It’s only when you stop and take a minute to evaluate how much you spend day to day at work, the penny (literally) drops. Are you someone who goes out for lunch instead of making it the night before? Do you buy lattes and fancy coffees on your way into work rather than just boiling the kettle when you get in? How many birthday presents, leaving presents and cakes have you had to buy in the last six months alone? Do you pay for parking each day? Now you can see where you wage is going each month. All these costs can be avoided or at least managed. We don’t consider the cost of a meal deal each day but after a week you have spent on average £17.50 before you have bought a treat like a coffee or a chocolate bar.
Research released at the beginning of the year discovered that the cost to the British employee of being in an office is more than £14,000 and that only included afternoon tea runs, cards and gifts for leaving colleagues and sponsorship for co-workers’ charitable pursuits. We missed off sponsorship off our list! If you then think about office clothing and work nights out on top of that you are looking at another £1,000. Over the course of a 40-year career that equates to over £40,000! Say what?!
The research was conducted at the beginning of the year by Nationwide Current Account and highlighted the following expenses incurred during a work year:
Annual costs incurred by office workers
- Clothes and bags £119.16
- Drinks and nights out with colleagues £102.24
- Christmas parties and dinners £96.48
- Birthday cards and presents for colleagues £66.60
- Coffees and teas £66.36
- Sweets and treats £64.32
- Technology (such as a tablet, phone, calculator) £58.32
- Leaving presents and cards for colleagues £50.28
- Comfort items (such as tissues, tablets, antibacterial wipes and sprays) £49.68
- Colleagues’ weddings, £47.04
- Charity/sponsorship requests, £44.64
- Births of colleagues’ children, £43.92
- Secret Santa, £41.88
- Stationery, £41.04
- Other equipment (such as pens and highlighters), £38.04
- Retirements, £39.24
- Bereavements, £33.96.
Alan Oliver, Nationwide’s head of external affairs, said at the time: “Working in an office can be an expensive business, especially in big teams. While most people value the camaraderie of working in a team, birthdays, retirements and charity fundraisers can take their toll on our wallets and purses.”
The reason for this evaluation / rant of daily work life expenses came from an article about the cost of parking an employee spends per year. The article titled ‘41% of the Average Weekly Wage Spent by Londoners on Parking Fees’ got us thinking about all the added extras that come with having a job. London was obviously the most ridiculous prices followed by Oxford and Leeds as the most expensive cities centres for commuters to park.
Jonathan Allbones, Sales Director at The Car People who have done the research said: “We know how expensive inner-city parking can be, and luckily most of us further up north benefit from free parking at work, however for those less fortunate there are excellent ways to try find spaces cheaper such as parkonmydrive.com which could save you a lot! “
So, we thought following the summer holidays and with Christmas fast approaching we would start saving the pennies (for all the Christmas parties and secret Santa’s obviously along with our own family and friends) and have come up with a money saving plan:
- Walk or cycle to work – if it’s too far then car share
- Prep lunch the night before – making sure it’s healthy so we can binge at Christmas.
- No more Starbucks to and from work
- Use office stationery rather than buying glitter pens and unicorn pads
- Stop buying sweets and treats
- Dig deep in the wardrobe and reinvent some old outfits
- If it’s someone’s birthday say their gift is in the post / reuse an unwanted gift from your own birthday (always save bags and wrapping paper where possible)
- Stick to water on an office social
Just think of all the money you will save! You are welcome.