WORK-LIFE BALANCE / NOV. 29, 2014
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How to Reduce Work-Related Expenses

If there’s never enough cash in your bank account to pay bills, it’s time to reduce your spending. But reducing spending goes beyond looking for cheaper ways to entertain yourself, or only shopping when items go on sale. Going to work each day can add expenses; and if you want to improve your finances, you also need to reduce work-related spending. Here’s how.

1. Drive Less and Save

Using public transportation and carpooling are obvious ways to reduce the cost of your commute -- you’ll use less fuel. However, there are other ways to save that you haven’t considered. 

Driving your car less often can benefit your bank account. For example, if you carpool with a coworker every day and only drive your personal vehicle a few times a week, this can significantly reduce the number of miles you drive each year. As a result, you may qualify for a low-mileage discount through your auto insurance company. And when you drive less, that’s less wear and tear on your vehicle. You might be able to stretch the time between routine maintenance -- buying new tires, getting new brakes and scheduling oil changes. 

2. Find Zero-Cost Ways to Decompress after Work

Going to happy hour or grabbing something to eat with a coworker might be the highlight of your work day -- it’s a way to decompress before you get home. But this habit can be costly. Even if you’re only spending $5 a day, that’s $25 a week or $100 a month. Consider other ways to decompress. For example, bring a change of clothes and hit a walking track or the fitness gym before heading home. Or stop by a bookstore for and browse the aisles for 30 minutes.

3. Take Care of Your Clothes

Whether you’re required to dress professional or business casual, work clothes can become an expense over the years – especially if you don’t take care of your garments and need to frequently replace them. To keep your clothes in good condition, make sure you machine wash or dry clean them on a regular basis to prevent permanent stains and odors. If you notice issues, such as small rips or loose threads, take your clothes to a seamstress to avoid irreparable damage. This also applies to shoes. If your heel starts to wobble, or your soles begin to wear down, take them to a shoe repair shop. Catch problems early and you won’t have to replace shoes as often.

4. Barter with Friends or Relatives for Childcare Services

If you work outside the house and you have small children, childcare is a must. But unfortunately, some daycare centers charge as much as $125-$150 a week per child, which is a huge expense, especially for multiple children. However, if you can barter childcare services with friends or relatives a few days a week, the savings is amazing. Perhaps a relative can watch your children on a Tuesday and Thursday, and you agree to watch their child every Saturday. If you’re paying $25 per day for childcare, that’s a savings of $50 a week or $200 a month.

5. Know What’s Deductible

Did you know that certain work-related expenses are tax-deductible? For example, if you’re looking for a job in your current field, you may be able to write off expenses from hiring a resume writing service and any travel expenses. If you’re relocating for work, you can also write off moving expenses. And depending on your job, you might be eligible to write off other expenses. Some sales representatives who use their personal vehicle can write off a percentage of their fuel cost or yearly mileage, as well as business lunches when hosting a client. Speak with your tax preparer to learn which business expenses are deductible.

You have to work, but going to a job every day can eat away at your hard earned cash. But if you can’t read learn how to reduce work related expenses, that’s more cash in your pocket.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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