Let me start off by saying I am absolutely grateful to have a job, but I can't help but notice how the office is affecting my budget, and I'm not even considering transportation and costs to maintain a professional wardrobe. First there is the pressure to go out on group lunches, which are much more expensive than my homemade or frozen lunches. Then there is the office party. At my office, we celebrate birthdays, holidays, weddings, boss's day, employee appreciation week, and I'm probably forgetting some other party occasions. We take up a small monthly collections to help with the costs of parties and for office supplies like napkins and cleaning supplies, but each party requires that we either make a potluck dish or pay for catering, and contribute money for gifts. Each party may call for a small donation, but these $5-$10 add up!
I have to admit, I do love the parties so I always choose to take part in them, but I have come up with a few ways to keep work spending in check:
Suggest a breakfast or afternoon snack party
instead of one where the party food is serving as lunch. This limits the amount of food everyone needs to bring, and everyone can contribute to cheaper food items than meat items or large sandwich platters.
Offer non-monetary donations.
Bring in decorations, handmade gifts, or games you already own to serve as entertainment.
Suggest consolidating parties.
Instead of celebrating several birthdays individually, have a joint birthday party for co-worker's whose birthdays are in the same month or season. Likewise, have one big holiday party instead of having back-to-back parties for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
Take advantage of lunch specials
offered during the day to get menu items for a cheaper price.
Split an entree
with a coworker to save on costs and keep you both from over-eating :)
Swap a restaurant meal for B.Y.O.L (bring your own lunch) get-together
in the break room or at a nearby park.
So, is your workplace affecting your wallet? How much do you spend on average each month for work related expenses? Feel free to share!