came from servers, fast food, retail, doctors, lawyers, etc. for a better general statistic.

We are not alone.

They’ve also collected that 18% of working Americans view their job as a stepping stone towards a new career.

You can read the article here.

I am in this category as well. I don’t think my current job is where I want to be for the rest of my career, but it does provide great experience and work-life balance for me at the moment.

Like a lot of twenty-somethings, goals of mine include purchasing a house, traveling more, and not having to worry so much about bills. But, to achieve any goal, it takes sacrifice and dedication. A lot of it.


Not going to lie, it’s hard. I like to spend money, I like to have nice things, but I need to be smart about it as well.


So, now is the time as any to think of ways to save money and make money.


In my situation, I live in an apartment about 20 km from work. I live in Canada, so our gas prices are quite higher than those in the US or elsewhere. I was laid off a few months ago so I’ve had to tap into my savings. And with this, bills do not stop. If anything, they pile up and it sucks.

I try to cut corners as much as I can, and one major way I’ve been able to save so some money is taking public transportation to work.


“But Elaine, we all know that public transportation is cheaper!” you say.


Do you realize how much money you are leaving on the table while taking public transportation if you’re not utilizing all your resources?


Are you reading this on your mobile or do you have a phone with browsing capabilities on it?



Ok! Then you’re like me and 92% of North America that do!


I take the bus every morning. It’s about a 40 minute ride from home to office, which also gets me to work 20 minutes early. So that’s about an hour of doing nothing but sitting around.

That’s a full hour of time that we could use to make money. Yes, make money on the way to work.

First of all, public transportation alone saves you so much money.


Here’s a break down of how public transportation saves money for me:

  • Car insurance
    • I save about $35/month going from all-purpose insurance to “pleasure”
  • Gas
    • I get good millage on my vehicle, but if I was driving to and from work, I would spend approximately $90/month
  • Parking
    • The parking at my work is ranges from $2/hour to $250/month, depending on the plan you take
      Some of you might have free parking (lucky!) but if you work downtown like me, we are not so fortunate

A monthly bus pass for me costs $85/month as I only get the Monday-Friday unlimited passes. (I don’t use the bus on the weekends)

That’s it. Those 3 things alone are it.

A monthly savings of $375 a month!

So you’re probably thinking, $375 a month is great! That’s $4,500 a year! Think of what you could do with that money. Save for your down payment? Pay extra bills? Go on a trip?


Back to what I said earlier. How I make money on my way to work.


What you’ll need:

  • Public Transportation
  • Cellphone/tablet with a data plan
  • Note pad & pen (optional)

Here are some ways to do it, in no particular order:

Look For Deals

There are things that we will always need to buy and can’t really cut out of our lives. This includes household cleaning products, food, and toiletries. But, no one said you have to pay full price for these things! A website that I live by is Red Flag Deals. It’s free to join and they a mobile app as well. They list all your local flyers, post coupons, and have a forum. This forum is your lifeline for finding deals. I find that I trust others and their opinions, as well as their reviews. So many users do a lot of the work for you by posting deals that aren’t advertised, ways they’ve saved money on current items, and provide reviews/answers about products.

Also, if you do a general Google search, you can easily find deals and coupons.

Here’s an example of how I made $41.24 in 2 minutes;

I buy my hand soap from Bath and Body Works. They sometimes have a deal like “10 hand soaps for $30”. (Regular @ $6.50 per soap) That’s already pretty good at $3 per soap, saving me $35.

But lets save more.

I do a quick Google search of “bath and body works coupon code” and instantly find a 20% discount at checkout. This saves me an additional $6 for my 10 soaps, and works out to $2.40 per soap.

Some examples of other discounts I’ve found online:

  • 20% off total purchase
  • Free shipping
  • $15 dollars off when you subscribe to their email
  • _% of a certain amount spent

*note the discount you may find will vary depending on the season and different promotions that are live

My Google search took all of 1 minute, and I’ve saved $41. Fantastic.


But wait, there’s more! (I’ve always wanted to say that)


Join Ebates

It’s free and gives you cash back by online shopping through their website.

(also as a bonus when you sign up you get a $5 cash bonus)

This is so easy. You’re already online shopping.

When you log in, you’re presented to all their current opportunities. Click on the company of choice, then click “shop now” and you’re redirected to the company’s website. Now when you buy something from that website, you will get a percentage back in cash.

To build on my Bath and Body Works example, I would currently get 1% back on my entire purchase. Saving me an additional $0.24!

After this, I’ve saved a total of $41.24.

Again, taking about 2-4 minutes of my day. While I’m sitting on the bus. On. My. Way. To. Work.


Become a Virtual Assistant

VA is not a world I’ve delved into yet, but I’ve heard countless success stories of people making great supplemental income, or even having it as their full time job.

Some common duties as a VA is sorting/replying to emails, typing correspondence, scheduling, etc.

There is a lot more involved with this, and you can find valuable information

The VA Handbook is a good website to learn more.

This scenario will most likely take up all your commute time – but the earnings are unlimited!


Start a Blog

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create a blog that brings in some income. Once you’ve established your blog and you’re in the phase of writing content and able to monetize your site, commuting is a great time for you to do so! I find I get so many ideas when I’m just sitting on the bus which is why I bring my note pad everywhere with me. You never know when it will hit! Work on your blog. Draft some things. Create some graphics. Post/schedule some things on social media to promote yourself. Do your side hustle before you even start your “real” work day.

If you’re interested in starting a blog, I suggest you check out my post: The Ultimate Guide to Starting your Blog from Scratch


Online Surveys

This is a super easy one as well. We all have opinions! Well, there are companies want to hear AND pay you for your opinions. Some of these survey companies can pay anything from $1 – $50 PER SURVEY. Crazy huh? These programs are free to join and so easy to do. Here’s just a snippet of sites you can join!

A quick Google search will bring up so many more survey programs for you!

****BUT PLEASE PLEASE do your research first. There are soooo many fake/scam survey sites out there.

While you’re on the bus, these sites make it supper easy to complete their surveys as they either have a mobile app or their website is formatted for mobile. Think of how many 15-question surveys I can complete in 60 minutes.




Final Thoughts:

One big thing I see as a positive to taking the bus is that it forces me to have this “free” time to be productive. Do you think I could do an online survey while I’m driving? Nope. Sure I’ll get to work faster, but what else would I be doing? Take my sweet time getting ready at home since I can leave later for work? All while, that other me-time I’ve provided to myself on the bus is helping me save and make money.



Are you already doing any of the above? Do you take public transportation? Any other suggestions to save/make money while I’m on my bus to get to work?










The Ultimate Guide to Starting your Blog from Scratch

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