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It’s Not Your Imagination—Traffic is Different Now

By Jeff Rutledge, Metromile Senior Communications Manager and Data Geek

Metromile’s Data Drivers Report | October 2021 edition

Metromile’s Data Drivers Report: October 2021 edition

No one is quite sure how to refer to this moment in time. Are we at the end of a pandemic, somewhere in the middle, or just getting started? Will I get tired of working from home and staring at endless Zooms? Whatever the case, many of us are settling into some version of a new normal, with new routines — especially with our driving habits, which took a big detour in mid-2020 and still haven’t quite stabilized.

When you price insurance fairly using actual individual behaviors, you tend to collect a data point or two, and our drivers’ collective time behind the wheel has given us a unique view of how driving for work, pleasure, travel, and everything in between has changed—maybe for good.

So, what does driving look like toward the end of 2021? I teamed up with our Data Science team to look at how Metromile customers are driving and shed light on some emerging trends.

Rush Hoursss have replaced Rush Hour. Commuting has definitely changed: morning and evening commutes are still a bit less intense, with peak traffic down 10% to 20% from pre-COVID levels. But if you’re like me, you might feel like you’re always in traffic these days. 

Here’s why: our research shows that drivers are starting and ending their commutes and school drop-offs at more varied times than they used to, meaning rush hour lasts longer. Not surprising given all the news about flex schedules and school bus concerns, but not great news if you’re looking to get somewhere quickly.

Mid-day can be me-time. Mid-day driving, meanwhile, is up as much as 5% in some markets, suggesting more daytime errands and/or more flexible family arrangements.

We’re driving faster than we used to. The average trip speed is elevated by about 3 to 4% across all trips, suggesting drivers are prioritizing different kinds of trips, encountering emptier roads (personally, I’d like to know where!), just losing patience, or some combination of all three.

Suburbs are having a moment. Total miles driven on urban roads has dropped 7 to 9% from this time in 2019, while suburban—and even some rural—miles have risen by a similar amount. This jives with the number of drivers taking notice of cost-saving insurance options, too; we’ve seen an increase as high as 5% in the number of suburbanites shopping for and purchasing pay-per-mile insurance during the past several months.

Back to school is…back. In 2021 we saw a clear increase in cars on the road as schools resumed in-person learning, commensurate with bumps we’ve observed in previous years. This customary surge was—as you might guess—dramatically smaller than usual in 2020, shrinking by about 20%.

We’re split into the drives and the drive-nots. Total miles driven have been creeping back to their 2019 levels, but all together we’re still driving 5-6% fewer miles than we were before COVID hit. But that’s not the whole story—far fewer drivers than before are accounting for all those miles—between 10% and 40% fewer depending on location and time of day. More than ever, we’re divided into the road warriors and the sofa soldiers.

Location is revealing (and so is age). While the trends above hold true across the board, we do see noticeably different behaviors across different states and metro areas. For example:

  • Peak rush hour traffic is only down about 5% in Arizona, Virginia, and Illinois, but closer to 20% in California and our other states.
  • Drivers in Portland haven’t gotten back behind the wheel quite as much as their peers in Seattle, and San Francisco-area drivers drive significantly more than both on a per-person basis.
  • Age matters too; Gen Z has driven fewer miles than normal, but far more than Boomers and the Silent Generation, perhaps reflecting occupation or a lower perceived risk of illness, while Millennials have shown modestly safer braking habits, possibly due to being more likely to drive with small children.

We’ll be back with more driving trends soon. Stay tuned for the next edition of our Data Drivers report!

Why Working From Home Isn’t Going Anywhere

The global pandemic has been a complete paradigm shift in many ways. The ways we travel, connect, work, and live have changed in some way since the arrival of COVID. Since the early days of the shutdown with moves to work from home, many companies were floating around prospective return-to-the-office dates. Due to the Delta variant, many companies have either pushed the date yet again or ditched the office altogether, opting for permanent work from home status. Here’s why working from home isn’t going anywhere.

Working From Home Indefinitely Is Part of the New Normal | Metromile

Employees don’t want to go back to the office 

Working from home has given a new taste of freedom that many employees hadn’t experienced before. So much so that many people are quitting or thinking about quitting due to mandates in place stating that employees need to return to the office. This article from Slate shares the many stories of people who simply don’t want to return to the office, citing commute time and energy as the primary issues.

Many people find they have additional time for both their work and personal life, leading to more productivity and balance. 

Though returning to the office is just one part of the equation, all of these shifts have led to a new workplace phenomenon called “The Great Resignation” with many people leaving their job. 

An Ipsos survey in partnership with the World Economic Forum found that 30% of employees would consider looking for a new job if they had to return to the office full-time. A survey by FlexJobs found that number to be almost double, with 58% of respondents saying they would look for a new job instead of returning to the office. 

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “job leavers” or those who quit their job voluntarily, continued to grow over the summer months:

  • As of June 2021, 942,000 people left their job voluntarily 
  • As of July 2021, 930,000 people left their job voluntarily 
  • As of August 2021, 822,000 people left their job voluntarily

Compare this to the previous summer during the beginning part of the pandemic when 595,000 people left their jobs voluntarily as of August 2020. As the pandemic continues without a clear end in sight, many people are re-thinking their work and life and what really matters to them. 

What many people are saying implicitly and explicitly is that they don’t want to “go back to normal” and more often than not, they don’t want to return to the office and face a long commute, interruptions, office politics, and micromanaging when the work can be done at home. 

The benefits of working from home outweigh the cons

Working from home can lead to distractions, technical difficulties and make it harder to officially unplug as you transition from “work” to “off work”. But even with those challenges, a FlexJobs survey found the benefits outweigh the cons. 

In fact, 84% of survey respondents said the top benefit of working remotely is not having a commute. Coming in a close second, 75% of respondents noted the cost savings associated with working from home

What’s astonishing is that the survey also noted that 38% of respondents estimate saving $5,000 per year by working from home, while 20% of respondents estimate saving double that at $10,000 per year. 

