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.