Are you trying to cut back on your spending, reduce your debts or increase your savings? A good place to start is by looking at your work-related spending, because:

  • You spend more of your waking life at work than anywhere else
  • Work is part of your routine (and routine, regular spending is one of the best targets for savings)
  • The surroundings of work: your commute, and socializing with colleagues, often tempt you to spend unnecessarily

Here are ten ways to cut back on your job-related spending. I've listed these in roughly the order that they apply to your working day:

  1. Eat Breakfast At Home
    Do you regularly stop at a cafe or coffee shop for breakfast? If so, you're clocking up unnecessary spending (and quite possibly adding unnecessary fat and/or sugar to your diet). Set your alarm clock ten minutes earlier, and eat a bowl of cereal before leaving home.
  2. Leave Your Cash And Cards At Home
    If you often succumb to impulse buys on the way to or from work, leave your wallet at home. (If you genuinely need money during the work day, then take the exact amount you need in cash.) This is a simple and foolproof way to cut your spending!
  3. Carpool or Consider Public Transport
    If you drive to work, you're wasting money each day on gas. Can you carpool with a colleague, or someone from your area heading in the same direction? Alternatively, consider whether public transportation would save you money (season tickets are more cost-effective than one-off journeys). If you live close enough, walk or cycle to work: it's free and you'll be getting in some exercise.
  4. Invest in Long-Lasting Clothes
    Depending on your job, you may need to dress up smartly for work. It's often a false economy to buy the cheapest clothing brands available - you'll just end up replacing that suit after six months. Invest in good quality clothing that will last. Don't forget to wash and care for clothes properly, too: check the labels for instructions, and you won't end up shrinking one of your best shirts in the drier.
  5. Brown-Bag Your Lunch
    It's always going to be cheaper to prepare lunch at home than to buy it out, whether pre-packed fro a store, or at a restaurant. Sandwiches are an easy option, as are last night's leftovers. Your office almost certainly has a fridge where you can safely store food during the morning - and many offices have microwaves, toasters, even ovens.
  6. Don't Be A Sheep
    One of the dangers of the workplace is that you're around people - colleagues - who don't necessarily share your values or who may be in a very different financial situation, and this can tempt you to spend unnecessarily. If everyone else in the office has an iPhone, you don't have to run out and get one too. Similarly, just because your colleagues talk about expensive weekends away, don't feel pushed into living a similar lifestyle.
  7. Claim Valid Expenses
    How often have you lost a receipt or not bothered filing an expenses claim because it was only for a small amount? Those little expenses - perhaps travel or office supplies - do add up. Make sure you submit expense claims for everything you've spent that's chargeable to work.
  8. Take Advantage of Job Benefits
    If you work for a large employer, there are almost certainly some benefits that you could take advantage of. Many companies provide discounted membership at a gym chain, for instance. You might be able to get free eye tests or other health checkups - don't end up spending your own money on these. Some companies provide free snacks or meals. If you're really lucky, you might find an employer like Google:

    We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses - just about anything a hardworking employee might want.
    (Benefits, Eric Schmidt, CEO Google)

  9. Go Straight Home After Work
    Do you get drawn into hanging around for just one beer after work? Do you find yourself heading home through the mall, where window-shopping turns into actual shopping? If you regularly end up spending money in the evening after work, get into the habit of going straight home.
  10. Enjoy Your Job
    Finally, one surprising tip to cutting your job-related spending is to enjoy your job. Studies have shown that you're less likely to spend excessively if you have a high level of job satisfaction. (See Job Satisfaction Can Reduce Excessive Spending, Debt). This makes sense: if you're feeling stressed out or miserable at work, you're more likely to end up blowing money on fun ways to unwind in the evenings or at the weekends.

Is your job costing you a lot of money? How do you keep your work-related spending to a minimum?