Work to live, don’t live to work. Here are some tips to reduce the expenses that come with your “9-5.”

You go to work to earn money. You work hard for it and you probably want to keep as much of it as possible.

But like most things in life, work can come with expenses. The strain of everyday costs like meals, transportation and coffee can really add up. The thing is… they don’t have to.

Here are some quick tips to help ensure your hard earned money stays in your pocket while at work.


Unless you live within reasonable walking distance, you’re always going to need a way to get to and from work. That leaves three common methods of transportation – automobile, public transit or cycling.

Cycling is the most cost efficient of the three options, with maintenance costs being inexpensive and the initial one-time cost of a bike is much lower than the cost of a car. A downside of cycling, of course, is it tends to be weather-dependent.

Driving is typically the most expensive option of getting to and from work, with expenses like insurance, gas, parking and maintenance. If you are in a situation where your only transportation option is to drive, it is highly beneficial to try and find friends and coworkers to carpool with. The average yearly cost to drive to and from work is almost $9,000, so the more people in your car, the lower your costs!

Though often viewed as “inconvenient,” public transit is often more affordable than owning a car. Roughly 12 per cent of Canadians use transit with the average commute time being 44 minutes, versus 24 minutes by car. The key question to ask yourself is how important that extra 20 minutes is to your financial situation? Also be sure to calculate just how much you are using transit to determine whether individual tickets/tokens or a monthly pass makes more sense for you – and keep in mind that many monthly passes can be claimed with your taxes!


One of the easiest and most obvious ways to save at work is to always bring your meals. The average Canadian spends between $7 to $13 a day on meals at work. You can prepare a meal at home for as little as $2-3.

Don’t have time to make your meals before work? Pack them at night or make extra dinner to take for lunch the next day!


While it may not seem like much, the cost of coffee everyday can really start to add up. A quick and simple way to immediately save is to simplify your java – do you really need a latte, or can you get by on a regular cup of coffee? Also try and steer clear of coffee shops and make yours at your workplace. If you don’t have a coffee maker, other choices include French presses and microwaveable options.


This one is especially relevant for people that sit at a desk all day. While streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Rdio give you complete control over your music, they do cost money. There are many free alternatives to consider. As long as you have a Google account (or a Gmail), you can create custom playlists with autoplay as well as listen to other users’ playlists. Most radio stations also have free online players which can be found on either the stations website or at an aggregator like


Having water instead of drinks like soda or juice can already save you money, but even buying bottled water in bulk can add up. An easy solution is buying a reusable water bottle and refilling it throughout the day. Or if you’re the type who doesn’t want to drink tap water, you can get always get a water filtration carafe and keep it in your company’s fridge.

Claiming Work Expenses

Do you know what you can and can’t expense at work? It may be more than you think. Costs like travel, your cell phone and certain meals can be expensed depending on your workplace. Be sure to speak with your administrator or supervisor to make sure you are fully aware of your company’s policies so that you can be reimbursed!