One of the things I noticed as I was falling out of love with my former job was I needed more and more pick-me-ups to get through each day. Leaving the office to buy lunch was a necessary interruption to the monotony, and more and more frequent happy hours gave me something to look forward to during the long afternoons.
When I stepped into my new job, I didn’t need to bribe myself with treats to get through each task. Work was fun again!
Even better, my coworkers were fun! Yay, fun coworkers! Then the pendulum swung the other way. I was having a little more fun than I could afford, accepting invitations to coffee breaks, lunch, and happy hours.
Now that I’ve settled into my new job, it’s time for me to get back on track with my own financial goals.
Instead of passively sitting out the activities that cost money, I want to be proactive and make a few tweaks to how I spend time with my coworkers so it’s Spend Fast-y fun.
Whether you’re making friends at a new job or need to make adjustments to your work life for your Spending Fast, here are my tips for bonding with coworkers for free.
7 Fun Ways to Bond with Coworkers without Bustin’ the Bank …
1. Coffee club
If you and your coworkers are heading out for lattes every day because the office coffee sucks, consider investing in a French press (often available at a Goodwill store for less than $5) and taking turns supplying the coffee. Spend a few minutes enjoying your morning coffee together before you head back to your desk, patting yourself on the back for your good idea and muttering “Coffee, coffee, coffee, I love you coffee.”
2. Have a mini-potluck in lieu of lunches out
Coordinate a lunch with a main dish, as many sides as you want to swap, and a dessert (recipe ideas here) with your usual lunch group. You’ll get to enjoy a hearty lunch together, and you can make extra of whatever you’re contributing to freeze and bring for lunch later. Make it a weekly or monthly tradition.
3. Go to the gym together
If your health insurance plan has a reimbursement program for gym membership fees, this is one of the best ways to make sure you make the required visits and get some friend time in during the workday. If you work hourly or have very structured break times, try to take a short walk with a coworker, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
4. Run an errand together
I have a new work buddy and, while I don’t want to jinx it, I’m going to go ahead and say she’s my new best friend. What new milestone do you think I’m most looking forward to? Running our first errand together. (A visit to the shoe repairman!) It is so practical, it makes my heart sing. Next time you have an errand to run, ask your coworker to go along. She might love you for it. Or, if your breaks don’t overlap and you’re popping out for an errand, see if you can get/do something for her while you’re out. Good karma, and she might return the favor later!
5. Use your interoffice chat
Sometimes during a stressful day, my first urge is to kidnap a coworker, head to a coffee shop, and vent on the way there and back. My new trick for recharging is to shoot a coworker a chat instead. After a little banter break, I feel so much better, and I’m ready to get back to work. Don’t have a desk job? Exchange cell numbers with coworkers and send them the occasional text during a slow or stressful shift together.
6. Organize a volunteer activity to sidestep office fundraisers gracefully
If you’re on a Spending Fast, a better way for you to give back is participating in a volunteer activity. Finding group volunteer activities during the day can be a little tricky, so use a site such as Volunteer Match or Hands On to do your research and find a good fit.
The equivalent of coworker friend marriage, carpooling is a big commitment to be sure. But if you and a coworker get along well and live close to each other, this is a great way to save money, be good to the environment, and bookend your day with fun time. You can take turns bringing coffee (hot or iced) to head off the morning convenience stop, too.
How do you get through the workday and hang out with coworkers when you’re on a Spending Fast?
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