Many people are saving on gas, car maintenance, and more by ditching their commute. On top of that, if you work from home you can stand to save even more with pay-per-mile insurance. 

Pay-per-mile insurance is a type of usage-based insurance where you pay based on how often you drive. Low-mileage drivers could save a significant amount, with Metromile customers saving on average $741 per year after making the switch. In some cases, customers save up to 47% compared to what they were previously paying. 


Source/credit: Statista/FlexJobs

Though there are cost-savings while working from home, there are still downsides that exist. The top gripes with working from home noted in the FlexJobs survey were difficulty unplugging (35%) and dealing with non-work related distractions (28%).

As you can see from the numbers, while there are cons to working from home many employees find that the benefits make up for it. 

There are many unknowns with COVID variants 

If you’ve been monitoring the COVID situation, you know that the Delta variant has changed the course of the pandemic. In early summer, it seemed that we might see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Then Delta hit and had its own plans and changed the course of the pandemic. Due to its highly infectious nature and transmissibility, many offices pushed back their reopening and more lockdowns and mandates of various degrees happened worldwide. 

The CDC notes that mutations in the virus are expected and at this rate, it seems like we’re going through the whole Greek alphabet when it comes to types of variants.

Given the setback with the Delta variant, it’s tough to make definitive plans for the future and have set plans to return to the office. The many variants and unknowns of the future make working from home a long-term possibility and a paradigm shift in what was once “office culture”.

The bottom line 

The pandemic has touched everyone’s life in some way and has changed work as we know it. One of the largest shifts is the move to work from home. At this point, working from home isn’t going anywhere as employers continue to stay on this path indefinitely or permanently because of the pandemic. 

If you’re working from home or want to work from home more, take advantage of the cost-savings with pay-per-mile insurance. Why pay for miles you don’t drive when you can pay based only on the miles you drive, along with a low base rate? Using Metromile you can do just that. Get your free, no-pressure quote to see how much you could save by making the switch. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

10 Tips to Learn How to Be Productive Working from Home

If you’re one of the millions of workers who started working from home during the pandemic, you might have initially found it a fun opportunity to work in your PJs and have some more autonomy. While working from home has its perks, staying focused to actually get work done can be a challenge without the traditional office environment, community, or support of the workplace. If you want to learn how to be productive working from home, here are 10 tips for working remotely.

How to Be Productive Working from Home | Metromile

1. Figure out a schedule that works for your family 

If you have a family at home, working from home can come with some challenges. You may be taking care of children and dropping them off at school, managing mealtimes, and more. Discuss a schedule with your family that can help you manage work and life. You can review shared responsibilities and have a shared calendar to delegate tasks and times to try and make work more manageable. 

2. Schedule office hours in advance 

If you’re trying to figure out how to stay productive at home, one of the best tips for working remotely is to schedule office hours in advance. In line with the first tip, you want to create a schedule with your family and then have specific hours or days you’re available for meetings, phone calls, etc. 

Being available at all times can be distracting and take you away from your important work. Having set hours or days to take calls and meetings can help you get things done and mentally shift to other tasks. 

3. Have a dedicated workspace 

If you want to know how to be productive working from home, the key is to have a dedicated workspace only for working. 

The first few times you work from bed or the couch can be fun, like you’re getting away with something. But after a while, there can be a disconnect between your mind and your body. Working from bed or the couch tells your body it’s time to relax, which can create resistance in your mind when it’s time to get down to work.

That’s why having a dedicated workspace is key. Even if it’s a small table or desk, having your own area that is just for work can help provide a cue that it’s time to work. It can also make it easier to “turn off” when you’re done with work. 

4. Establish a morning routine to ease into work 

When you work from home, the boundaries between work and life can become blurred. You might feel like you need to rush to your computer right after you wake up or check your email right away. Here’s a tip: don’t. Learning how to stay productive at home requires that you have some boundaries and create a routine that works for you. 

Establish a morning routine that prioritizes your mental health and lets you ease into work at the appropriate time. Depending on your work, you may or may not still be working from “9 to 5”. Regardless of the hours you’re keeping, doing something in the morning for you and creating a specific cue to start working can help. 

For example, you could drink a glass of water, shower, read for 15 minutes and meditate for 5 minutes. When you have your cup of coffee and open your laptop after that, you’re primed to work. Establishing a routine can make sure you’re still taking time for yourself while also easing into work. 

5. Write down your top three tasks for the next day 

Have you ever sat down at your desk and wondered, “What should I work on today?” and feel like there’s so much going on you don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you’ve worked all day and wondered “What did I even get done today?!” 

Working from home can be a time warp, so you want to make sure you’re getting your most important tasks done. After each day of work, write down your top three most important tasks for the next day. If you don’t get them all done, carry one over to the next day. But try to keep it to three important things. That can make your tasks manageable and help keep you focused and not get stuck doing busy work like emails. 

6. Carve out regular breaks 

Working from home can save you time and money because you no longer have commuting time. But that doesn’t mean you should work more and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks. 

It can seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks will actually make you more productive. You’re a human being with a finite amount of energy and mental capacity. Imagine a cell phone that isn’t charged. If your phone is at 10% battery, you’re not going to commit to a long phone call. Why would you do that if that’s how you’re feeling energy-wise? 

Research has shown that staying focused for 52 minutes and taking a break for 17 minutes can help boost productivity. You could employ the Pomodoro Technique, which is when you work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break. 

Something that helps me is using FocusMate, a virtual coworking program where you connect with someone for a 50-minute work session. I then take a ten minute break and start again. I typically schedule three sessions back-to-back before taking a longer break. 

7. Cut out the distractions 

We’ve all been there. You think you’re going to check your email, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok “really quick”. Then an hour later you find yourself watching cat videos or reading about celebrity gossip, or worse “doomscrolling” about the four different global crises going on simultaneously. Ack! 

