Oh boy. One big thing that I had forgotten about working in an office is the INSANE amount of money that people spend every.single.day on food and drinks.
$1-5 on coffee or other caffeine in the morning (and sometimes $3-5+ for breakfast food, too!), $5-10+ on lunch, another $1-5 for a mid-afternoon caffeine hit or snack... it really adds up! Even if you're doing just ONE of those things (let alone multiple) ... add it up over the course of the workweek, then the month, then the year... uhmmm, that's a lot of money.
And this type of spending probably doesn't even make you happy!
The other thing to note is that if you're buying these things every single work day, you're probably so used to them that they don't even bring you happiness anymore. So you're paying a lot of money, day after day, for something that you're so used to that it doesn't even make you happy!
So what should you do about it?
I could go one of two ways on this post: I could either tell you to cut out these things completely, or I could tell you to be smarter about it to save yourself a bit of money. In today's case, I'm going to talk about how to be smarter about it. (But of course, it is always an option to completely cut things out if you want to save a ton of money and/or be healthier! Most things people buy at work, I'm realizing, are definitely not healthy... haha)
Step 1: Accept your vices
I think people do understand that it's way more expensive to, for example, buy a soda from a vending machine every day rather than buying a 12-pk at the grocery store and brining one soda from home every day.
The thing that trips them up is that they don't want to drink that soda every day. They tell themselves, "oh, I'm going to stop drinking soda and be healthy and save money!" but 2pm rolls around and it's been a stressful day and they cave in and go buy one from the vending machine.
So first step is just to accept your vices for right now.
Step 2: Stock Yourself Up
Now that you've accepted the fact that you're going to drink a soda every afternoon, be smart and start bringing one from home! Go to the grocery store and buy a 12-pk of soda, and bring one with you every day. This way you avoid paying $1.25 or $1.50 every afternoon to buy one from the vending machine. You might spend around $0.50 per soda brought from home! That's a pretty big savings.
In my case: I know that I really enjoy drinking tea in the morning and afternoon; I've just accepted that and don't have a problem with it (for now). So I have 4 boxes of tea in my desk drawer (slightly excessive? I like variety!) and I spend $5 each month to belong to our office's "Water Cooler Club" so that I can have hot water from the water cooler any time of day. Sure, I could try to cut the tea habit... but I know myself and I know I would cave and walk downstairs to the little cafe and buy one for $1.50. But since I accept my habit, I'm able to stock myself up and make cups of tea for around $0.20 per cup. Big savings.
Step 3: Cut Back (if you want)
If you have an unhealthy or just plain expensive habit, I'd definitely recommend trying to cut back. I'm a big fan of baby steps, though, so I would recommend easing the habit out of your life. For example, challenge yourself to only drink 4 sodas a week instead of 5. Do that for a month, and once you've gotten used to only having 4 per week, cut back to 3. Keep gradually cutting back until you're down to your desired level.
Oh, and the Biggie: BRING YOUR (@#$&@#^!) LUNCH!
I have no idea how so many people buy lunch every.single.day. How do you have that much money to spend? Lunches are like $5-10 EVERY DAY! That's a lot of money going straight to your LUNCH?! Also, it's usually way more unhealthy than anything you'd make at home. Save money, be healthier, and make your own lunch. Just do it.
I'm working on a post about lunches (I've gotten a few requests for lunch ideas!) but for now, I rotate through leftovers from dinner (we almost always make 4 dinner servings so we can each have a portion for lunch the next day), egg salad or turkey/tomato/lettuce sandwiches + apple slices + a cookie, and most recently, I've been making some AMAZING salads! (best tip: prep all your toppings for the week on Sunday. Portion the toppings in individual bowls, keep in the fridge and then each night/morning before work, put some lettuce in your bowl, pour the toppings on top, put dressing in a side container, and BOOM you're done!)
Is there anything you buy frequently during your work day?