In March 2017 I was spending £330 on public transport per month. Today (April 2018 for the readers from the future!), I spend about £180. The secret to this £150 savings per month (or £1800 per year!), is simple: Experiment!
Although I am going to stick with this example to illustrate my point, bare in mind that the main message is about your mindset, and it can be applied to practically anything.
Experiment One: Take the straight forward option (£20 /day)
When I just moved to London, I didn’t know anything about the public transport. There were too many ways to pay your way from point A to point B.
The main route I was taking (and I still take to date) was from central London to Watford.
So I did what seemed like an obvious option: I bought train tickets from the machines as I needed them. This cost me about £9 each way so a bit less than £20 for a round trip.
Needless to say, this was not a sustainable routine!
Experiment two: Take the easy option (£330 /month)
Not long after, I discovered that you could buy an Oyster card and attach a Travel card to it.
The right Travel card for my commute cost me £330 per month (Zone 1 to 9 + Watford Junction). I know, it’s still ridiculously expensive, but it was clearly a cheaper option than what I had done previously.
This went on for 6 months until one of my colleagues, Alicia, showed me an even cheaper way for the same commute.
Experiment three: Mix things up! (£295 /month)
Alicia showed me that by buying a Zone 1 to 2 Travel card and topping up my Oyster card, it was going to cost me even less.
The Travel card cost me £131 and the commute would cost me an additional £4.10 each way.
This meant that it would cost me £131 + (£4.10 x 2 ways x 5 days per week x 4 weeks per month) = £295.
A £35 saving per month!
This went on for another 6 months until another colleague, Jessie, showed me an even better way!
Experiment four: Understand the system (£203 /month)
When I broke down my commute step by step and associated each step with its cost, this is what I thought I would end up with:
- Leave my house and go to the underground station – Either walk (free) or by bus (included in the £131 travel card).
- Take the underground (subway if you like) to the train station – Included in the £131 travel card.
- Get the train to Watford Junction – £4.10 one way
And the same applied on the way back.
What Jessie showed me is that the £4.10 I was paying was including the whole trip from the underground station to Watford! The journey’s cost was not actually broken down like listed above.
She showed me that by tapping my Oyster card in, out, then in again at the train station, it would break the payment down to two separate journeys!
By doing this, £4.10 each way became £1.80!
So my new monthly cost became £131 + (£1.80 x 2 x 5 x 4) = £203.
Pretty good, no? A £127 saving per month compared to the first option!
But what if I told you I took it further?
Experiment five: Take advantage of your situation! (£179 /month)
As I was sharing my excitement with my colleagues, I got an extra golden insight!
My girlfriend told me that I could buy a Railcard (it gives people under 25 a 1/3 discount on train fares) and attach it to my Oyster card. I was about to turn 25 a few weeks after and this would cost me £30 for a year, so I took it.
I had heard of this Railcard before, but I wasn’t that interested beacause I didn’t take the train much. However, now that I could apply it to my daily commute, it changed everything!
What originally cost me £4.10 each way, then £1.80 thanks to Jessie, now costs me £1.20!
Now my month costs is £131 + (£1.20 x 2 x 5 x 4) = £179.
There are many ways to get from point A to point B. Whether we are talking about a commute, the UI of an app, growing your business to the next level, etc.
The more ways you experiment, the faster you will get to this point B, point C, and so on.
I have an experimental approach to almost everything. I wanted to learn how to create an e-business on a budget, how to make websites or how to make passive income through network marketing.
Learning and experimenting are a way of life that will take you far beyond what you could have done without them.
Did you achieve great things thanks to chain experiments? Let me and others know in the comments!