Sadly, we can’t rely on our own internal motivation and willpower. You can block distracting sites such as social media using Self Control for Macs or Freedom. You can also use RescueTime, which tracks where you’re really spending time on your computer. It’s basically like a time budget that shows where you’re actually spending your time. 

8. Check your email 2-3x a day 

Sometimes email can feel like playing a game of digital ping pong with no winners. While it’s easy to keep your email open at all times and stay on top of what’s coming in, it can be seriously distracting when you’re trying to get actual work done. 

Of course, email is part of nearly everyone’s job in some way, but it’s likely not their core task. So instead of keeping your email open all day and being in a reactive state every time you get a notification, try to check your email only two to three times a day. Consider 10am, 1pm, and 4pm so you have solid blocks of time to get other work done. 

9. Talk to your employer about ergonomic equipment

The good thing about working at an office is that it has all the equipment and supplies you need to work comfortably. 

At home that might not be the case. If you’re struggling with wrist pain or it’s difficult to work on your laptop, ask your employer to see if it’s possible to get ergonomic equipment that can help your comfort and productivity. You may need an ergonomic mouse, chair, a special monitor or printer. Whatever would make working at home easier for you, ask your employer about it. 

10. Meal prep in advance 

When you work at an office it’s easy to stop at the local coffee shop or diner to get a bite for lunch or breakfast. When you work from home, you don’t have that option. So you may resort to either going hungry or get distracted by cooking and cleaning for too long. 

To help combat that, try meal prepping ahead of time. For example, you can choose each Sunday to make lunches for the week. Perhaps you make burrito bowls or salads. Whatever your fancy is, make it in bulk ahead of time and eat it throughout the week. Need some inspo? Here are 20+ meal prep options from Delish.com. 

Bottom line 

Learning how to be productive working from home can take some adjustment and practice. Using these 10 tips for working remotely, you can aim for a better work-life balance while prioritizing your important work. 

If you’re working from home, you might be a low-mileage driver. If so, you might be sitting on some savings and not even realize it. Check out pay-per-mile insurance and get a free quote using Metromile


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Car Maintenance for the Low-Mileage Driver

If you’re already a Metromile customer, there’s a great chance that you’re a low-mileage driver. Paying for the miles you drive is just one of the perks of being a Metromile customer and low-mileage driver. 

Another major perk of driving less? You might be able to keep the time and money spent on car maintenance down to a reasonable amount.

Have you ever brought your car to the mechanic for one thing, only for them to give you a list of problems you weren’t aware of? You might even wonder if they’re trying to take advantage of you.

But here’s the thing: Because you don’t drive as often, your car might not need maintenance as frequently as more heavy drivers. So you might be able to get away with things like fewer oil changes. You might also save time on other things like flushing the transmission fluid or replacing the coolant and antifreeze.

Let’s take a closer look at what you might be able to skip and what you might still want to do to keep your vehicle in good shape.

How to Maintain Your Vehicle When You Don’t Drive Often | Metromile

Are you a low-mileage driver?

First, let’s start off with something important — what being a low-mileage driver actually means. If you don’t drive that often, you’re likely considered a low-mileage driver, but how is that defined? While there are no hard and fast rules, as a general rule of thumb, you are most likely a low-mileage driver if you are clocking fewer than 40 miles per day or fall into the following categories:

If you fall into one of these camps and realize that you don’t drive your car very often, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when having your vehicle serviced.

What low-mileage drivers can do in the short term

If you don’t drive that often, here are six tips for what you can do in the short term within the next six months. 

1. Change the oil as needed 

If you don’t drive that often, you might have a conundrum on your hands and wonder about oil change time vs mileage. Should you get an oil change every six months or every 7,500 miles? 

If you don’t drive that much, you might want to focus more on the time equation and do periodic check-ins with your oil. Your best bet is to look at your car manual and if you have a newer car, only change your oil when you get an alert. 

2. Get regular check-ups for your vehicle. 

You’ll still want to take the car to your auto repair shop at least every six months to monitor the condition of your vehicle. Surprised? Things can go wrong if your car isn’t driven regularly (yep, even if it’s garaged!).

3. Make sure your tires stay in good shape. 

If you don’t drive that often, you want to keep your tires in good shape. Tires can lose air from lack of movement and create low tire pressure. You want to maintain appropriate tire pressure as noted in your vehicle’s owner manual. Also, check for any damages, cracks, or punctures if your car is being stored and not driven for a period of time. 

4. Drive the car at least once a month. 

Your car is literally a well-oiled machine and a modern marvel of technology. It’s not meant to be stored away without moving at all for long periods of time. Think of the phrase “use it or lose it” when it comes to your car. If you don’t drive that often, make sure you start your car and drive on the highway for at least 15 miles once a month. Doing so will make sure the juices are flowing correctly and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.

5. Check for furry visitors or other stowaways in your vehicle. 

Have you ever noticed how animals love to hide in small, tight quarters? Well, your car can become home to a furry stowaway. Car engines make nice little homes for furry creatures like mice, squirrels, and rats, especially during the colder months as they look for warm places to stay. Be sure to check your exhaust pipe and other crevices. 

Check the condition of the fuel lines and other rubber components under the car to make sure little critters haven’t chewed through anything or created any damage. 

6. Install a carbon eliminator. 

Another thing you can do in the short term is to add a carbon eliminator to your gas tank yearly to avoid any carbon build-up. 

What is a carbon eliminator, you ask? It removes tough carbon deposits from rings, valves, ports, and combustion chambers to improve engine performance, reduce fuel consumption, restore power and extend engine life.

What low-mileage drivers can do in the long-term 

If you don’t drive that often, there are also some actions you can take in the long term. These are things you should do every six months to a year. 

1. Check your air filter 

Your air filter is an important protective measure to keep any extraneous debris or matter from hitting the engine. Making sure the air filter is working properly helps lower emissions while also boosting fuel efficiency. You can also review your owner’s manual to see how often you should replace your air filter. But if it looks filthy or broken, it’s time to make a change. 

Checking the air filter and ventilation system can also help you find any unwanted stowaways that may be hiding as well. 

