How much money are you planning to spend this Black Friday? Almost $400, if you’re an average American.
These awesome deals are timed right to save you a nice chunk of change on your holiday shopping. But even if you’re meticulous about budgeting your annual shopping spree, there’s one cost you may have overlooked: transportation.
When Transportation is a Hidden Headache
With many major public transit systems running limited hours or closed completely for the holiday weekend, Black Friday travel could spell traffic jams and accidents.
So we’ve put together this list of five ways to save your time, money and sanity on transportation this Black Friday.
1. Shop Online Instead of In-Store
Welcome to the future, where you can get pretty much every deal you see advertised in stores online. This means no lines and no traffic.
But we know some of you are looking forward to the Black Friday madness. If you are heading into the fray in person, the following tips are for you:
2. Carpool With Friends
Think about those ridiculous lines you’ll be waiting in: If every single member of the queue drove her own vehicle, wouldn’t that be a huge waste of gas and time?
Even if you take just one friend with you this Black Friday, you’ll save money on gas and create 50% of the emissions you would have taking two cars.
Don’t have your own ride? No problem.
Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft allow you to split the cost with your friends, so you don’t have to worry about IOUs or who has the right change. You’ll definitely save time on parking and stress on navigating packed streets.
Plus, some shopping centers offer incentives for shoppers to come out and spend money. Last year, The Grove in Los Angeles offered shoppers free Uber services, provided they spent $450 or more on their outing — which is not much higher than the national average these past few years.
Although Uber declined to comment and Lyft is not offering any nationwide Black Friday promotions at this time, Paige Thelen of Lyft mentioned passengers could get a ride for up to 60% less than usual in cities where Lyft Line is available (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Austin and Boston).
Which brings us to our next point…
4. Get Free Rides
Though some transit authorities call it quits for all of Thanksgiving weekend, others offer special or extended services to encourage shoppers to put their dollars back into the local economy.
For example, Spokane, Washington runs a free bus fare day on Black Friday, and riders enjoy a regular weekday schedule.
Check with your local transit authority, shopping centers and community organizers to see what incentives are being offered. You might just score a sweet deal.
5. Get Familiar With Public Transportation
Know what’s not a good expenditure of your time and money? Hiking down to the bus stop or metro station only to learn your planned method of transportation is running on a different schedule.
Here’s the scoop on Black Friday transportation in selected U.S. cities:
NYC: Nothing special is planned, but New York will uphold its no-sleep reputation with public transit running 24/7.
Boston: Boston’s famous T will run its regular weekday schedule this Black Friday.
Philadelphia: According to SEPTA, City Transit, as well as the Frontier, Victory Divisions and Norristown High Speed Lines will operate on a Modified Weekday Schedule.
Washington, DC: The nation’s capital will also run a regular weekday schedule.
Miami: It’ll be a regular weekday transportation schedule — and still warm, to boot! — for Miami-Dade County.
San Francisco: Hallelujah! On Black Friday, selected parking tickets are not enforced. If you’re ditching the car, you’re looking at a regular weekday schedule.
Above all, stay safe out there — increased traffic and groggy morning hours create a good environment for increased accidents.
Your Turn: How will you get around this Black Friday?
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We would have shared them with you anyway, but a true “penny hoarder” would be a fool not to take the company’s money.
Jamie Cattanach is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible. You can wave hello to @jamiecattanach on Twitter.