Working at a desk job is tough work, huh? Actually, not really. But it does have its own unique challenges. That’s why I’ve come up with eight ways to make working at the office less expensive and more convenient. All of these are things I’ve either done or currently do, so I know from experience that they work.
1. Collect free swag. Have you ever been to a business conference? Even if you don’t get anything else out of it, you’re sure to accumulate bags of free stuff like pens, Post-It notes, writing pads, water bottles, etc. These are all things you can use at the office, as long as you don’t mind seeing other companies’ logos all the time. Who knows, maybe you’ll even wind up using one of those companies’ services.
2. Carpool or bike. You’ve probably heard dozens of times about how smart it is to carpool or bike to work. So I promise I won’t beat a dead horse. I’ll just suggest that you do whatever is most convenient and economical. If you live close to work, consider biking. If you live far away, consider carpooling.
3. Bring your own lunch. Instead of going to a restaurant for lunch every day, you should try bringing your own lunch. You don’t have to go to Subway to enjoy a good sandwich. All the ingredients to a healthy lunch can be found fairly cheaply. This just takes a little more effort.
4. Use food containers. Going along with the last idea, you can use plastic containers and sandwich bags multiple times to get more value out of them. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even buy a reusable lunch bag so you don’t have to keep buying paper bags.
5. Reuse water bottles. Plastic cups are nice to drink from at the office, but they’re kind of a waste of resources and money. Water bottles are better because they’re portable as well as disposable. But constantly buying new ones quickly gets expensive. I suggest you simply refill and reuse water bottles so you can bring them with you anywhere and not have to feel like your garbage cans are never big enough.
6. Squeeze a tennis ball. Nobody wants to get carpal tunnel. But you don’t have to buy expensive gadgets to exercise your hands – you can pay a few bucks to get tennis balls. My sister taught me this trick. Just squeeze the tennis ball every now and then with one hand and then the other to keep your wrists and hands strong. This also doubles as a stress reliever.
7. Improvise a wrist guard. Who says you need an expensive wrist guard for your keyboard or mouse? All you need to do is fold a dish towel so it stretches out and supports your wrists. It’s simple and cheap!
8. Go to the library. Are you researching a new topic and you discover there’s a book that has the answers you’re looking for? Instead of buying that book, check your local library to see if they have it in stock. This is a smart way to research because you don’t have to keep a whole collection of books on hand – you can just check them out from the library and return them when you’re finished.
Do you have other suggestions for ways to save money at the office? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to share your ideas in a comment below. I’ll get back to inventory management topics next week. Stay tuned!