2. Review your fluid levels 

While you might want to check your oil in the short term, in the long term you also want to review your other fluid levels. For example, check the antifreeze levels as well as brake fluid. These things can deteriorate with age and not be at optimal levels. Checking every six months or so should help keep your car in good condition. 

3. Consider checking your spark plugs 

When it comes to powering your vehicle, your spark plugs play an important role. These plugs activate the gas and air to get your car going and if they’re not working well your car could end up losing power. Check your owner’s manual to see if and when this is needed. If you feel your engine power is wearing off, consult a professional for help. 

4. Look at your car battery 

If you don’t drive that often, your car battery may not be used that often either. A car battery is an integral part of a car and is responsible for getting things started and moving. In certain weather conditions or lack of use, your car battery may have a weak signal so it’s always good to test the car battery and make sure it’s good to go. 

5. Scan your serpentine belt 

Your serpentine belt is a long, snake-like belt (hence the name) that keeps many parts of your car functioning. These parts include AC, power conditioning pump, the vehicle’s alternator, and more. Scan the belt to make sure there is no damage like any cracks or breaks. If there is damage, you want to get it replaced ASAP. 

Some things you may not need to do as a low-mileage driver 

There are some actions you might not need to take as a low-mileage driver that might surprise you. As it turns out, there are things that a low-mileage driver like you doesn’t need to do very often (or at all). 

You might not need to flush your transmission fluid 

You may rarely need to flush your transmission fluid because most car manufacturers now use fluid good enough for 100,000 miles or more, what they sometimes call a “lifetime.” You can do a check-up and review your owner’s manual to check, but this may not be needed. 

You might not need to change your oil as much as you think 

If you’re reviewing oil change time vs mileage as part of your car maintenance it’ll depend on how much you drive. You may want to change your oil twice a year, but depending on how much you drive and the type of car you have, and oil you use, you may be able to get away with less. 

An example of unnecessary car maintenance for the low-mileage driver is changing the engine oil too often

It used to be the norm for vehicle owners to schedule an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, with modern lubricants, most newer engines have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If your engine requires full-synthetic motor oil, it might go as far as 15,000 miles between services. For low-mileage drivers, you might need an oil change once a year or less often!

Switching out windshield wipers 

Unless your windshield wipers are actually broken, there’s no need to replace them just because you don’t drive that much. Make sure they’re functioning properly, but beyond that, they don’t need to be replaced unless there’s an issue. 

Replacing tires 

If you don’t drive that often, you may lose tire pressure and need a refill of air but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the tires completely. Check your owner’s manual. If there’s a hole or a flat, of course, replace the tires. But it’s not something you may need to do all the time just because you don’t drive that often. 

Why is maintenance important for a car’s health?

Car maintenance is important. It’s like going to the doctor for preventative care. If you’re a healthy person, you might not need to go to the doctor as often as someone who gets sick all the time. But doctors still recommend you go in for an annual exam to make sure nothing has changed. The same is true with your car.

Regardless of how often you drive, it’s still essential to get your car checked out now and then to make sure things are running smoothly. In the long run, routine car maintenance can help you avoid car troubles down the road.

But it’s just a matter of how often you need to bring your car into the auto shop for a tune-up. For low-mileage drivers, you might be able to go longer in-between visits without risking damage to your vehicle.

How can low-mileage drivers save money with pay-per-mile car insurance?

If you don’t drive that often, you may be considered a low-mileage driver and may be able to save money with pay-per-mile car insurance. 

As a low-mileage driver, not only could your car need less frequent maintenance, but you could also save money with a pay-as-you-go auto insurance policy that charges you based on how many miles you drive. 

At Metromile, you end up paying a small base rate every month, regardless of how much you drive, to help keep your vehicle covered, plus a few cents per mile. But typically, most of your premium is based on the actual number of miles you drive. So the less you drive, the more you could save. Why pay for more miles than you actually drive? 

Take a look at the average annual car insurance savings enjoyed by new Metromile customers:

Miles Driven Per YearPer MonthPer WeekSavings*
10,000 miles833 miles192 miles$541
6,000 miles500 miles115 miles$741
2,500 miles208 miles48 miles$947

The bottom line

If you don’t drive very often, you want to maintain your vehicle and keep it in good shape. You also want to save money where you can. 

To find out just how much you could save, get a free auto insurance quote from Metromile to see how much you could save with pay-per-mile auto insurance.

You can also try Ride Along™ for free to get a more accurate rate. Ride Along is a free feature (not insurance coverage) on the Metromile app, which considers your actual driving, including how many miles you drive, to show you how much you could save before purchasing a policy and switching to Metromile.

* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

Safe Driving Habits Aren’t Just For Child Passenger Safety Week

As a parent, caregiver, or guardian, the safety of your child is the utmost priority – whether that’s in your arms, your home, or your car. And because car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for children, it’s important to be proactive and know how to improve your and your child’s safety while driving.

For Child Passenger Safety Week, we spoke with our very own Metromile parents to hear more about their safe driving practices and how their driving behaviors have changed since having children.

Safe Driving Habits Aren't Just For Child Passenger Safety Week
A future Metromiler!

Safer driving habits can protect children and adults alike

Brigitte, a Metromile Recruiter, said her driving habits changed the moment her baby began growing in her belly. “I noticed I would slow down more than usual and if I knew there might be traffic, I would make sure to leave early enough to arrive at my next destination with enough time to spare and then some,” Brigitte said. 

For many parents and caregivers, driving a child around can bring on new stressors and worries. Underwriting Assistant Erika Reine also saw her driving habits change once she became a mom. “I tend to check my mirrors more with the little one in the car – and even when I don’t have him with me,” she said. Like Brigitte, Erika tries to avoid peak driving times to reduce the number of cars on the road. On average, car accidents tend to be more frequent on weekends when there are more people driving so trying to avoid these peaks can help keep you and your passengers safer.

