Your company has announced that they’d be implementing a split-team operations and you’re one of the lucky ones who have been bestowed the privilege to work on your bed at home.
Since you’re practically not leaving the house, that should naturally result in more savings now that you don’t have to fork out money for transport and lunch… right? Wrong.
Working from home comes with a lot of hidden costs.
You are not just saving $12 on a fast-casual sandwich—you are also buying extra groceries so you can make lunch at home.
You are consuming more electricity and water while you are working from home. Heading to the library or café to enjoy free air-con is not an option since you have been ordered to work from home to minimise contact with people.
But before you write in a complaint letter to HR to demand that you be assigned to work in the office, try these seven ways to reduce your personal costs.
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Unsubscribe From Marketing Emails
It is easy to be distracted when you are working at home, especially when marketing emails keep flowing into your inbox and you are tempted to click on them. The next thing you know, you are browsing through the listings on Amazon or ASOS and doing online shopping instead of working.
Avoid temptation by unsubscribing from marketing emails and texts from the stores where you spend the most money.
Make Your Own Meals
When you work from home, it is a lot easier to find the time and motivation to make healthy, budget-friendly meals—which both your body and your wallet will thank you for. You can also decide on the portions yourself, and how much you want to eat.
When you make a favourite, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another day. That way you can get two meals out of one and use the ingredients more efficiently with less waste. Avoid getting food delivered if you’re not ordering for a group because not only will the delivery fee adds on to your cost, it’s also not environmentally sustainable to have the rider use up fuel to send you just one burger from McDonald’s.
Make Your Own Coffee
Now that you are at home, do not be lazy and instead make your own coffee. Making your own coffee will not only save you money, but also give you a satisfying morning ritual.
You could buy a cheap bag of coffee beans, grind them up, brew them in an automatic dripper, and you would have, by most standards, a good cup of coffee. Another option is the French press, which is the most basic and easiest brewing method out there.
If you must have a cup of joe from Starbucks every day, you can even recreate the same cuppa with their capsules at a cheaper cost, with your Dolce Gusto machine (if you have).
The same goes for your mandatory cup of milo or tea in the morning: Make your own.
Get A Snack Subscription
Thanks to well-stocked pantries, we are always snacking in the office. Things don’t get better when you’re at home because you now have access to a full fridge and your cabinet.
But we’re not too concerned about the potential distraction—after all, some people find snacking to be a good brain stimulant. But being at home means you would need to fork out your own money on snacks. Yes, no more leeching of the free stuff in the pantry.
Get Affordable Tingkat Lunch
If you do not want to go through the hassle of preparing your own meals, look to tingkat lunch subscriptions such as KCK Food Catering that deliver nutritious and sumptuous meals (they usually come with three dishes and soups) to your place.
One of the best things about Tingkat meals is that they tend to be healthier than eating out. Many Tingkat caterers, in fact, prepare meals with less oil and salt than one would find in a restaurant.
Daily lunch expenses can work out to as low as $4 per person (if you get a trial package).
There are also different types of dishes each week so that you can look forward to a change instead of going to the same coffeeshop or hawker centre near your house and eating the same food.
Image: KCK Food Catering Pte Ltd
Keep Your Room Cool Without The Air-Con From 9am To 6pm
We are used to working in comfy, air-conditioned offices. However, when you are actually working from home, you cannot be having the air-con running from 9 AM to 6 PM as well— the electricity bill is going to be sky-high.
Instead, after you have (I am sure most of us sleep in an air-conditioned room) woken up, turn off the air-con but do not open your room door or windows. Turn on the fan, and let the cool air circulate in the room as you work. So you can still stay rather cool and keep the electricity bill as low as possible.
Alternatively, there is an old school trick: place a bowl of ice in a place where the fan would blow across it. This creates a cool, misty breeze that feels great on hot days.
Make Your Own Cocktails At Home
Too lazy to meet friends after-hours for drinks because you’ve been in pyjamas since 2pm, we get you. But you can still enjoy a drink or two at home and there is no need to spend a fortune stocking your home bar, either. It may even surprise you that some of the cheapest drinks are among the most popular drinks at the bar. Think of that money you have been wasting!
If you have a bottle of rum, some mint, and club soda, then you have yourself a mojito! Or if you are feeling some Gin Rickey, you can just mix your favourite gin with a dose of lime, and fill the glass with club soda. We guarantee you can save a lot of money on booze.
Text: Sheila Chiang