15 Tips for Saving Money While You Still Have a Job
Posted by Madison on August 4, 2008
Photo: Cubicle Panorama by Kyle and Kelly Adams
Now that I’ve settled into my decision to quit my job, I’m making sure that I’m accounting for all the money that I’m giving up. Besides a salary and benefits like insurance, there’s often many monetary benefits for working in the corporate world.
I started making a list for myself and realized that if you still have a job, you should make sure you are taking advantage of these!
- 401k Match. The most common method of free money from your employer. Do everything you can to earn the entire match.
- Flexible Spending and Dependent Care Spending Accounts. Take advantage of any benefits you can run through a tax free account.
- Tuition Reimbursement. Education on the company dollar is a terrific way to further your knowledge and your career. Check out the company requirements for how long you must work after obtaining a new degree or designation.
- Career Training and Education. In addition to standard tuition, you can often attend lots of seminars, classes, and training that benefit you. Keep a list of your career goals and find classes that meet them.
- Wellness Programs and Discounts. Take advantage of health club opportunities, weight loss programs, and stop smoking programs that your company will pay for. A healthier you will thank you.
- Frequent Flier Miles. If you have to travel frequently, be sure that you are taking advantage of racking up the miles, which you can often redeem for your personal travel.
- Large Group Insurance Policies. If you have preexisting conditions or health problems, you can often enroll in a corporate insurance policy. Because it is not underwritten at the group level, you will be covered without paying a fortune.
- Employee Discounts. It’s not a coincidence that I bought my new car using a corporate discount shortly before I made my decision. Explore discounts for cars, restaurants, dry cleaning, travel, or any other affiliations your company has.
- Investment Services. Access to your company retirement plan may come with excellent investment services like low expense ratios, access to institutional funds, or free planning services. You could also consider leaving a portion of your money in the plan after leaving to maintain your access.
- Industry Subscriptions. I will miss my favorite publication, Pink, for women executives (but great for any women in business). I might actually spring for it with my own money.
- Company Car. I never had one, but if you do, make sure you understand how much personal use is allowed and take advantage of it!
- Free Events. I’ll miss being able to take my kids to see Santa for free and going to the waterparks for free. They may be little things, but they add up, so be sure to find out about them and use them!
- Free Meals. While going to a lunch meeting isn’t always the way you want to spend your lunch, at least it’s free. Take the money you saved and save it up for something fun!
- Employee Assistance Programs. These programs are typically thought of for dealing with medical issues, however, many offer help in various areas of your life: caring for parents, finding day care, moving, family finances, and more.
- Friends. This is going to sound a little corny, but many, many of my friends are co-workers. It’s no coincidence that you get close to people you spend the majority of your day with. Take advantage of finding people that have similar interests at work. It will make your day more enjoyable to spend it with people you like.
Feel free to add more that I missed in the comments.
This article included in: Carnival of Personal Finance.
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Another great benefit that many companies have is an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP). Many public companies offer an ESPP and typically they include a company match or discount. Like a 401k match, this means free money! Some large private companies are employee owned and offer private stock. If you are part of a rapidly growing private company that offers private stock, you may wish to take advantage of the ESPP if they offer it. Be sure to review the prospectus before participating in an ESPP.
At the last hotel I stayed at Pink was one of the two magazines that they left in the room. The other was a Robb Report or Lifestyles for the Rich and Un-Frugal.
Perhaps that there’s demographic, but it would have been nice to see a Blue (some magazine devoted to men) or some thing that covers a wider demographic.
A very nice list — it really is amazing when you stop and think about all that many large companies do to drive productivity (at least if they are smart).
Personally, the employee discounts have been one of the most valuable perks for me — my current Dell laptop and my copy of Microsoft Office were both purchased at substantial savings through employee discount programs. A lot of offices also provide food to munch on during the day.
Always save a little for a rainy day. These are some solid tips. 😉
some great tips there thanx
some really useful links in there
Great tip on the wellness program. Aside from the obvious benefit, many employers will provide a discount on your share of the monthly payments for your health insurance provided you gain a certain number of “points” in the wellness program.