For nearly all of us we go to work to earn money, some of us enjoy our work of which I count myself and some of us hate it (also been there), but either way we’re there for one purpose and that is to earn money so we can spend it on things like mayonnaise, cat jumpers and every single piece of Thundercats memorabilia you can get your hands on.
The thing is though, that we all see this as purely earning time rather than spending so it’s easy to overlook how much you’re spending on things like….
I hate driving, so I’m quite pleased that I can easily get public transport to work, it’s also pretty cost effective opposed to driving at £40 a month for a monthly pass. Not only is the cost of fuel increasing at an alarming rate, but the added mileage will cost you more on your insurance (if you’re honest) and increase the need for more frequent maintenance.
Now, I’m aware that commuting isn’t an option for all people for various reasons. But it’s something worth consideration, rather then mindlessly jumping in the car.
When I worked in Bolton it cost me £80 a month to travel by bus, train and another bus, which took over two hours each way and even though driving cost me nearly £200 a month, I made the decision to drive after one month of public transport. I believed that my quality of life would be better if I choose to drive, cutting my commute down to 30-45mins. Of course the increase in fuel costs meant I had to cut costs elsewhere, but overall it was the right decision.
For others there aren’t convenient routes of public transport near their home or place of employment. However, have you considered the other options, such as car sharing? Sites like http://www.nationalcarshare.co.uk/ let you make contact with other people looking to cut the cost of their daily travel who are on the same route as you.
Is cycling an option for you? I tried it once and for all the benefits; feeling energised, no smelly people on the bus and the decreased travel time, the absolute sheer terror of being hit by a Manchester bus ceased my road cycling days. But for many it’s a really cost effective way of commuting to work.
Another alternative may be working from home if the option is available.
Now, I’ve always packed my own lunch since I was at school so it’s the default setting for me to take my lunch to work with me every day. But I know a great deal of people buy their lunch at work, which is fine, but it’s fairly expensive for an entire week.
The main issue people such as my wife have with making their own lunch is that it can be pretty boring and uninspiring, so it’s easier to just grab something from the supermarket. Sites like The Daily Meal and the forums on Jamie Oliver and BBC Good Food are good places to find interesting lunch ideas.
Cooking more of your main meal and taking the leftovers the next day is also one of my favourite tricks to liven up mid week lunches. What’s awesome is the food tastes even better as the flavours develop overnight.
For some people, such as my Dad it’s cheaper to eat at work since they provide subsidised meals at lunch for pittance, so it works out much cheaper to buy at work, rather then take sandwiches.
It all depends on your own circumstances yet again.
Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t still claim the benefits that you’re entitled too. Do some research to see if you’re entitled to additional benefits or help towards certain costs.
Additionally you could receive childcare vouchers through your employer…which you can learn more about here.
Charge your phone, iPod or laptop at work instead of at home. It sounds petty like using the toilet only at work, but if you’re like me then you’ll charge your phone overnight, every night. That’s a lot of electricity over the year.
In fact my wife and I have cancelled our broadband since we can both use Internet freely at work and any casual browsing can be done on our phones and since we’re both on unlimited data contracts we’re £16 better off each month.
Make sure you’re not out of pocket at work. If you’re incurring costs when carrying out duties then you should be reimbursed (subject to appropriate limits), then you should be able to claim these back. If you’re incurring travel expenses to attend a meeting or training course then this should be reimbursed to you. Likewise if you’re driving between sites then you can claim mileage at 45p a mile for the first 10,000 miles. When I worked in Bolton I had to go between 6 locations fairly often, so I had a sheet in the car to note my mileage over the month.
Sustenance, ie lunch while your out, can usually be claimed, but sometimes at the discretion of your line manager.
Best thing to do is to check beforehand and remember to keep all your receipts.
Of course, nearly everything I just mentioned is subject to your circumstances. As with most aspects of money saving it’s a case of avoiding easy options and taking time to think about your situation and finding the ways to save money – we just try to give you a bit of inspiration.