As Canadians venture back to the office after the remote work era, tales of newfound savings and financial wisdom emerge. Take Kevin Koudys, who, like many, relished the perks of working from home.
His weekly commute savings from Hamilton to Toronto, combined with reduced expenses, resulted in a hefty $15,000 in savings during the pandemic. However, the return to the office signals a potential threat to these hard-earned savings.
The Temptation to Spend: Coffee, Lunch, and Beyond
According to Koudys, the temptation to spend money arises when coworkers get together for coffee breaks and lunches. Personal finance expert Jessica Moorhouse predicts people will return to their previous spending habits but says it’s crucial to be mindful.
She highlights that it’s okay to enjoy treats, but it’s essential to think about the larger picture – the significant savings made during the pandemic. So, while treating yourself is fine, it’s essential to remember the money you’ve managed to save.
Savings Strategies for the Post-Pandemic Era
For Katherine Wong Too Yen, the remote work setup allowed her to save over 50% of her income and achieve her dream of purchasing a cottage. Not having to invest in daily grooming for the office environment further contributed to her increased savings.
Moorhouse advocates for budgeting and tracking expenses to keep spending in check. Here’s how you can navigate the financial landscape as you step back into office life:
- Track Your Spending: If you monitor your expenses pre-pandemic, compare those numbers with your current spending. Set this benchmark for additional savings.
- Create a Budget: For those who didn’t track spending previously, make a list of expected expenses, estimate monthly costs, and incorporate this into your budget or savings goals.
Rising Costs and Inflation: Lunchtime Blues
Inflation rates, reaching multi-decade highs, have impacted the costs of everyday items, including lunch. According to Square, prices for lunch staples have surged significantly in the last two years. Hamburgers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and wraps have all seen notable increases. For instance, a few extra dollars spent per meal could result in an additional $50 in monthly spending for daily lunch buyers.
Adapting to the New Normal: Financial Planning for the Future
Considering the financial benefits of remote work, Moorhouse suggests negotiating a raise or exploring new job opportunities for those who value the flexibility of working from home. Koudys, residing in the Niagara region, plans to spend on transportation and reconnecting over coffees and lunches but emphasizes the importance of budgeting for these expenses.
Sustainable Spending Habits: A Post-Pandemic Reality
Wong Too Yen echoes the sentiment of creating new spending habits and doesn’t intend to revert to pre-pandemic spending levels. As individuals navigate the return to the office, adopting a mindful approach to spending and incorporating these strategies into their financial routine can help strike a balance between the allure of office life and the financial wisdom gained during the pandemic.
Managing your finances as you transition back to the office involves a delicate dance between newfound spending temptations and the financial wisdom accumulated during remote work. By setting realistic budgets, tracking expenses, and adapting to the evolving financial landscape, individuals can ensure that their return to the office doesn’t erode the savings they’ve worked so hard to build.