It goes undetected how much it actually costs to go to work – public transport, work-related clothing and networking functions.
Above all these expenses, without a doubt, work-related take-away food is always the culprit when it comes to massive overspending. Those small, tiny, regular purchases sneak up on us and whack us with a major dent in our budget by the end of the month without even realising. Those $3.50 coffees here and there and $15 take-away lunches when I forget to bring lunch easily ends up blowing up over $400 a month.
So you don’t make the same mistakes I have in the past, I’m passing on my frugal wisdom that would make Joseph Dominguez and Vicki Robin proud. Here are three frugal ways so save money on food at work:
ONE: Keep a mini pantry of food at your desk.
You know that large bottom drawer in the under-desk storage that you use to store random junk and paper you haven’t yet thrown in the recycling? Welcome to your new snack drawer.
This is your gold-mine of frugal eating. Use it to store breakfast food (microwavable porridge is my go-to breakfast), kilos of healthy nuts for snacks (literally kilos) and rice crackers to snack on. When you’re feeling peckish you’ll just automatically reach for your snack drawer as it’s more convenient than walking out of the office and spending money on over-priced, bad-quality take-away, or worse, giving those sad vending machines a workout.
TWO: Bring lunch to work everyday.
Spending $15 here and there on lunch gets very expensive, very fast. Buying lunch every day costs at least $75 a week, and that doesn’t even include coffee or breakfast if you buy that too.
Bulk-cook freezable meals and store in meal-sized portions which you can grab and go on the way to work. I try to cook 3 weeks of lunches in one go. If you don’t have time to cook, head to the closest supermarket and buy a week’s worth of fresh food which you can store in the work fridge and make fresh lunch every day.
THREE: Take advantage of free tea and coffee.
Going out for coffee is a social ritual for most work places or just an excuse to get out of the office. While I like one latte a day on my walk to work, I avoid having coffee for the sake of getting out of the office or to socialise with a colleague and instead have the free stuff from the kitchen and chat there.
If you’re like me and don’t like the cheap and basic tea, buy gourmet tea bags from tea shops like T2. While it’s on the pricier side ($15 for 25 bags – a lot more than your average Twinnings), it only costs $0.60 per mug instead of $3.50 at a cafe. Not bad!
What are your frugal words of advice for the workplace? I’d love to hear them so comment below!
xx Miss Piggy
Cover Illustration by Lena Ker