If you’ve been working from home during the pandemic, hopefully you’ve been able to save those extra funds from not having to buy lunch, pay parking fees or dry clean work clothing. As we head back into the office, those costs will start appearing back on the monthly statement and building your savings account might be harder.
Now more than ever, it’s important to plan and stick to your budget.
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a simple understanding of how much money is coming in, how much is going out and where it’s going. To make budgeting easier, utilize the tools provided by your financial institution. Here at CCF we offer Cash Coach
, a personal financial management tool that allows you to easily set up a budget and track your progress during the month to see what is going well and what might need attention Plus, you can also set up budget alerts to notify you throughout the month.
Plan your treats – this will be the first expense to increase with a return to work.
Lots of budget advice will tell you to cut out that daily Starbucks habit entirely to save money. It’s ok advice – small things do add up to big money over time, however, these “creature comforts” are a great motivator, so there’s no reason to cut them out entirely.
Instead, set a couple days a week to stop for coffee or go out to lunch. A specialty coffee every morning will cost you $1,300 over a year, but a twice-a-week coffee habit is only $520 annually.
The old rule “pay yourself first” still applies.
Because saving may be more difficult with increased expenses, you still want to save first before you spend. Any amount that is feasible for your situation works, so don’t over think it. Simply commit to a certain dollar amount or percentage per pay period and set that aside in an Emergency or Rainy Day savings account.
Check the closet.
Take a moment to take inventory of your work wardrobe. Spring and summer are great times to take advantage of clothing sales, so you can buy a few pieces that will get your through the season.
Do you have professional items that you no longer wear? Make room in the closet and consider donating them to the Detroit Rescue Mission
or Dress for Success Michigan
– both organizations collect professional clothing to help the homeless find jobs.
Be patient during this transition.
For some, it’s been more than a year since we worked in an office and this transition is going to take time and understanding from everyone.