Last week (Wednesday 19 January) saw Boris Johnson bring an end to working from home – an enforcement re-induced to help combat the rising Omicron wave in December.
It’s something many office workers have gotten used to during the pandemic.
But whether you’ve loved skipping the daily commute – or if you can’t wait to get back into the office – no longer working from home brings with it a change of routine.
And as the cost of living increases, returning to the office comes at a time when money worries will be at the forefront of people’s minds.
Readmore:Six things we’re paying more for and why as inflation rises
There have been steep increases in the cost of energy bills as well as essentials like food and clothes.
Around two thirds of adults say they have seen their cost of living jump over the past month, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.
And last month, inflation soared to 5.4 per cent – the highest rate since March 1992 – with experts warning that the cost of living will continue to climb over the next few months.
With this in mind, Nick Drewe, money-saving expert at online discounts platform WeThrift, has shared his top tips on how to be wise with your spending as you head back to the office.
Take advantage of the travel passes you’re entitled to
For those that are returning to the office on a hybrid basis, it would be wise to make the most of ‘flexi’ transport tickets. These will allow you to purchase a discounted block booking of day or return tickets, which you can then use over a specific period.
Similarly, if you are returning to the office full time, be sure to make use of weekly, monthly or annual travel passes as opposed to just buying a ticket everyday.
If you want to really save money on the commute, Nicks advises considering whether it’s possible to walk or cycle to your office. As well as being kind to your bank account, this way of getting to work reaps big benefits for both the environment and your fitness levels.
Make hot drinks in the office
The average price of a cup of coffee may be as cheap as £2.45, but your morning and afternoon pick-me-ups are costing you at least £49 per month, or £588 for the whole year.
Nick recommends making use of the tea and coffee facilities in your office – which are usually complimentary.
Bring in your own lunch
Arguably one of the easiest ways to save money as you head back into the office is to bring in your own lunch.
As tedious as prepping lunch the night before you can be, doing this will save a lot of money in the long run. Just like daily hot drinks, all those meal deals will add up by the end of the month.
Whether you’re guilty of eating your lunch before 10am, of if you’re prone to snacking during the mid-afternoon slump, Nick advises packing some of your favorite treats to graze on.
This will save you from venturing to the vending machine, or raiding the local supermarket’s sweets aisle during your lunch break.
Avoid lunchtime shopping sprees
For those that have an hour to kill on their lunch, it can be far too tempting to head into town and shop around for the ‘essentials’ when you are in the office.
Instead, why not clear your head and stretch your legs by going on an afternoon stroll, or switch off from your daily tasks by reading a good book?
Make the most of your office perks
During the era of remote working, it’s easy to forget about the perks you’re entitled to with your job.
Whether your company offers you retail discounts or a subsidized gym membership, Nick recommends finding out what these benefits are and how you can make the most out of them.
Find the most affordable pet care
Your cute companion may need to be looked after while you are in the office, so be sure to look around for the best pet care deals. It’s important to know that most doggy daycare centers will offer package rates, often at a discount, to suit the requirements of pet owners.
You can also compare the prices offered by different pet sitters – home daycare costs are typically between £15 and £30 per day.
Look into the Tax Free Childcare Scheme
For parents looking for childcare support, the Tax Free Childcare Scheme will grant you up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 per year) for each of your children to assist with the cost of childcare.
Under the scheme, you will pay 80% of childcare costs per child, and the Government will pay the remaining 20%. To apply for this scheme and see if you and your child are eligible, visit the GOV.UK website.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.