“As a parent, you tend to mostly think of worst-case scenarios. And that mentality motivates me to do my part — drive at the speed limit, make sure my turn signals show my next move, and do my best to leave enough time so I don’t feel rushed,” Brigitte explained. Her changes in driving habits now help ensure the safety of herself, her family, and everyone on the road.

Metromile's Driving Insights
Metromile’s new Driving Insights feature is designed to help to encourage drivers to make better, safer decisions with tips personalized to their driving behavior and lifestyle.

Keep tabs on your driving

Whether you’re sending off a quick text, changing the music, or answering a call, distracted driving can increase your risk of getting into an accident. To employ better driving habits only use your phone prior to starting your drive and consider putting your phone on silent to reduce distractions. If a call or text needs to be urgently answered, safely pull over. Metromile customers can now monitor their own driving habits by using our new Driving Insights feature, which offers tips to help make better, safer decisions with tips personalized to an individual’s driving behavior and lifestyle.

Another way to improve your child’s safety is to limit your driving altogether. As Senior Communications Manager and parent Jeff explains, “the utility of driving is so high that we tolerate a level of danger we don’t elsewhere” so reducing the amount you drive can reduce the likelihood of your child getting hurt. Turn fewer car rides into an opportunity to spend more time walking or biking with your child and utilize public transportation where available as a safer, cheaper, and greener alternative to driving. 

Of course, you likely can’t eliminate driving from your daily routine altogether, but even taking one less drive a day can improve the safety of you, your family, and everyone on the road. Check out our blog post on alternatives to driving in a car for more ways to get around town.

What to know about child car seats

Aside from employing safer driving habits and reducing the amount you drive, you can also take steps to ensure your child is buckled up safely in accordance with their age, weight, and height.

As a new parent, Corporate Paralegal Tina is learning things every day but has already amassed a great deal of knowledge around child car seats. Her biggest takeaways so far are around the safety of the actual car seat you are buckling a child into. For example, Tina learned that car seats can actually expire and to be cautious of accepting a used, second-hand car seat. According to Safe Ride 4 Kids, car seats typically shouldn’t be used if they were previously involved in a car accident, even if a child was not in the car seat during the accident.

Through her parenting circles, she also found out about Target’s car seat trade-in program where people can recycle old, expired, or damaged car seats – as a bonus, you can get a 20% off coupon for select baby gear! 

As for installing a car seat, Tina suggests having a Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) initially install your car seat. “You can then uninstall and reinstall the car seat in front of them to ensure you do it correctly,” Tina advises. In addition to finding a CPST, Kids Safe Worldwide provides great educational materials on how to install a car seat along with other tips for keeping children safe in the car. 

Find Out More

If you’re looking for more ways to increase the safety of your child while in the car, there are endless resources available for new parents and caregivers. The United States Department of Transportation and Kids Safe Worldwide are great resources to begin with if you are looking for tips and advice on how to keep your child safe while on the road.

Baby on Board: Driving Safe With Kids in the Car

Driving in and of itself can be stressful (think: road rage, traffic jams, and the frustration of finding a good soundtrack), but add a young passenger into the mix, and the open road can suddenly feel like a war zone.

Whether you’re running errands with an infant or tooling around town with a niece or nephew, it’s important to know the ways to maximize safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among kids in the United States: In 2019, more than 600 children 12 and younger died in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 91,000 were injured.

Here are some tips for keeping kids protected in the car:

1. Know the Car Seat Rules. Laws vary from state to state, but based on the latest research, infants and toddlers should always ride in rear-facing backseat carriers until they’re at least two years old or reach the height and weight allowed by the seat manufacturer, according to organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. Once kids outgrow the rear-facing seat, they should then use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible (up to the highest weight or height indicated by the manufacturer). Never put a rear-facing seat in the front of the car — airbags can be deadly to young passengers.

2. Buckle Up the Right Way. Once kids outgrow the forward-facing seats, it’s time to upgrade to a belt-positioning booster until the car’s seat belt fits properly (usually when a kid reaches 4 feet 9 inches and is over the age of five). When kids are big enough for the seat belt to properly fit their frame, lap and shoulder belts are a must, and kids under 13 should stay in the back seat (again, airbags can cause fatal injuries to young children). Buckling up is critical at every stage of life, and it’s an essential rule to implement at an early age: according to the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, only 53 percent of high school students reported always wearing a safety belt when riding with someone else.

3. Eliminate All Distractions. This is seriously scary: one study found that 98 percent (!) of parents driving with a child report being preoccupied for nearly a third of the time they’re on the road. That’s no joke, especially when you consider the fact that distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,450 people in 2016 alone, according to the United States Department of Transportation (NHTSA). Put the phone far out of reach, familiarize yourself with the roads, and forget about primping in the rearview or snacking until you’re safely parked.

4. Pull Over To Deal With Must-Dos. Kids get fussy — it happens. But according to a poll from American Baby in partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, 55 percent of moms admit to driving above the speed limit in order to make it to daycare or to get home with their crying baby faster. Speeding up and driving hastily is only going to increase your risk for an accident. It’s better to pull over to deal with a mood meltdown and run late than push your luck by accelerating over the limit.

5. Always Stay Close. Leaving kids in the car is always a bad idea, even if you’re just running out for a quick minute. Children die every year from heatstroke — many of whom were left unattended in cars. Allowing children to play near a parked car should be a no-go too. If you’re backing out of the driveway, always take the time to circle your vehicle and make sure no children are in the vicinity and at risk of being hit.

Another important way to protect the whole family is to find a car insurance company that has your back. Visit metromile.com for a free quote today.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

8 Weekend Trips from San Francisco Less Than 100 Miles Away

If you live in San Francisco, you’re used to being near the water and enjoying beautiful views of the city. But sometimes you just need to get away for a change of scenery. Given the current Delta variant situation, it’s understandable if you’re not ready to board a plane but want to do something that can be done with a mini road trip. We’ve rounded up the 8 best weekend trips from San Francisco (or even just day trips from San Francisco) less than 100 miles away. 

