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How to budget for a return to the office

If you’re one of those people returning to the office this spring, here’s what you need to know

27 April 2022 | Money

When you go back to the office, what expenses are likely to go back into your budget? If you could work remotely during the pandemic, you may have saved money on parking cards, happy hour, and non-workout clothes – but now that offices are inviting employees to return to their old desks, many of these office-related expenses are likely to come back as well.

Plus, with an inflation rate of up to forty years, almost everything you buy as you prepare to return to work is likely to be more expensive than the last time you bought it – whether you refuel your car, pack your lunch, or shop a pair of new work-fit shoes.

“With inflation approaching 8% and the inverted yield curve heading for a recession, the average American household will be struggling with the coming cost of living crisis,” said Lawrence Delva-Gonzalez, a state accountant and financial literacy educator who runs The Neighborhood Finance Guy. .

This means that you need to make your purchases back to work with as much care and attention as you put into your daily tasks – because save moneyin this case is likely to come down to plan ahead.

In this article:

How to re-budget for office expenses

Before you ask yourself if you need to adjust your budget to go back to the office, ask yourself how your spending habits changed when you started working at home.

“I would recommend that people take a look at how their spending today has changed compared to their spending before the pandemic began,” advises Jim Wang, founder of WalletHacks. For example, if you could save money while working from home, you might be able to use some of these savings to buy office-related items such as new clothes.

However, Wang notes that most of us used at least some of our savings to make our home more comfortable – whether it meant buying a backyard fireplace or turning part of our home into a Zoom Room. We may also have spent more money on time-saving necessities such as takeaway food. “For those who reimbursed work-related expenses with other expenses, such as ordering takeaway for meals, it will require them to move their expenses from these reimbursements back to the original ones.”

Re-budgeting for office costs – re-budgeting for anything – ultimately comes down to three major issues:

  • Where is your money going right now?
  • Where will your money need to go in the future?
  • Where may you need to cut or redistribute funds?

“No matter where the money comes from, I recommend that you ease back and make the transition slowly if you can,” says Wang. “There may be the temptation for a rebound effect, where you start going out to lunch and happy hour every day with colleagues and friends that you have not seen in person in a few years. Resist the temptation as it can seriously get your budget out of play. Start slowly back or find other, cheaper, ways to hang out with your colleagues. ”

How to buy work clothes

While you may be able to cut back on certain types of office-related expenses – buying a drink instead of two at happy hour, for example, or getting your burrito without guac – many of us will need to invest in some new work-appropriate clothing.

Gonzalez suggests that you buy clothes made of fabric that can be customized when you return to office life. Your body may have changed during the pandemic, and you may experience further physical changes as you move from home to the office – so plan ahead and act accordingly. “Look for suits and denim that have flexible materials. They are comfortable and give you some space to adjust while strengthening your self-confidence.”

If you already own a high quality work wardrobe but need to upgrade due to changes in size or shape, you can always keep your old clothes in case you should be able to wear them again – but you can also make some quick cash by selling your used clothes online. “Sell off your old unused clothes so you can throw away the excess money,” advises Gonzalez.

How to pack affordable workplace lunches

One of the best ways to save money and improve your health is to pack an affordable, nutritious lunch at work – and you can save even more money, as Gonzalez reminds us, by eating an affordable, nutritious breakfast.

“Cooking is still king in your budget,” says Gonzalez, “but with a twist. I would recommend that you sleep earlier to get your 7 hours and wake up to make a great breakfast before work. Something rich in nutrients and that triggers your body. ”

Eating breakfast will help you avoid overeating – and overeating – at lunch. “The whole point is to cheat your wallet and your waist while beating inflation,” Gonzalez explains. A light lunch in turn helps you avoid the afternoon sunset and gives you an incentive to prepare and eat an early dinner. Getting your evening meal on the table before someone in the family gets hungry also prevents overeating, which can save money on food costs and make the evening more enjoyable – and ending the evening meal with time left often leads to an earlier bedtime for the whole family and a better night’s sleep.

How to combat inflation costs

Planning ahead before you make a purchase is a way to fight the cost of inflation – whether you shop for stretchy clothes or top up with steel-cut oats. Since you are counting on additional expenses for returning to work, you may want some additional tips to help you both save and make extra money.

Wang suggests looking for credit card or debit cards. “Credit cards give you hundreds of dollars in cash back as a welcome bonus,” he says. If you have enough cash to cover the initial cost of these bonuses, you can get out a few hundred dollars in advance – and, as Wang reminds us, “a few hundred dollars can go a long way in fighting inflation!”

Gonzalez also suggests using the financial system to combat inflation costs, starting with your emergency fund and investment portfolio. “Most people cut back on savings and investments when times get tough. Do the opposite.” By investing in yourself – whether you are saving for retirement, building recession-proof career skills or working towards financial independence – you will be prepared to navigate not only your transition back to the office, but all the transitions that come.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that it can be refreshingly easy to navigate decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall well-being.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that it can be refreshingly easy to navigate decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall well-being.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not support the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they suit your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be used for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal adviser.

Our revelations

Haven Term is a life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and is offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by CM Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Police and driver form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is ranked by AM Best Company as A ++ (Superior; Top Category of 15). The grade is valid from 1 April 2020 and may change. MassMutual has received various ratings from other credit rating agencies.

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