Going to work is essential for most people and the expense that goes with it seems to be ignored or justified as essential. Just by making a few changes to your week you could find yourself with more money to enjoy at the weekend or to put towards something else each month.
Getting to work
A lot of people go on autopilot every morning and leave the house and jump straight in the car. You have to ask yourself, with fuel prices continually rising, is this the most economical way to get to work, especially if you have to pay for parking?
By looking at alternatives you might find a more suitable way of getting to work and in some instances you can use it as a way to get fit thus saving money on those extortionate gym fees.
If you live close enough you could invest in a decent pair of trainers and walk to work each day, not only would this be one of the best money saving ideas but you would also see your fitness levels increase
As with walking, if you live close enough, why not get your bike out and cycle in each day, an ideal way to save money and get fit!
Whilst this might not seem the ideal way to save money, it might save you a little especially if you have parking fee’s to pay. Look at the options available and do some calculations to see if getting the bus or train would be cheaper. If you have a little walk each end just think of the calories you will burn each day. Most city and town centres have dedicated bus lanes making your journey slightly quicker than having to sit in traffic every morning and evening. Some forms of transport allow you to take your bike on board enabling you to cycle the last bit of the journey.
If you live close to colleagues then look at car sharing, not only will this give you someone to chat to, it will also mean you only drive in to work and pay for parking every other week reducing your monthly fuel bill. If there are more than 2 of you, you could find you only drive once a month! Have a word around the office or put a notice on the staff information board. Some companies reserve parking spaces for people who car share.
Dependant on the time you leave the house you might buy your breakfast on the way to work or once you arrive, especially if you have a sandwich van delivering in the morning. Over the next week add up everything you spend on food during the week whilst at work – you will be surprised at how much it comes to over a month and worse still, over a year.
The average sandwich from a van comes to about £2.50, so if you buy just one a day with crisps and a drink you could easily be looking at spending around £17.50 per week, £70 per month. If you buy a breakfast roll along with your lunch then that figure will be more than £100 per month. Why not be prepared and make your lunchtime sandwich the night before, and take a cereal bar or yogurt and piece of fruit for breakfast. Alternatively you could be even more prepared and make them at the weekend for the whole week and pop them in the freezer, either get them out the night before or as you leave for work and they will be defrosted by lunch time, unfortunately you have to be careful and make sure your filling can be frozen.
Breakfast time can be even easier, if you like cereal then you are onto a winner as you can buy a box during your normal shop. If you work place has a fridge then you can store the milk in there or take it in a flask to keep cool. Check out to see what kitchen facilities and utensils are available at your place of work, if there aren’t any then think outside the box, take your own crockery and cutlery in, and use plastic storage tubs, cool bags and flasks. Flasks are fab as they work for both hot and cold liquid. Make yourself some soup at the weekend and take some in a flask each day making a nice hearty warm lunch, perfect for those cold winter days. If you have a microwave at work, then there is so much more choice – take in home cooked meals that just need warming up, jacket potatoes, ready meals, porridge, scrambled eggs, the list goes on…
Eating out at lunchtime can work out very expensive, even if you go for the cheapest option you could still find yourself spending at least £10 a time. Do that twice a week and you are looking at £80 per month plus the food you buy on the other days. Try eating out once a week. Friday’s are perfect for pub lunches and if you want to be even more careful but not miss out why not make your own sandwiches and just have a drink or limit yourself to one lunch out a month.
Coffee shops have become very popular over the past few years and most mornings you will see queues of people waiting for their first cup of the day. On average, according to one of the leading coffee shop executives, the average consumer spends around £3.50 each morning on their caffeine or tea fix, making £17.50 per week or £70 a month in just coffees alone. A jar of decent coffee from your local supermarket costs around £5 and would last you a couple of weeks! Invest in a flask or travel mug, and make yourself a brew just before you leave the house giving you your early morning fix on the train, bus or in the car or have it when you get to work. If your office has a coffee machine take advantage of it, even if you have to pay it will be considerably less than a coffee shop. Alternatively if there is somewhere to boil a kettle simply keep a jar of coffee or box of tea bags in your drawer and make your own – dried milk is better than it used to be so give it a go! Alternatively purchase some UHT milk cartons, the kind you get in some restaurants as they don’t need to be chilled and are just the right size for your cuppa.
This is one of the most controversial topics within the work place. Just by remembering a few simple golden rules can save you money in the long run.
Understand the company’s dress code. You might not think there is one but your HR department will be able to advise. Don’t try and out do everyone else, it’s not a competition to see who has the latest trends and styles, most workplaces will not appreciate you turning up as if you are off to a nightclub or the beach on sunny a hot day. Smart casual doesn’t mean fully suited and booted so do not feel you have to go and purchase 5 suits plus matching accessories for the week.
You can never go wrong with dark trousers or skirts, especially black or navy as they go with everything. A couple of pairs will last you the week if you are careful and just get tops, shirts and jumpers to go with them. Buying layers is always a good idea as office air-conditioning is never to everyone’s temperature – if you wear layers it’s easier for you to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Try to keep your work and weekend wardrobes separate so you don’t get bored with wearing the same outfits all the time. Shop cleverly – there always seems to be a sale on in one outlet or another throughout the year where you can stock up on your work wardrobe. Retailers like Moss Bros, Miss Selfridge, Debenhams, John Lewis and New Look have a fantastic selection of clothing perfect for the office.
Supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and ASDA have great ranges of clothing, usually at lower prices than the High Street. The quality may not be as good, but the prices are excellent, giving you the ability to update your wardrobe on a more regular basis. You don’t have to spend a fortune to look good and stylish in the work place.
After work drinks
After a long day at work the temptation to pop to the local pub might be too hard to refuse. But have you thought how much this could be costing, not to mention running the risk of being slightly over the limit driving home.
The temptation for those working in city or town centres, and those using public transport is greater than for someone who has to drive home or it’s a bit of a trek to the local pub. Why not keep the pub for one night a week instead. These days you’ll be lucky to get two alcoholic drinks for £10 – it will soon mount up. Going in rounds can work out costly especially if you decide to have something non-alcoholic, or will only be having one or two, while everyone else is drinking.
Saving money through the week can be easy if you recognise where your money goes, our best suggestion is to keep a diary of everything you spend during the week or month and see where you can make savings. Simple savings can be made just by saving £3.50 per day giving you a saving of £70 a month for you to spend on other important things like household bills, or saving for a rainy day or special treat.
Article By: Jacqueline Wilson