Looking for ways to spend less while you earn? From transport to lunches and colleagues’ birthdays, work-associated spending can soon add up.
Many of us have saved in the last 18 months whilst working from home, but with offices reopening, we’ve looked at the best ways to keep your office-related costs down.
Our tip can help you save up to £1,514 per year - that's £126 per month!
1 – Ditch takeaway coffees and save £410 per year
Research from thinkmoney reveals the average takeaway coffee costs £2.63, so should you purchase three cups per week, this amounts to a staggering £410.28 per year.
Instead, try to take advantage of the coffee and tea-making facilities in your office, which are often free. If your office doesn’t provide this service, why not set up a kitty for a cafetière, and chip in for some decent ground coffee together.
2 - Walk, cycle or run to work
Better yet, can you turn your commute into exercise? Walking, running or riding a bike to work will burn calories instead of cash, proving to be a much more cost-effective commute than taking your car.
Try to keep the costs down with equipment until you’re decided. There’s no point in shelling out a few hundred quid for a bike, for example, if you decide cycling is not for you. Could you borrow a bike for a week or purchase a secondhand model?
3 – Make the most of flexi transport tickets
Use public transport? Chances are if you can save some cash if you purchase a flexi ticket. Pre-pandemic, many Brits would purchase a weekly or monthly ticket from their transport operator.
However, now that many Brits are following a hybrid working pattern, which means some days are spent working from home and some in the office, a full weekly or monthly pass may no longer be required.
Instead, many rail and bus operators are offering flexi tickets. These allow you to purchase a block booking of day/return tickets, which can then be used across a set period. For example, Stagecoach allows you to purchase 10-day tickets for the price of seven days (30% off), which can be used within the space of 12 months.
4 - Suggest a fairer policy for birthdays and other gifts
A recent study found that we spend close to £1,700 a year whilst working in an office. One of the top complaints is feeling the pressure to contribute towards birthday gifts and other presents.
Whilst you can always opt-out of these, it might pay to have a bigger conversation with your colleagues about an agreeable policy for everyone – you’re unlikely to be the only one feeling the strain!
Perhaps birthday presents could just be for milestones and charity donations be anonymous only.
5 - Bring in your lunch, and save an average of £948 per year
The office canteen can be convenient, but unless it’s free or heavily subsidised, the likelihood is that it costs you more than the alternatives. And eating out at lunch? That will rarely be cheap.
In fact, research has uncovered that the average lunch costs £6.08, which amounts to a staggering £948.48 should you eat out three lunches per week.
The answer is simple and likely a suggestion you’ve heard before: bring in your own food. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming though, you could bring in leftovers from the previous evening (or purposefully cook enough to cover lunch the next day).
Prepping salads at home, or making your sandwiches, are also cheaper than store-bought alternatives. And to add to the savings, if you’re making five extra meals per week from home, bulk purchases of your ingredients will also be cheaper than buying smaller batches.
Fancy budget eating alongside a health kick? Check out 10 ways to eat well on a budget.
6 - Drink water
Whether it’s a caffeine kick or a can of pop, your drink of choice can be expensive. Tap water isn’t.
Try replacing your desktop drink with a glass of water. If you have a portable bottle, you can take that with you for your lunch as well.
7 - Be smart about snacks
Find yourself needing a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Whether nipping out to a shop or raiding the vending machine, even spending an extra £1 a day, three days per week, amounts to £156 per year.
You’ll save money if you bring in your own - especially if you buy multipacks in a supermarket and then stash a week’s worth in your desk drawers.
8 - Stop spending on your lunch
An hour away from your desk is great for the mind, but it can lead you down the route of impulse spending. As well as buying your lunch, nipping to shops for a browse can lead to purchases you may not need.
Could you go for a walk elsewhere – like to a park, the library or a local (free) museum?
9 - Make the most of your perks
As well as a salary, many jobs come with added perks. If you work in the entertainment industry, it could be free entrance to events. Other employers may offer generous pensions, store discounts or childcare contributions. Whatever they are, make the most of them – many people aren’t even aware of these extra benefits.
10 - Use the office to shower
Now nobody wants to stand next to someone with poor hygiene first thing on their commute, but if your work has top-notch shower facilities, consider using them. This is super handy if you do decide to run or cycle to your workplace.
If you drive and regularly hit rush-hour, perhaps you could leave a little early and freshen up at work too – a great way to avoid those stressful traffic jams!
In debt? Could you use the money you save at work to help you get out of it? If so try out different ways to get out of debt faster.
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