As I have now been working as an IT technician in London for almost a year, I now consider myself a commuter and am therefore always on the lookout for ways to save money when it comes to getting to work and back. Whether I’m searching on the Internet for the train line voucher codes or other ways to get cheap train tickets, finding more productive ways of spending the time that I am travelling or even finding ways to avoid paying through the nose for my lunch in London – I am always on the lookout for ways to make my salary go further. The main mission for me though is to try and get cheap train journeys and here are some ways that I do that:
• Get tickets from thetrainline.com
• Make use of a season ticket
• Use a Cashback credit card for train tickets
• Claim any refunds owed to me
Getting cheap train tickets at the Train Line
This is the way I use the most often to get cheap train fares. I am very meticulous when it comes to planning my rail journeys as I find that this is the way to maximise the amount of money that I am able to save. I book as many rail journeys as I possibly can online and as far in advance as I can. Obviously this requires more of an outlay at the beginning but after a couple of months you can see a decent weekly saving. The key timeframe seems to be 10 to 12 weeks early so I always try and book then, remembering any holidays or annual leave that I have booked because I don’t want to be paying for train journeys to and from work when I’m not even going to be there. I also try and make the most of the train line voucher codes and if I can apply one to my booking I always will.
Taking advantage of season tickets
A lot of people complain that regular commuters don’t really save very much by buying season tickets, but I beg to differ. People tend not to consider that when you book a season ticket it is valid for 7 days a week and not just the 5 working days. Therefore to truly maximise the benefit you need to make use of the trains at the weekends. On average by buying a weekly season ticket you save the cost of 3 days train journeys, which only 20% of the working week but it is almost half of the full week. I use the trains at the weekend all of the time which means that I don’t need a car, so it works out as a massive discount for me. For the months where I have no annual leave or holiday booked, I make use of monthly season tickets.
Using a Cashback credit card for discounts on train tickets
Whenever I purchase anything related to my commute I also use one of the Cashback credit cards. I think Santander offer the best one at the moment and that’s the one that I have. In a nutshell it means that I can get 3% back on everything I spend on train tickets. Over the course of a year that gives me an extra 10 days of travel for free so it’s well worth it. If I work in London until I retire then I would have saved a year’s worth of travel just by using this card to pay.
Claming refunds on delayed or cancelled trains
Claiming refunds is also a way to supplement my commuter budget. It’s a shame that it works this way but the trains are often so late that I’m entitled a percentage or even a full refund of my train ticket for that journey. This happens about twice a month so although I may have spent longer sitting on a train than I would have wanted to, or I’ve been waiting ages for a train that has been cancelled, at least that kind of journey is free or significantly reduced, saving me money at the same time. I probably save as much money by claiming on delayed trains as I do from using the train line voucher codes. More information on this can be found on the Transport for London website.
Apologies for my lasck of posts recently. What with the rail strikes in May and July this year I have had to find a different way of getting to work and I’ve only just got home!
Jokes aside, I have just moved house but you will be pleased to know that I still have to get the train into work and so I will be updating this site a bit more often once I have all of my boxes unpacked. I hope you are all well, please stay tuned to my blog for more cool commuter gadgets as well as a couple of rants that I have kept bottled up over the last couple of months.
As frequent visitors to my blog will have noticed, I do like to complain a little. To add to my series of pet hates about commuting didn’t have to think very long and hard about something that I have to put up with virtually every day that gets right on my nerves. Today’s pet hate is: looking.
In particular… where to look. I always try to keep myself occupied when on the train just so that I don’t have that awful dilemma of where to look on the train. But even then, occasionally I have a little look round and then catch someone’s eye. Some people will quite happily gawp at you without any shame, remorse or embarrassment at all. It’s almost as though they boarded the train with the intention of people-watching. Others will try to be sly about staring, by staring in between the seat headrests or through the reflection on the window. Either way it is very annoying and it makes me seriously consider buying a car.
I sort of empathise with the people who stare at me though, because they are in the same position as me. They don’t really know where to look. It only takes a few moments where they need a break from their Soduku or if they forgot their book or their iPod batteries are flat and they find themselves in the horrible situation of people-watching. If I could I would wear a hood and a mask so that people couldn’t stare at my face, but I’m worried that would make me a bit too conspicuous. Rant over. Peace out.
I stumbled upon this article earlier and it did annoy me:
As you can see it’s a couple of years old, but it was a related article on a similar story that I read today so I thought I would give it a read. It actually got me quite angry for many reasons. Firstly I hate people who steal. Whether you eat a grape in a supermarket or pull off a multi-million pound cyber fraud you are a thief and thieves are among the worst people in our society. Even worse are the ones that try to justify their actions by saying it is victimless or that they are stealing from the huge companies who don’t care about us. The fact is, why should anyone be entitled to something that does not belong to them?
The other thing that made me angry about this is the fact that – as a commuter – I shell out a considerable percentage of my monthly income towards my train fares. I am quite savvy when it comes to getting cheap train tickets as you will see in this article, but nevertheless I would still ideally pay even less for my journey to and from work. So it angers me that these three individuals think that they are better than people like me and many other London commuters who pay for the services that they utilise. What I find even more frustrating is that all three of these men earned more twice the amount of money that I do. And the fact that they were counterfeiting car parking ticket takes the biscuit in my opinion. I’m glad they got caught. That is one good thing about thieves they are usually greedy and often quite stupid. Rant over. Peace out
In continuation from my previous post about commuter essentials for the journey to work I am featuring some other items that no doubt all commuters will find essential. Some are actually quite basic but it’s usually the simpler thing that make the most difference.
