Budgeting and Saving

Two key parts of money management to help you achieve financial success.
  1. Budgeting and Saving
  2. Is Your Budget Ready to Go Back to Work?

Is Your Budget Ready to Go Back to Work?

By Monika Ritchie

The impact of Covid-19 means that “going back to work” is no longer limited to simply heading into the office. While a recent survey found that 19.2% of employed Canadians were working exclusively from home, for everyone else that means a return to some form of in-person work. And, whether you’re feeling anxious about returning or relieved to finally put remote work behind you, it can be a stressful and busy transition.

Amidst all the chaos of getting into a new routine, it can be easy to overlook the impact that going back to work can have on your budget. The incidental costs that come with going back to in-person work – commuting, office attire, food, and beverages – can add up quickly. Preparing your budget for these back-to-work costs will help you avoid overspending and will allow you to make the most of your earnings, without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to get you started.

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Plan and Budget for Your Return-to-Work Wardrobe

Making a plan, bringing a list, and sticking to your budget are crucial, whether you’re grocery shopping or updating your workplace wardrobe. If, after 2 years of remote work, you find that your closet is lacking in office-appropriate attire, before going off on a budget-busting shopping spree, stop and consider a few things first.

Can You Shop Your Closet?

While some of your outfits might be worn out or a little out of date, it’s unlikely that you need to start from scratch when it comes to work clothes. Sort through what you already have, decide what is still usable and build it up from there. As a bonus, if you do have things that are gently used but that you just don’t wear anymore, there are many organizations that collect office attire for individuals in need who are trying to get back into the work force.

Can You Find It At a Thrift Store?

Clothing prices, like everything else have increased substantially and trying to buy everything brand new will put a serious dent in your budget. Consider going “thrifting” for some of your workplace clothing. Not only will you save a significant amount of money, you’ll also be shopping sustainably and will be more likely to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.

What Will You Get the Most Use Out Of?

Try to avoid buying things that are overly “trendy” and will likely be out of style in a few months. If you keep your choices simple and classic, it will be easier to mix and match the pieces and you’ll get more use out of them. You can easily brighten things up with some fun accessories that will keep you looking fresh without breaking your budget.

Tips for Saving Money on Clothes

Plan Your Meals to Save Time and Money

After so much time spent apart from friends and co-workers, it can be tempting to plan lunch dates and coffee meetings to catch up. This is a surefire way to put a hefty dent in your budget. Be sure to include your work lunches in your overall meal planning, and whenever possible, bring a lunch with you to work. It’s cheaper and healthier than going out to eat. To save time, simply make a little extra for dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch the night before.

6 Ways Meal Planning Will Save You Money

Instead of heading to a restaurant with your colleagues, go for a walk to catch up, bring your lunch, and enjoy eating outside in the fresh air. As for buying beverages, while many of us would consider coffee a “necessity” (especially as we adjust to working in an office again), it’s really more of a luxury. Whenever you’re tempted to buy one, consider how much you’re paying for something you can make at home or in the office for a fraction of the price. If you really can’t live without your morning latte, incorporate the cost of buying it , say once a week or once every pay cheque, into your budget. Then enjoy your treat guilt-free.

13 Hidden Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Drive Less to Save More Money

The cost of gas is enough to convince anyone to quit driving to work. If you have no choice, consider carpooling with your colleagues and splitting the fuel costs. Not only will you save money, but it will give you some social time with your co-workers before getting to the office.

Another option is to take transit to work. Even if you can’t commit to doing it for the whole week, leaving the car at home for a day or two each week will still add up to big savings. As weather permits, consider walking or biking to work, especially during the Summer and early Fall. Even if you need to go back to driving in the colder months, you will still save a significant amount of money leaving the car at home as often as you can. As a bonus, you’ll get healthier and help the environment, too.

Change Your Driving Habits to Save Money

Focus on Planning and Updating Your Budget for Your Return to Work

If you’re transitioning back into the office, take the time to review and adjust your budget ahead of time. Making a solid plan and following through on it will go a long way to helping you make the most of your money and minimize your financial stress. If you’re having trouble or you need some help getting started, reach out to us for help. Our accredited financial counsellors will help you build a budget best suited for your lifestyle.

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