1. Glen Ellen 

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

If you’re looking for weekend getaways in the Bay Area, you could go to the small town of Glen Ellen. The former home to author Jack London, the city also has a park of his namesake. It’s located in the Sonoma Valley, so you can enjoy wine and food in a quaint setting. If you want something besides wine, you can dine at the Glen Ellen Inn Grill & Martini Bar and get your fix of a dirty martini or martini with a twist (just no drinking and driving, obviously) while enjoying steak or seafood. You can find more info about Glen Ellen here.

Distance from SF: 50.2 miles

Length of time: 1 hour and 10 minutes one-way 

2. Sausalito 

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

If you’re looking for day trips from San Francisco, a place nearby that is charming and near the waterfront is the city of Sausalito. You can check out the Spaulding Marine center or the Bay Area Discovery Museum and go to the Seafood Peddler for dinner. You can find more info about Sausalito here.

Distance from SF: 11 miles 

Length of time: 26 minutes one-way 

3. Santa Cruz 

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

Santa Cruz has a famous boardwalk and is home to a lovely beach to catch some waves or dip your toes in the sand. The boardwalk has roller coasters and games for fun as well as restaurants and bars. On top of that, the city has a Surfing Museum as well. You can find more info about Santa Cruz here.

Distance from SF: 73.1 miles

Length of time: 1 hour and 16 minutes one-way 

4. The Muir Woods National Monument 

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

If you need a little forest therapy, get yourself to the Redwood forest at Muir Woods, a protected National Monument since 1908. You can be among majestic redwoods, which are considered the tallest living things in existence, and take advantage of six miles of trails. Be sure to grab a parking pass ahead of time at gomuirwoods.com. You can find more info about the Muir Woods National Monument here. 

Distance from SF: 16.8 miles

Length of time: 43 minutes one-way

5. Pescadero State beach 

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

If you’re looking to be near the water in a more secluded area that has dramatic views, consider Pescadero State beach. Pescadero is home to beautiful dunes as well as sandy coves and cliffs to explore. Nearby there’s also the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, a popular place for bird watchers. You can use eBird to track what you see and compare notes. You can find more info about Pescadero state beach here. 

Distance from SF: 47.9 miles

Length of time: 1 hour and 14 minutes one-way 

6. Point Reyes National Seashore

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

The Point Reyes National Seashore is a charming place to go when considering weekend trips from San Francisco. You can check out the elephant seals or go whale watching or simply go for a swim, a walk on the seashore, or even go kayaking. If you want some culinary delights and are a cheese lover, stop by Cowgirl Creamery or Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. You can find more info about Point Reyes National Seashore here. 

Distance from SF: 37.4 miles 

Length of time: 1 hour and 16 minutes one-way

7. Half Moon Bay 

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

Half Moon Bay is a lovely coastal city that also is home to a charming downtown area full of art galleries, music, restaurants, and historic buildings. If you go between May and December, stop by the Coastside Farmers Market on Saturday at Shoreline Station. You can also partake in beach activities like paddleboarding or kayaking or simply curl up with a good book on the beach while getting some sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!). You can find more info about Half Moon Bay here. 

Distance from SF: 29.6 miles 

Length of time: 40 minutes one-way

8. Guerneville

Weekend Getaways In the Bay Area | Metromile

Looking at weekend getaways near the Bay Area but want something a little different? Consider Guerneville, an unincorporated community nestled along the Russian River Valley. You could hang out near the river, go fishing, boating, and more. There’s a quirky downtown Guerneville area with shops, restaurants, and a market with a suggestive name called Big Bottom Market, which happens to be home to Oprah’s favorite biscuits. The city has also been an LGBTQ-friendly vacation spot for decades and is a gem for all travelers. You can find more info about Guerneville here. 

Distance from SF: 75 miles

Length of time: 1 hour and 43 minutes one-way

The bottom line 

If you’re looking for weekend trips from San Francisco or just day trips from San Francisco, these eight options offer you various choices depending on what you’re looking for. You can find peace in the woods, or healing near the water, or find some quirky charm in small-town cities nearby. 

If you live in San Francisco or in the surrounding areas, you might be considered a low-mileage driver. If you’re driving mostly on the weekends, check out your rate with pay-per-mile car insurance to see if you could save. 



Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

The Cost of Commuting is Higher Than You Think

Have you ever sat down and calculated your commute time or wondered how is my commute to work compared to others? Aside from what it might be costing you in time, there are other negative consequences from commuting than you realize. Read on to learn about the latest average commute time and why the cost of commuting is more expensive than you think. 

The Real Cost of Commuting | Metromile

Average commute time reaches its apex

The U.S. Census Bureau found in 2019 that one-way average commute time hit an all-time high of 27.6 minutes. That’s close to an hour of your day round-trip sitting in your car, using up gas as well as your time. That’s a total of five hours a week and about the same amount of time as a part-time job spent commuting each month. 

That’s a lot of time when you add it all up. If you’ve been thinking “How is my commute to work?” you also need to look beyond the time and consider other factors as well. 

The cost of commuting is high when it comes to your health

The cost of commuting isn’t just about the time you spend or the gas you use to get to and from work. It also has sweeping negative effects on your health.

1.  You’re not moving your body and getting much-needed exercise

For one thing, all the sitting doesn’t help your health outcomes or your waist. The USC Keck School of Medicine found that one round-trip commute of 30 miles increased obesity and waist size, which could increase the likelihood of getting diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. 

According to findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, commuters who drove more than 15 miles to go to work were less likely to adhere to moderate to vigorous exercise recommendations and were more likely to become obese. Additionally, according to an article for the School of Public Health at Harvard, having a large waist even if you’re not considered overweight can mean you’re at higher risk for negative health outcomes. 

2. You’re less likely to make or stick to your social plans.

Also, when you’re driving so much to get to and from work you may be less likely to go to social activities or hit the gym or an extracurricular activity. All of those things can positively impact your mental health and you might end up ditching them because they add time and resources onto your day due to the cost of commuting. 