They say that money makes the world goes round and when there is a major event that delays or cancels numerous trains at once, then cash will come in handy. If you need money for something to eat or drink if you’re stuck in London then you are going to be able to open up your choices if you have cash. Carry cash will mean you can spend £2 at the hot dog stall instead of £20 in pizza express. It’s also handy if you have to get off at a different station and need a shirt taxi or bus ride home. You don’t need much cash – I always make sure I have £20 on me.
You can fit a 6 pack of cereal bars in any work bag and you will be glad that you did. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time for breakfast, the train has broken down and you’re hungry or you just need that extra bit of energy to get you through the day, cereal bars are the most convenient way to keep the pangs at bay. The great thing about them is that even if you buy the best of the best, they are only a couple of pounds
On a slightly different note I found this video on cheap train tickets while I was browsing Youtube. I’ll do a full write-up once I’ve got all the tips from it so that you can refer back to a static blog page at your leaisure. Enjoy.
You may remember the other week I posted my pet commuter hate in a little rant on my blog. Well I didn’t think that I would be following it up so soon afterwards to be honest, but I suppose needs must. So my number two pet commuter hate is: The ticket inspector.
I appreciate that it can be a tough job being a ticket inspector. There probably isn’t much job satisfaction unless you like upsetting people and being verbally – or sometimes physically – abused by members of the general public. However this is part and parcel of that particular job in my opinion. Therefore if it’s not your thing, then don’t do it for a living. Just because you don’t like your job it doesn’t mean you should be a complete moron to everyone you come into contact with. Fair enough if someone is rude to you then you don’t have to like them, as long as you’re professional. However today I witnesses nothing but one-way sheer rudery from a ticket inspector towards a young mum who clearly doesn’t use public transport much.
I don’t know the full ins and outs of the story but it seemed as though the mum was going to some sort of appointment with her 1 year old son and they almost missed the train. It arrived before she had chance to purchase a ticket at the machine at Marble Arch, so she just jumped on knowing that an inspector would be able to give her a ticket on board. That he did, but it was for a considerably longer journey because she should have bought a ticket in the inspectors words. I swear they must be on commission or something. I bet if the young mum was a 6ft tall body builder the inspector wouldn’t charge any extra. Rant over for today – and it’s only Tuesday! I’m off to The Train Line now to book my tickets for the next month. Peace out.
As a seasoned commuter (well I have been commuting for all four seasons now) I have come up with a list of some essential equipment that all commuters should have for their daily slog to work. Many commuters already have some if not all of these items, and it is not a definitive list, just useful things in my opinion. I’ll start today with my number one.
A travel flask
This is great not only for the cold weather but also for the warmer weather as well. If you’re addicted to coffee then this flask will keep it at a nice temperature for your entire commute to work. Fill it up again just before you leave work and you also have a nice hot beverage for the way home. I put soup in mine on particularly cold days and it really does warm the heart as well as the body knowing you’ve got a lovely cup of soup to keep you company at the train station. You can also carry a couple of cup-a-soup sachets in your bag and fill your flask up with hot water when you leave work. That way if the train is delayed for any reason you won’t be too upset as you can just add the sachet to your flask and you have an instant meal.
These travel flasks are only about £5 in supermarkets but personally I would consider spending more and getting something a bit better that will maintain a temperature for longer. I would say in terms of price this is the best value-for-money item that I take to work with me every day. The Money Saving Expert forums also have great ways to save money on the commute.
As you may have read before on my blog, I am now a fully-fledged commuter. I spend at least 2 hours of my entire working day travelling to or from work. I don’t really mind it though, but that might only be because I haven’t been doing it for very long. I expect that after 10 or 20 years of commuting I will probably have lost all of my hair and will walk around with a permanent scowl on my face like many of the older commuters seem to have.
As I said though I don’t mind commuting, but there are a few things that do really get my goat. Just for a bit of fun on this hot Friday afternoon commute back home I thought I’d begin an ongoing list of commuter hates, starting with my number one and thing that has really annoyed me this afternoon.
People who eat. I am all for eating and drinking on the train as a small amount of food or drink does break up the journey, however smelly cooked food really gets on my nerves. There’s nothing worse than someone boarding the train with a smelly, greasy pasty or sausage roll. Not only does it make the entire carriage smell like a chip shop, but it also generates quite a lot of mess. The mess itself doesn’t bother me personally as I usually already have my seat or standing position, but I don’t like it when people are inconsiderate enough to leave their mess on a train. Fair enough you can’t really pick up flakes of pastry but that’s all the more reason to not eat things like that on public transport.
That’s my rant over for today, so have a nice weekend and I will be back in due course with my next commuter pet hate. Peace out.
Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Steven but most people call me Stevie. I am originally from Chortle-cum-Hardy in Manchester but I moved to London at the end of 2012 when I was offered a job as a trainee IT technician. I did this for 6 months and then got another job as an IT technician which I have been doing for the past year now. I love my job and I love computers and network troubleshooting. I’m also quite fond of the people that I have to work with as well. I’ve made some good friends in the past 12 months and hope to make many more.
I started this blog mainly as a hobby but also to keep me occupied during my commute into work every day. There are only so many books that I can read so I like to mix things up a bit. I will update this blog as often as time will permit. It’s not going to be about anything in particular, but I should imagine work and commuting will be the main theme as this seems to be what I spend a lot of my time doing. If there’s anything else that I find I enjoy writing about then I may even start another blog further down the line. For now though I will just share my tips for getting through that daily commute to the daily grind.
Please feel free to follow me on my blog even if you don’t know me or have never met me. I love making friends but I also like making e-friends as well. If you want to follow me on Twitter my username is @stevieheston. I will tweet whenever I add a blog post so that’ll be the easiest way to keep in touch. Peace out.