Returning to the Office is Costing a Lot

Harsh Reality

As pandemic-related restrictions have been largely lifted, many Americans are readjusting to life in the office — at least on a part-time basis. Swapping out comfy loungewear for office attire and preparing for long commutes were known downsides, but many workers are facing a new harsh reality: working outside the home has gotten a lot more expensive.

Inflation has eroded the purchasing power of many Americans as pay increases haven’t exactly kept pace with escalating prices. Gasoline, daycare, parking, and food are all putting the squeeze on workers wallets.

Office Lunch Takes a Bite

For many, the best part about being in the office is the social aspect. Heading out for a coffee break or swapping stories over lunch can boost morale. However, amid today’s high inflation, workers are finding that the cost of these outings are adding up faster than before. The latest inflation report noted a 7.2% increase in the price of food away from home over the last year.

It’s not just food either. With apparel prices up over 5% from last year, dressing up for work has gotten more expensive. Those who drive may be hit with the double whammy of soaring gas prices and increased parking expenses.

Ways to Save

Amid all the hits to their wallets, some Americans are getting creative to protect their net take-home pay after office-related expenses.

Brewing coffee at home and packing a lunch are two easy ways to save. Although with food prices up over 9% since last year, even the price of a sack lunch has increased. Still, the “latte effect” may be more relevant than ever right now, as Starbucks (SBUX) raised its prices this year and indicated it may continue to do so going forward. Running errands on the way to and from work can reduce gas usage by eliminating extra trips. Ultimately, Americans may push for cost of living adjustments so that working on-site isn’t an undue financial burden.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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