The honeymoon phase is over; now that the pandemic is in our rearview, many corporations are calling employees back to the office.
While a fully in-office setup every day of the week is rare, the hybrid model is gathering steam. Some of the biggest companies and organizations expect their employees to return to the office for one, two, three, or even four days of the week.
No matter where you fall on this scale, your return reintroduces a few expenses that you didn’t have to think about for years. You can go overboard all too easily, spending far more than you should on your commute and clothes.
Let’s start this list with a bang. Your commute can be troublesome for two main reasons: gas and wear and tear.
Increased Fuel Consumption
Being in the driver’s seat once again means filling up your gas tank more often. A five-day commute for the average person costs about $867 in fuel per year. Spaced out over 12 months, that’s roughly $75 extra fuel spending than usual.
Cutting your costs at the pumps can be as simple as signing up for loyalty cards that earn gas points, using a fuel-finding app to locate the cheapest pump, or asking coworkers to carpool.
Greater Wear and Tear
Every mile on the road increases the wear and tear on your car, requiring greater maintenance more frequently. The AAA recommends the average American driver set aside roughly $50 every month to cover inevitable maintenance and unexpected repairs. These savings add another $600 to your typical automotive fund for emergencies.
If your emergency arrives on your first week back to the office — say, your tire deflates after you drive over a nail — you can check out a site like MoneyKey for ideas about using an installment loan instead. You can try to apply for an installment loan through your phone with MoneyKey using nothing more than a secure connection to the internet and your personal bank details.
This streamlined virtual application can expedite the borrowing experience, which goes even faster with direct deposit loans, should you be approved. A direct deposit installment loan arrives in your bank account, so you can make urgent repairs without delay.
During your at-home workdays, you can wear sweatpants and a tank top, throwing on a professional blazer only if you have a video conference scheduled. But in the office, this wardrobe won’t fly. Most corporate offices have a business-casual dress code at the very least.
If it’s been years since your last in-office job — or this is your first corporate job altogether — you might have to build a professional wardrobe from scratch. According to Inc.com, you should spend no more than 7% of your take-home pay on a fashionably practical wardrobe.
Let’s face it — on a tight budget, 7% may be more than you can afford right now. Focus on the building blocks that you absolutely need to buy with a thought for the future. As you earn money, you can add pieces that will go with these foundational pieces.
In the meantime, use coupon and rebate apps to maximize savings at the till. Try to time your shopping trips with significant sales, and don’t be afraid to search for pieces at local thrift shops and consignment stores.
A hybrid work model can be a sudden change — for both your routine and your budget. Prepare for them early to handle them with ease.