It can be kind of annoying how much money we have to spend just to go to work. I mean, surely that’s defeating the purpose of actually going? All those lunches and after-work drinks eat into your hard earned wages at the end of the month, and unless you’re one of those lucky, lucky sods with an expense account, it’ll all add up. SO, I’ve come up with a few tips for how to save money at work.
Now, I don’t intend for you to follow every single one (although by all means, feel free), rather, pick your poison. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on a big promotion because you went straight home on Friday, and missed the tequila slammer competition, the winner of which bagged a pay rise. So, pick and choose or alternate your bad habits from month to month so that no one realises that you’re the Work Scrooge. If you already are the Work Scrooge, I say own it. Your colleagues are just jealous.
1 – Travel
Do you reeeeally need to drive to work? Could you walk, even if it’s just once a week? Obviously, a lot of people will be saying ‘oh yes, Caroline, I’d love nothing more than a quick jaunt down the M5 of a Friday; the possibility of being squished by an 18-wheeler truly keeps me on the ball’. I don’t mean you. I mean those of us that can’t be bothered to elbow their way past pedestrians and find it easier to hop into the car. As well as petrol costs, lots of short journeys are not good for your car’s engine D:
Also, if you don’t hate your colleagues, consider car pooling.
2 – Coffee
I’m lucky enough to work somewhere where coffee is literally on tap. I make coffee, serve coffee and drink coffee. I don’t have a cheeky Starbucks habit, but I’m sure if I worked in an office it would be a daily battle of wills to drag myself away. The fact remains though, you can make it yourself. Have a cup before you go. OR buy it from a greasy spoon, where it’ll taste fine and be a lump cheaper.
3 – Lunch
Ideally, work somewhere where you get your lunch for free. There’s always the option of taking your own, but that’s no fun is it? If you can be bothered, I’d recommend taking leftovers, like couscous, and whack a bit of feta or hummus or such in there. Cup-a-soups are always an option, I suppose. I’d definitely stay away from Pret, delicious as it may be (the brie, cranberry and pistachio sandwich is amazeballs), and go for an independent shop – you tend to get way more bang for your buck. Those unfancy sandwich shops that pack enough salad into a bread roll to feed a small country are the sort of thing you should be looking for. If anyone questions you, say you’re all about helping out independent businesses. Which you are, obvs.
4 – Drinks
I once (ok, for about a year) fell into the after-work-drink extravaganza. Ooo I wasted a lot of money. We tended to go on a Thursday night, even though we usually finished around half ten. We’d stay out till half 3 because we were morons and spend Friday wanting to die. Once memorable time we went out on Friday instead, and had made drunken plans to go on Saturday night too. We begrudgingly shared a bottle of prosecco on Saturday, but then the landlady kindly gave us another bottle. We managed to drink it, but the tradition stopped immediately.
Try not to make it a regular thing – monthly is fine, weekly not so much. Buy a bottle of wine – then no one will make you do shots. Grab some soda to mix with it and try to make it last all night.
You could drink soft drinks…but I really can’t offer any advice on that.
5 – Work from home?
Your commute will be mega cheap. Obvs not an option for a lot of people, but if you can, it’ll save you money (so long as you don’t turn all the heating and lights on).
6 – Clothes
If you don’t have a uniform go for a capsule wardrobe. That way, if people notice that you’re always wearing the same thing, you’ll seem trendy and minimalist, rather than cheap. Also, don’t convince yourself that you need designer clothes for work when in fact you just want them. There’s no point spending £100 on a pair of plain black trousers (although tbh they’re a nightmare to find in a good fit, amiright?) when you can get some for £50. Also, don’t buy heels for work when you know you’re going to be on your feet all day – think realistically about your choices. It might also be worth looking into any cash back the company’ll give you on your work clothes, or if you can claim tax back on your uniform. Worth a try!
7 – Being sneaky
You know the stuff. Charge your phone at work. Use their envelopes and staples. Nothing big – there’s a fine line between using the facilities and downright theft. But, you know, if someone has a birthday you can fill up on cake and just have a snack for tea.
Ok, just to clarify: I’m not saying that you can never get a flat white again, or to ditch your internet in favour of work’s wifi, rather pointing out things at work that could potentially end up costing you a small fortune that you might not be aware of. Not going out for drinks this week? Treat yourself to a cappuccino. Cycling rather than driving? GO to Carluccios for lunch. You get the idea. Strike a balance.
If you’re interested in link parties, these are the two I use the most. Love love love. Give them a read!