The daily grind at the office may be your main source of income, but it also comes with hidden costs. Take-out lunches, coffee breaks, and professional clothes are expenses that chip away at your pay check while you’re earning the next one. If you want to waste less money on the job, here are the best ways to rein in your spending.
Brown Bag Your Lunch
When the clock strikes noon, you head out of the building to the nearest fast food place for a quick lunch. According to the writers at Health, the average takeout lunch costs $10 — this means you spend $50 a week and $2,400 a year on this daily habit. If you decide to skip the fast food counter for a nicer sit-down restaurant, the costs will be higher.
A lot of people avoid bringing lunch to work because it requires food prep in the morning. If you’re one of them, try this: on the weekend, buy easy-to-pack supplies for the week, like sandwich ingredients or pre-made salad mixes so you cut down the work you need to do. And if you cook a large dinner during the week, shove the leftovers into a Tupperware and bring that for lunch the next day.
Don’t Go Out For Coffee
When you’re feeling the afternoon slump and you need a caffeine boost, you head out of the office to the nearest coffee shop to get a cup to-go. It only costs a few bucks, which doesn’t feel like a big deal at the time, but the costs will chisel away at your bank account.
Since it’s such a popular coffee chain, you can use Starbucks drink prices to look at the costs of buying a coffee-to-go every single day.
A tall cup of black coffee from the chain only costs $1.85, so the daily habit adds up to $675.25 in a year.
A tall caffe latte is $2.95, so the same habit jumps to $1,076 in a year.
One of the most expensive drinks on their menu, a venti caramel macchiato, is $4.75 and rings in a total of $1,733.75 in a year. If you get two macchiatos per day, you’d be spending $3,467.50.
You can save even more money by opting for the coffee at your workplace. It’s often free of charge, so you can have as much as you want without feeling the impact on your wallet. If you’re dealing with some terrible office coffee and you can’t bear to drink it, you should bring your own to the office.
The experts at Business Insider report that making your own coffee costs you an average of 16 to 18 cents per cup, adding up to an estimated cost of $45 a year. If you don’t want to take over the office kitchenette’s only coffee pot, here are some easy options for you to try:
- Bring ground beans and a French press
- Bring ground beans and a pour-over coffee maker
- Make cold brew at home and store it in the office fridge for the week
Be Frugal About Your Wardrobe
It’s true that your wardrobe doesn’t have to cost a lot, but there will be pressure to put more money into your clothes when you work in an office. If you want to build your work wardrobe but you’re worried about your wallet, there are tricks that you can follow to shrink the overall costs.
MoneyKey’s guide for creating a frugal but fashionable professional wardrobe recommends that workers prioritize fundamentals like suit jackets and trousers. Smaller elements like blouses, stockings, and accessories can be picked from the bargain bin. After all, no one will be biting on your bracelet to check if it’s made of real gold.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough money on hand for a fundamental piece, you can sell clothing that you don’t want in consignment stores or online. It’s also a convenient way to put some extra money aside for a rainy-day fund in case unforeseen expenses crop up, like a pipe freezing in your home or a stalling car.
Without a rainy-day fund, covering these emergencies will be hard on your own. Other people in the same position often turn to lenders like MoneyKey for quick online loans. The online application process is straightforward and can get you results in a flash. You can have the application approved and the payday loan you need in your account in only one business day.
Going to work should make you feel more confident about your financial situation, not less. You want to come home assured that your earnings are taking care of your essentials. Changing your spending habits around coffee breaks, lunch orders, and work clothes will help you stretch your pay checks as much as you possibly can.