2020 – the year of family Zoom calls, banana bread, and clapping for the NHS at 8pm. We’ve experienced a lot of change this year, and for those in work, perhaps one of the biggest changes has been the shift from office life to working from home. Whilst many are divided on whether or not this is a good thing, one thing we can all agree on is the savings that can be made when you’re no longer commuting. Check out the top tips from Westgate IT’s Bristol team below to see how you can ensure your working environment is as cost effective as possible.
Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep!
If there has been one positive take from the global pandemic, it’s that it has allowed us more time to enjoy a good home cooked meal, and many of us have put a little bit more effort into our food and shopping habits. Although we recommend supporting your local independents wherever possible, nipping to the local bakery or cafe every day for your lunch really adds up, and could be eating into your hard earned pay check. The easiest way to make a saving on both money and time is to batch cook. Prepare your favourite healthy meals in large quantities and enjoy delicious food every day, at a fraction of the cost of eating out.
Meals such as stews, pastas and soups are great easy options that can all be batch cooked, frozen and then defrosted as and when needed. Reusable tupperware provides the perfect meal prep solution, you can pick it up in most stores at budget friendly prices and it’s a much better option than disposable alternatives.
Treat yourself to a coffee machine!
A common expense we encounter when commuting is the morning cup of coffee, now you may have cut down on these, but even the odd takeaway coffee here and there makes a hole in monthly budgets. If you regularly find yourself nipping out for a coffee, it might be worth considering purchasing a coffee machine for your home. Although the initial expense may seem steep, you could make long term savings. Cafetieres, Nespresso machines and filter coffee machines all make high quality cuppas that you can enjoy even more in the knowledge that you’re saving money – and don’t forget, you can often still support your local coffee shop by buying the coffee beans directly from them.
Turn the heating down and put on a jumper
If you’re working from home it can be tempting to crank the heating up high and bask in the heat kicked out by the radiators – long gone are the days of the aircon office disputes! However habits like this turn into reality when you’re hit with sky high electricity bills. Instead set timers on your central heating for when you need it most, like the mornings half an hour before you wake up, and perhaps when you’re relaxing on the sofa on an evening. During the day turn the heating down, and stick on a cosy jumper.
Have you tried turning it off and on?
There’s nothing more frustrating than intermittent unreliable WIFI, and frustrations at work lead to unproductivity – and time is money! Firstly, ensure your WIFI matches yours and your family members needs, but secondly ensure you shop around before signing up to a subscription. Many providers offer great starter deals, so it may be worth looking to other providers, even if you’ve always been with the same company. Some companies also offer packages that incorporate data plans, so if you have a work phone, these deals could work out more cost effectively for you.
On the subject of WIFI, it’s also worth ensuring you’re WIFI calling wherever possible, particularly if you work with international markets or customers. Whether it’s Zoom, Teams or Google Hangouts, WIFI calls cost you nothing and will save on expensive phone bills!
Battery saving mode saves you money!
As we all become accustomed to working from home, it is easy to form bad habits like leaving your laptop plugged in, or forgetting to use the most efficient settings on your computer, however there are some simple and practical measures that can help you to scrape back the pennies.
One of the easiest things you can do is to ensure your electronics are unplugged at night to ensure your devices aren’t using unnecessary energy, a laptop or phone left plugged in can lead to extra wear and tear on the battery, thus shortening the life of your device. On most iPhones, the battery saving mode can be activated to help your phone maintain battery life for longer; it is worth checking your other devices to see if a similar feature is available.
Switch your energy provider!
We know you’ve heard it all before, but switching energy providers could quite possibly be the biggest saving you make.
As we go into the winter months when energy usage is higher, and as we begin to spend more time indoors than ever, it’s worth shopping around to check that you have the best deal. Comparing the prices you’re paying for your energy is quick and simple, and a quick Google search will return comparison sites that allow you to compare several providers at once. It can seem like a pain, and admin that you don’t need, but if you’re really looking to scrape back wherever possible, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find a better deal elsewhere, particularly if you’ve been with the same provider for a long time.