Tips: How to Save Yourself Money at the Office
June 21, 2012

By Carlin Sack for

We are working to earn ourselves some money, right? Then why do we spend so much throughout our days at the office? Below are a few tips to save some cash during the workday. Here’s to more cash to pay off those student loans!

Morning coffee: We’re not telling you to go without it (we aren’t crazy!), but try to be a little less loyal to your favorite brands. Try to buy your daily caffeine fix in bulk from the grocery store and make your brew yourself! If the thought of parting totally with the coffee shop is too much to bear, tone down the extravagance. Buy a cup of black coffee and add your own milk, cream, sugar from the condiment bar or simply buy a shot of espresso to mix in. Savings: $1,200 a year

Bottled water: Not only is it not environmentally-friendly, but it is wasting your cash to buy water bottles every day. Even buying water bottles in bulk at the grocery store, is still more than getting water from your tap or water filter. Buy yourself a reusable water bottle to take to the office, refill it throughout the day and watch the cash trickle back into your wallet! Savings: $500 a year

Getting to and from work: Driving, gas, parking passes. Those really do add up. But just split that cost between you and a neighbor or co-worker! Although carpooling may be a pain to coordinate, try it for a few days out of the week when you don’t have commitment directly after work. If planning a daily carpool doesn’t seem to be working, buy a monthly train or park-and-ride bus pass. Savings: $600 a year

Afternoon munchies: Instead of running to the vending machine around 3 p.m., bring a snack from work that you are actually excited to eat. Treat yourself to a yummy, homemade snack instead of an unsatisfying candy bar. Keep a box of your favorite cereal or a bag of pretzels in your desk drawer in case you run out of time to pack something. Savings: $350 a year

Lunch with coworkers: Being the frugal-minded person that you are, you of course have packed your lunch for the day. But what happens when your coworkers do not have such a strict budget and invite you to lunch? Go ahead, tag along! Bring your packed lunch and eat with them, or they are actually eating at a restaurant, then just get a small side item to supplement your packed lunch. Savings: $500 a year by going out to eat just once a week

In total, these savings amount to about $240 a month. So, if you had $30,000 of loans at 6.8% interest and you applied that monthly savings to paying the loans, you’d end up paying about $5,400 less in interest over the life of the loans. You’d be paid off in five years instead of 10! Working hard at the office to not spend money actually does pay off!

Carlin Sack writes for and attends Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism