7 Ways to Save Cash during the Work Day

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Save Money at the Office

Save Money at the Office

You may only think of the work day as the time when you’re earning money, but the truth is you’re incurring expenses because of your employment as well. Some may be tax deductible, but most are probably not. So how do you keep your work-related spending under control? The first step is looking at where you are spending:

Save money on your commute.

Gas, car maintenance, and car registration fees are big parts of most household budgets, but there are many ways you can trim back. If you rent, consider moving closer to your company when the lease is up. This is usually only worth it if you live very far from where you work because moving costs money. Crunch the numbers to make sure it’s worthwhile. Another way to reduce your gas expenses is to find co-workers that you can carpool with. The ability to use the carpool lane (if available) may also save you time! And you can always cut your gas expenses down to zero if you are able to walk or ride your bike to work instead. Think you live too far away? Look into public transit routes that you can take advantage of. Sometimes a combination of a bus ride and a bike ride can get you to work at a fraction of the cost that maintaining a car would.

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Work from home.

Another way to cut your gas costs to zero is by telecommuting. You’ll also need fewer sets of work clothes and may be able to include a portion of your Internet, phone line and even your rent as tax deductions. Before you rule out the idea because you think your employer won’t go for it, consider that they will save money in the deal as well. After all, they’ll need less office space and thus spend less on electricity, gas, and other utilities. Of course, not all jobs can be done outside of the office and some businesses still frown on the practice. If you want to suggest the idea, be prepared with a written proposal. Focus on the benefits for your employer instead of the way it helps you. Be sure to preempt any concerns they might have, such as how you can participate in meetings (with Skype and conference phones, it’s easier than ever!).

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Brown bag your lunch.

Going out to lunch every day adds up, so bring your lunch from home. You’ll likely save between $1,000 to $1,500 a year. If you have a microwave or toaster oven at work, bring your leftovers from dinner the night before. It’ll help prevent you from letting the food go to waste and keep your costs down. Having trouble remembering to bring your lunch or finding time to make it in the morning? Find a grocery store nearby and stop by at the beginning of every week to stock up. Then make your lunches at work.

Make use of the food provided at work.

Does your company provide breakfast? Keep your grocery costs under control by taking advantage of it everyday. If you get sick of the same thing over and over, find ways to spice it up. Bring in some new spreads for bagels, or add some fresh fruit to that boring bowl of cereal. You can also use some of those breakfast foods for lunch! Bring in some lunch meat and toast an English muffin for a twist on your normal sandwich.

Make the most of your tax deductions.

Did you know you can deduct your expenses from job hunting? Everything from the cost of printing resumes and business cards to employment agency fees. You can also deduct moving expenses if you have to move over 50 miles away to take the new gig. And some travel expenses related to work and job hunting may also be tax deductible, as well as some business entertainment and gift expenses. If you’re planning on itemizing this year, talk to your accountant about the best way to make use of all the tax deductions available to you in your field.

Stay late and use the Internet.

You’re likely paying for high-speed Internet at home, but do you really need it? If you have access to the Web on a mobile device, you may be able to check your email, bank account and more quite easily from there. Instead of paying for it at home, make use of the free Internet available at work. Stay after-hours and do anything that you can’t conveniently complete on your phone. Many workplaces do reserve the right to look into your browser history, so be sure whatever you are looking at is work appropriate.

Make use of all your benefits.

You’re letting money fly out the window if you’re not aware of all the benefits that your workplace provides. Of course, health benefits and 401(k) programs can help keep money in your wallet, but you may be surprised to learn about the other opportunities available to you, especially at larger corporations. You can find everything from free event tickets, discounts on electronics, reimbursement for education expenses and more. Take the time to talk to your HR department to find out what’s available.

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