It is extremely difficult to save money especially when you are put in new and challenging situations in life. When the pandemic was just starting and the stay-at-home orders were given down, it was a tough adjustment for a lot of people. It was not easy to simply stay at home and try to function as before. This is true especially when it comes to your job.
If you were part of the lucky few who were able to transition to a work-from-home arrangement, then at least you still have your job. Many Americans at that time lost work or were placed on furlough by their employers. This has a lot to do with how the health crisis rippled out to the financial sector and impacted the operations of small to big businesses.
However, the economy is starting to bounce back. The vaccine developed to combat the virus as well as the health standards put in place have helped slow down the rate of infection. Unless new variants come up, society has learned to adjust to the virus. This is one o the reasons why businesses are starting to open up and employees are beginning to report back to work. And this is getting expensive for a lot of people.
And with the new challenge of reporting back to the office after almost 2 years of being at home, one tough question people have is how to save money. VOA News even calls it the new normal as most American workers were doing full-time work from home. Their routine is now changing again as they start going back to the office. If this is you and will be starting to report back to work in your office again, here are a few things that could help you manage your expenses better.
Bring your own lunch
One sure way to help you save money is to bring your own food, especially lunch. This seems easy but it does take significant time out of your day to make this happen. It starts from the time you do your groceries. You have to start planning to buy more than what you need at home so you can bring it to the office.
It helps if you can cook everything over the weekend so you do not have to do it every single morning. You could also be tempted to line up again for your favorite cup of coffee. Try brewing your own pot at home and bringing some to the office. You might be able to save a few dollars and get the coffee down to the way you like it.
Bike to work
One of the benefits of trying to save money during this time is that you get to incorporate a healthy habit as well. One way to do that is to try taking a bike to and from work. And with the current gas prices now, this will help you cut down a significant part of your expenses. It will also help you get in some much-needed exercise.
But there are a few things you need to keep in mind before taking your bike out to work. You need to keep in mind how far the office is and the route you will take. It is also a good idea to check or get your bike serviced to make sure it is in good working condition. This will minimize breakdowns on the road and prevent accidents as well.
Negotiate for work-from-home days
There is no denying the fact that working from home can help you save money. You don’t have to commute or take your car to work. You can cook your own meals at home. It is also not that difficult to think about what you need to wear every day while at work. It also gives you a lot of time with your children at home.
If you can be effective at home and able to accomplish your work, then you might be able to negotiate some work-from-home-days. Try it out for a few days in a week and see how it goes. It will also help you transition to going back to the office a little better. If you are able to still be effective and deliver quality work even at home, then you might be able to convince your employer to work from home.
Check the closet
You cannot report back to the office with what you were wearing when you were working from home, right? Temptation is high to hit your favorite stores and check what new clothes you can buy. CNBC points out though that shopping for new clothes is more pronounced for shoppers at the higher-income level. But that is not stopping people from shopping. Before doing that, check your closet first.
You might find some pieces you haven’t worn for a long time. Try them on and check if they still fit. Working from home might have made you bigger or smaller so fitting old clothes is important. A few adjustments and the clothes could fit perfectly again. Also, make sure that you get them cleaned before wearing them again.
Keep debt under control
It is easy to fall back into a false sense of financial security when you get called back to work. After all, this means regular work and regular pay coming in every month. So rather than trying to save money, you begin to add up to your debt account thinking you will be able to pay them all back since work is now regular.
You start buying things you want convincing yourself you need it as you go back to work. It can be a new and expensive phone you can show off to colleagues. You might be tempted to buy new bags or shoes as well. The problem is that it is quite easy to put these expenses in your card. You do not feel the payment the moment you make it. The challenge begins after.
It will be difficult saving money when you keep adding monthly payments to your expenses. You might say that they only round off to a small amount each month. But add them up over time plus other small payments and you get yourself one massive payment headache every month. Try not to put additional monthly payments in your expenses while you are still navigating your way back to the office.
Be on guard with your mental health
Going back to the office is not an easy task and it can take its toll even on your mental health. As you try and save money, make sure you do not sacrifice your mental health in the process. You might be successful and set aside a significant amount but your mental health suffers. It is not a good situation to be in.
As you try to save as much as you can, you give up precious hours of sleep. You then get stressed and your mental health suffers. Make sure that as you get your finances in order, you do not sacrifice your mental peace. Get enough rest, eat well, and get some exercise to help you manage and guard your mental health.
Look for an alternative source of income
Having a secondary source of income can help you set some money aside a lot faster. But having an alternative source of income is not an assurance that you will be able to save more money. It is an opportunity to do just that but temptation could set in. You could feel that you can start buying things you want because you have extra money. So make sure to use that extra income and save it for future use.
Many companies are starting to get their employees to report back to the office and it will be difficult to try and save money. But there are a few things you can do to give you enough elbow room to set aside some money to save.