Certainly, it's ironic that it costs money to work to make money to pay your bills. But if you haven't considered how much you spend on the expenses of working, from commutes to coffee, you may be missing significant ways to cut back your personal expenses.
These tactics are even more important if you're considering cutting back on your work hours in the near future, or another upcoming event in your life will necessitate saving money in all areas.
Cutting back on work expenses may be far easier than you think, according to frugal bloggers. And there are side benefits like improved health from walking instead of always taking a cab, or packing a lunch instead of eating fast food.
Here are eight quick money-saving ideas to consider:
Consider sharing your ride. If your work involves a lengthy commute, or even a short one, you may be kissing hundreds of dollars a year goodbye in commute expenses. One way to save the big bucks, according to Marie Claire, is simply to find someone to carpool with. If you're feeling adventurous, check out erideshare.com to hitch a ride with a friend you haven't met yet.
Cut gas costs while you're driving. Keep your heater or AC on just long enough to get your car to the right temperature, or roll down your windows to save gas money.
Double check the bus and train fares. Marie Claire suggested re-checking your route and pinpointing the place at which your commuting fare goes up. "If you can save a few bucks a day by getting off two blocks earlier, it might be worth the extra cash," it noted.
Walk on by expensive hosiery. If you're habitually spending $40 a pair for hosiery that adheres to your company's dress code, cut it out, Real Simple recommended. "That $40 pair may take a little longer to ladder, but in winter especially, you're usually better off buying multiple pairs of cheaper tights than one or two pairs of expensive ones, New York-based image consultant Annie Brumbaugh told RS.
If you're in a white-collar career, buy one really good jacket. Instead of spending lots of time and money coming up with new business outfits each week, buy a quality jacket and base your wardrobe on that. "A very good jacket can do a lot for your overall look," Brumbaugh said. "You could wear just a T-shirt and jeans, but an expensive, fabulous jacket upgrades your outfit." RS advised to look for a jacket that fits the widest part of your body and if your bust is large, buy a jacket that will close over your chest. In any case, have a reputable tailor fit the jacket so you can wear it with several outfits a week.
Protect those expensive work shoes. Instead of buying lots of inexpensive shoes that won't last or continually replacing one high-quality pair, Brumbaugh recommended buying high quality in a style you can wear daily. To protect that investment, have your good work shoes weatherproofed and the soles reinforced with rubber at a shoe repair shop.
Break the fast food lunch habit. Eating lunch from home instead of greasy fast food may be one of the easiest ways to start saving money, according to the Balance. "Food prices are going up, and it is common to spend around $7.00 or $8.00 a meal at a fast food restaurant," it said. "If you add this up for lunches, it would be around $40 a week or $200 a month. This is just for one person for one meal."
To make eating lunch at work easier, the Balance recommended packing a lunch the night before and carrying it to a park to eat if you can't bear to stay at your desk while you eat. "Frozen dinners and soup are a good fallback for the days you didn't have time to prep a lunch," the Balance noted.
Kick the big bucks coffee habit. According to the Good Financial Cents blog, it's easy to spend $4 per cup or up to $80 per week on coffee. To cut the habit, GFC recommended flavoring your own coffee with spices, eating a piece of fruit for an energy boost in the afternoon instead of drinking coffee, and at the very least, looking for gift cards to your favorite cafes on eBay and Craigslist to save money.