Our office is considered as a second home for many of us. It is our home away from home as we spend a significant amount of our daily lives to work inside the four walls of our rooms and cubicles in the office.
Being frugal in the office is quite hard especially if you are under social pressure from your office mates who constantly invite you to dine in expensive restaurants or order expensive coffee from a nearby coffee shop for your ‘coffee habit’. Most of us don’t want to be known in the office as the office cheapskate. The one who rarely spends money dining out but is always the first one in line if there’s any free food. The guy who conveniently forgets his wallet when it is his turn to buy coffee for the team. However, with the right self-discipline, you can always stay within your budget. Here are some tips on how to be frugal in the office:
Pay yourself first. Forget about planning where to spend your next salary and start thinking about how to save it. Most employees are already planning what to buy or where to go even before they received their salary. These kind of employees are doomed to work for the rest of their lives. Instead of planning to spend, why not plan on how to save and retire early? Every time you receive your salary, pay yourself first by separating a portion of your salary into savings, ideally at least 20%, before you spend. Always use the equation Income less Savings equals Expenses.
Take public transportation. Going to work is one of the daily struggles of a typical office worker especially with the traffic in the metro. Instead of taking your car to go to work, take public transportation. You can save on parking fees and gasoline expenses. Nowadays, there are a lot of air-conditioned public vehicles which is more comfortable to ride at a fraction of a cost. Make some research to find out the cheapest and most convenient route. You may need to wake up early so you can get a ride early and not be late in the office. Alternatively, you can also ask your office mates or make some research online if there are any carpool services being offered in your location.
Bring packed meals. Eating out is definitely a drain on your budget. Instead, cook more at home and bring packed meals to eat in the office. Aside from the guaranteed freshness of your food since you’re the one who prepared for it, you will also save a lot of money since food is one of the biggest expenses of an office worker.
Go for water. Occasionally, you may need to give in to your office colleagues’ invitation to dine in at restaurants for camaraderie. Instead of ordering soda, juice, iced tea or any beverage, consider getting service water as your drinks. Flavored beverages are mostly full of sugars that may just add unhealthy fat to your body. In addition, you just excrete these beverages through your urine shortly after a few hours.
Give up on bad habits. Some employees have a ‘bad habit’ of buying expensive coffees from Starbucks for their coffee breaks. If you are one of them, consider cutting this habit. With the cost of Starbucks coffee equivalent to a full meal already, you are better off buying a full meal than spending your money on a single cup of coffee.
Other bad habits that should be cut are smoking and drinking alcohol. Aside from the money that you can save from these vices, you can also save your health.
Share costs with a room mate. If you are renting your place, consider getting a roommate. This will cut down on your rental costs dramatically. For the most benefit, ask your roommate to split all bills with you, including electricity and water. In this way, they will also be mindful about their usage.
Look for bargains. If you work in a business dress setting, there may be expectations about how you look that will require you to invest some amount of money in the clothes you wear in the office. Search for sale at your major retailers in the malls or visit your nearby thrift stores to get savings when buying clothes. It does not have to be the expensive brands as long as it fits you well.
Frugality is no doubt the foundation of wealth. If you can’t save money, don’t expect to become wealthy. No matter how huge your income is, if it all goes to expenses, you will end up being broke.