Personal Finance

10 Minute Finance Fix: Drive a Different Route to Work

The 10 Minute Finance Fix series focuses on topics you can learn in ten minutes or less to help improve your personal finances. In this 10 Minute Finance Fix, you will learn how driving a different route to work can reduce your temptations and help with your self control.

If you’re like me, your route to and from work takes you by a lot of temptations. For me, there are two drive through coffee places and a wonderfully cozy diner open for breakfast on the way to work, and on the way home my route takes me by an enormous bookstore and a nice little ice cream parlor, too. These places all tempt me to spend money that I shouldn’t spend, and for the longest time I was in the habit of spending some money at one of these places every day.

Change Your Route

I broke this habit by using a very simple technique: for a few months, I took a slightly longer route to and from work each day that avoided these places. It cost me an average of three minutes each way, but the incidental stops at these places were completely gone, so it often took me less time to commute than before with the stops included. Instead of driving through town, I bypassed most of the town by taking the interstate to the next exit and backtracking just a bit, driving through a suburban neighborhood and near a hospital instead of through the commercial loop.

Review different routes to work to find a different travel path which has less temptations for you to stop at. Map out different routes to see how long each takes – Google Maps helps because you can dynamically change your path and see how it affects your time.

The Results

The positive impact of this change was pretty immediate on my cash flow, as I was spending a lot less on spur of the moment things that I didn’t need. I also found that it was actually a more efficient route, as I didn’t stop nearly as often for extra things, so I could get from work to home much quicker. It also helps that I’m not stopping for a donut or mocha – I’m not adding those unneeded calories into my diet.

If you find that “quick stops” for little things in the morning and evening are eating you alive, try a different route to and from your place of business. Changing your route can save you money and time!