How to be Frugal and not look like the Office Cheapskate
Staying on budget is challenging enough without bowing to peer pressure to spend where you may not have planned for it.
But what about when the pressure is from work colleagues at your place of employment? You definitely don’t want to be perceived the office cheapskate.
When your friends and family invite you out to eat, you have the luxury most likely of being a little more honest- as in, “I’d love to, but it’s not in the budget this week”.
The dynamics are a little different in the workplace.
Option #1 Don’t go
While it might be the most budget-friendly option to turn down work invitations for meals and other outings, this could be career limiting.
If you repeatedly find excuses not to join your colleagues, they may soon take it personally. Going out with your colleagues not only gives you a chance to bond, but can provide some opportunity to network and get to know your boss and management in an informal setting, which could prove to be a good investment down the road.
Instead of tagging along at the latest trendy bar or restaurant where a pricey tab will get you a sparsely populated plate, take charge of the social outings, and organize them so that you can go somewhere that is more budget-friendly.
Ask for group rates or discounts. Depending on your numbers, restaurants can often customize a set menu for you.
Cruise the Menu
Who says you need an entrée? Order an appetizer or a side salad. You are present and participating- that is the point.
Organize a pot luck now and then, which still provides an opportunity to sit and share time with colleagues. The costs are far less when you can go homemade!
I used to work with a fellow who would pull out his brown bag and politely decline whenever we invited him to join us for a lunch outing.
We would try to convince him, but he always responded with honesty- as in, he was the income earner in his family, with numerous expenses, including a lengthy commute in a gas guzzler.
His honesty (and dedication to his financial responsibility) was impressive and we all completely understood and respected him for sticking to his budget guns. Not that you necessarily need to dive into great personal detail to divulge your finances to your colleagues, but a little honestly garners a lot of respect.