3. Your sleep and stress responses are disrupted. 

On top of that, sleep may be tougher to come by with long commute times. One study found that longer commute times led to more disturbed sleeping patterns, such as waking up in the middle of the night, or having trouble falling or staying asleep. ‘Disturbed sleeping’ was defined as experiencing one or more sleep issues three to four times a week. 

If you have long commute times, you may have to wake up earlier to get ready and out of the door, ultimately sacrificing the amount and quality of your sleep. In fact, one study found that a third of commuting time took away from sleep time. All of that can lead to more stress and spiked cortisol, creating a negative feedback loop when it comes to your physical and mental health. 

4. You’re experiencing air pollution at higher rates.

You’ll also have a higher likelihood of being exposed to air pollutants while commuting which could lead to more respiratory issues (not-so-great during a pandemic with a virus that largely affects the lungs). Being surrounded by so many cars and potentially sitting in stop-and-go traffic won’t help.

The overall cost of commuting is financially steep

The average commute time has already hit an all-time high, but the financial costs of commuting are high as well. Here are other common costs to consider when commuting.

1.  Buying a car and maintaining a car comes with a lot of expenses.

Buying or leasing a car costs money upfront or you have to take on auto financing and commit to monthly payments and paying interest for years. You also have to pay for gas, oil changes, tire repairs, and any other maintenance costs. Business Insider reported that commuters spend between $2,000 to $5,000 each year on transportation costs related to commuting. 

2. Time is a non-renewable resource that you can’t get back and commuting has indirect financial costs.

 We’ve reviewed the direct financial costs of commuting, but time is also money and is a non-renewable resource. You can make more money but can’t make more time. The time you spend on commuting can mean working less, having less time for yourself, your family, or your hobbies. That can lead to indirect financial costs like eating out more, grabbing coffee on-the-go, wasted gym memberships and more. 

3. The environmental cost of commuting is fueling climate change (pun intended).

More commuters on the road driving to work means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. More greenhouse gas emissions have a direct impact on the environment, making the climate change crisis more dire. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the transportation sector is the biggest culprit, accounting for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. You can also consider electric cars to lessen the environmental impact. 

The bottom line

You might think that the cost of commuting is just the amount of time you spend in your car. But the real cost is much higher than you think, affecting everything from your physical and mental health to your social life and the environment. If possible, see if you can work from home or cut down on how often you commute. 

If you do that, you may be considered a low-mileage driver and benefit from pay-per-mile auto insurance. Simply pay an affordable base rate and a few cents for the miles you drive. Many drivers are able to lower their costs and save! Grab a free quote from Metromile to review your potential savings. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What to know about income taxes if you worked from home in 2020

If you’re one of the millions of people who began working from home last year due to Covid-19, you may be wondering whether you can deduct work-related expenses from your income taxes. Maybe you outfitted your living room with a fancy desk and comfy chair, upgraded your wifi, bought better lighting for all your Zoom calls, and watched your utility bill rise — can you write-off those expenses and, even better, part of your home?

Working From Home Tax Deductions: A Primer | Metromile

While you probably won’t be able to write off many work-related expenses if you’re a salaried employee, you may be able to take advantage of a few deductions if you’re self-employed. Here’s everything you need to know:

Can I write-off work-related expenses from my taxes if I worked from home?

Unfortunately, if you accumulate expenses such as office furniture and other tools for your work as a salaried employee, you probably won’t be able to write them off. In the past, you could deduct unreimbursed expenses that exceeded 2% of your adjusted gross income, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 paused these deductions until the end of 2025.

The good news is if you’re an employee in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, or Pennsylvania, you may be able to deduct home office expenses on your state return.

Additionally, if you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, you can still deduct “ordinary and necessary” expenses related to your business. (That’s a fancy way of saying expenses that are helpful and make sense for your profession, such as internet service, office supplies, office furniture, marketing costs, business travel, and work-related meals.)

Can I claim the home office tax deduction if I worked from home?

The home office deduction lets you reduce your tax obligation by claiming part of your home as a business expense.

If you have a home office and use it for your job as a salaried employee, you sadly can’t take advantage of this deduction. The IRS explicitly states that “employees who receive a paycheck or a W-2 exclusively from an employer are not eligible for the deduction, even if they are currently working from home.”

However, if you run your own business, have a side hustle, or do contract or gig work, you may be able to claim the home office tax deduction if your home is your principal place of business and your home office is regularly and exclusively used for work.

This means if you work in your spare bedroom during the week and let your friends crash in that room whenever they’re in town, for example, you wouldn’t be able to deduct that room. Similarly, if you work and eat at your dining room table, you can’t deduct that area, either.

There are two ways you can calculate your home office deduction (if you’re eligible for it):

  • Simplified method: You can deduct $5 per square foot of your home used for business purposes (up to 300 square feet, or $1,500).

Regular method: You can deduct the percent of your home used for business purposes from qualified home-related expenses, such as utilities, property taxes, rent, insurance, maintenance, and mortgage interest. This method may allow you to claim a larger deduction than with the simplified method, but it’s more complicated to calculate, so make sure you keep good records and do the math correctly (or hire an accountant).

What work expenses can I write off if I work from home?

In short, if you’re a salaried employee, you can’t claim a deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses unless you have certain qualified educator expenses or fall into one of these categories specified by the IRS:

  • Armed Forces reservists
  • Qualified performing artists
  • Fee-basis state or local government officials
  • Employees with impairment-related work expenses

If you fall into one of those categories, you can deduct ordinary and necessary unreimbursed employee expenses incurred during the tax year. Qualified teachers can also deduct up to $250 for unreimbursed work expenses.

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While it may feel unfair that most salaried employees can’t take advantage of these deductions, keep in mind that self-employed individuals also usually have to pay self-employment tax on their net earnings in addition to their regular income tax.

Did COVID-19 change how I should file my 2020 taxes if I worked from home?

No. While many people worked from home in 2020, the government hasn’t passed any special federal tax breaks or work from home tax deductions.

