Even though the whole point of going to work is to MAKE money, it’s extremely easy to SPEND a substantial amount of your hard-earned cash on work-related expenses. We’re not talking about clothes or office supplies, here. We’re talking about morning (and possibly afternoon) Starbucks trips, $10 lunches, and trips to the company vending machine for sugary afternoon pick-me-ups. All of these things can add up to a substantial amount of spending over the course of a week. With a little pre-planning on your part, you can avoid these typical work-week expenses and stretch that hard-earned paycheck a little bit further!
If you spend $4 a day on coffee at your local coffee shop, you’re shelling out $20 per work-week to support your caffeine habit. In a year’s time, this adds up to over $1,000! Instead of stopping at the closest drive-thru or coffee house on your way to work, consider taking the extra time to brew your own coffee at home in the morning. If you’re not a morning person, and don’t want to worry about any additional responsibility in the AM, consider starting a “coffee club” at work. Find a group of fellow coffee lovers in your office, and pool your funds to purchase a Keurig or traditional coffee pot to keep at your workplace. Then, simply set up a schedule detailing who has coffee brewing duties on which day. You’ll also need to decide how to go about purchasing the coffee itself. You can either take turns buying or just collect money from the members of the group when your supply is running low. Once you get the club up and running, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh coffee every day at work while significantly cutting your coffee spending. As an added bonus, you’ll strengthen your relationships with your fellow coffee-loving club members!
Let’s face it, if you’re not going to spend extra time to make coffee in the morning, you’re probably not going to make a brown-bag lunch, either! The good news is, unlike coffee (which is better brewed fresh,) you can put together your work-day lunch the night before so that you don’t have to worry about doing it in the morning. Make a habit of allocating a few minutes after dinner to pack up leftovers for reheating the following day at work. Or, if you’d prefer, prepare a simple sandwich, bag it up, and throw it in the fridge. Set a reminder in your phone, or leave yourself a note so that you don’t forget to grab your lunch as you head out the door in the morning. If you’re fortunate enough to work in an office with a shared fridge or pantry space, grab a few groceries to keep at work the next time you go shopping.
Vending Machine Trips
Most workers have somewhat of a “love/hate relationship” with the company vending machine. It’s nice to be able to stretch your legs and go grab an afternoon snack, but those overpriced Snickers bars sure do add up! Plus, the energy boost from a sugary snack is usually a very short-lived experience. You’ll come down from your sugar high in a couple of hours and be even more lethargic than you were before your vending machine adventure. Instead, bring a bag of almonds to keep at your desk or in your company locker. They’re a great source of healthy fat and protein to help you power through the rest of the workday. Dry cereal is also another great option for an afternoon office snack. Cereal like bran flakes will slowly release glucose in your bloodstream, which minimizes blood sugar swings and optimizes brainpower and mental focus.
By taking the time to properly plan out your workweek coffee, meals, and snacks, you’ll save money and have fewer decisions to make throughout the day. Most importantly, you’ll have more time and resources to tackle the rest of your week.