The bottom line

While you may not be able to take many work from home tax deductions if your employer made you work from home during the pandemic, you may be able to save money in other ways.

If you’re continuing to work from home and don’t need to commute to the office for the foreseeable future, for example, switching to pay per mile car insurance—such as through Metromile—can be a quick and easy way to cut costs. According to a 2018 survey of new Metromile customers who saved, drivers can save $741 a year without sacrificing their coverage or experience. Get a free quote to estimate how much you could save today.

You Could Potentially Save over $7000 by Working from Home

The pandemic brought major shifts to the workplace as droves of employees began working from home for the first time. Working from home or getting a remote work position is more possible than ever. The good news is that working from home can save you a good chunk of change, too. If you’ve wondered how much money you can save working from home, we break down some numbers for you but it could be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

1. Lower car insurance rates

Working from home means driving less. If you drive less, you’re at less risk and therefore your car insurance rates may drop. During the pandemic, many major car insurance providers cut their premiums. 

But there’s a better way to lower car insurance rates when working from home and that is through pay-per-mile insurance. Using pay-per-mile auto insurance, a type of usage-based insurance, you’re only responsible for paying a low base rate and several cents for every mile you drive. 
 
On average, Metromile customers have saved $741* per year making the switch, based on survey data from new customers in 2018. You can take a look at your options, but working from home and driving less should mean lower car insurance rates as well.

2. Drop in commuting costs

Working from home means paying less in other commuting costs as well. In addition to lower car insurance rates, you can reduce costs for the following. 

  • Public transportation. Instead of paying the fares for the bus or metro to get to and from work, you can now pocket that cash. In fact, close to half of the commuters in the U.S. reported using public transportation less due to the pandemic. An unlimited metro card in New York City costs $127 per month. Forgoing the unlimited metro card for a year would save you $1,524 per year. Cost-per-ride is $2.75. Let’s say you still needed to take three round-trip rides per week for a year. That would be $858, still saving you money. Many cities have fairly comparable rates, so eliminating this cost or only riding part-time you stand to save a lot of money. 
  • Gas. Right now gas prices are on the rise and can add a lot to commuting costs. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Price Index Summary, the gasoline index increased a whopping 41.8% since July 2020. When you work from home, you can save a lot by filling up your tank less often than you normally would when driving to work every day. A Marketwatch article from 2018 estimates saving $444 in gas per year working from home full-time. 
  • Car maintenance. The more you drive, the more wear and tear there is on your vehicle. There’s no way around that. But driving less by working from home can lead to fewer repairs or car maintenance issues. For example, you may need to get less frequent oil changes, fewer repairs, and have less likelihood of an accident. Let’s say you drove a lot before and got an oil change every three months. You may be able to cut back to twice a year, instead of four times a year, effectively saving you around $120 per year.
  • Ridesharing costs. There’s a surge in ridesharing costs right now, so if you previously took Uber or Lyft to work you’re saving money by working from home. Statista has data for average ridesharing costs as of 2018, and New York commuters spent $84 per month. That would be $1,008 saved each year by cutting this cost out.

3. Not shopping as much

When you work in an office, you need to adhere to the dress code. That may mean buying suits, slacks, ties, dresses, jumpsuits, or whatever is appropriate for your workplace. Those clothes may not be cheap and caring for them with dry cleaning can add up. 

Women in particular may spend more money on makeup, nails, and hair to keep up appearances. Working from home can reduce some of those costs. Of course, you still need to wear clothes to work from home, but you may not have to wear the same things you’d wear every day at the office or pay as much for the care and cleaning of these items. A Marketwatch analysis estimates women save $400 per year working from home.

4. Dining out less

When you commute to work, sometimes you create rituals as part of the process or simply out of convenience. For example, you may hit up the local coffee shop on your way to work or dine out for lunch or get snacks on the go. A 2015 survey from Visa found that people spent an average of $2,746 on lunch each year. 

If you come home tired from a long day, you might order take-out. All of these costs can add up fast. When you work from home, you have more time freedom and can have more energy saved from not commuting. That can mean having slower mornings making your own coffee versus rushing out of the door and grabbing one on the way.

5. May be able to write off some things for taxes

If you’re a remote worker and are self-employed, you could be eligible to write off many parts of your home office. For example, the technology required for your office could be considered a business deduction. You could potentially write off a portion of your home office. It’s possible to write off $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet, for a maximum of $1,500. Deductions reduce the amount you owe in taxes, but unlike credits, aren’t dollar-for-dollar. How much money that saves you depends on your tax bracket and income but let’s say you’re in the 15% tax bracket, you could save $225 per year.

Unfortunately, employees who work full-time from home aren’t eligible for the home office deduction. If you had a side hustle from home part of the time that may make you eligible. Whether you’re self-employed or an employee, any tax questions should be sent to a professional tax specialist who can help you with your particular situation.

6. Turning your home or the outdoors into your gym

Many gyms closed their doors during the pandemic. According to a 2021 Finder.com survey, 1.3 billion dollars is spent on unused gym memberships. During this time, you may have turned to your home or the great outdoors to be your gym. 

Instead of pricey memberships, contracts, and something that is a hassle-to-cancel, you could save money by ditching the gym and opting to work out from home or outside. For example, you could do bodyweight exercises at home or if you have weights or bands, can use them to get a workout in. You can also go biking, running, or hiking outdoors to break a sweat. According to RunRepeat.com, the average gym membership is $507 for the first year and $479 for the second. Ditching the gym for your home gym or opting to move outside could save you up to $507 per year.

The bottom line 

If you’ve ever been curious and thought just how much money do you save working from home, now you know it can be a lot. That number can vary depending on your lifestyle and cost of living but given the numbers mentioned above, you could stand to save up to $7,715/year. Being able to work from home can lead to a number of reduced expenses, fewer options and temptations to spend, as well as lead to more time and energy. As part of lowering your costs while working from home, see how much you stand to save by switching to pay-per-mile insurance.

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Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.