Being frugal is an asset in any career path. After all, you never know when markets will shift and your occupation will go from in-demand to “not accepting resumes at this time.” Even when it’s a job seeker’s market, you’re better off knowing how to stretch a dollar. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Which candidate do you want: the one who spends money like it’s his actual job, or the one who can make the budget go just a little bit further?
That said, there are some jobs were being frugal is a necessity. If you have one of these jobs, or are thinking of changing careers to one of them, your ability to save and spend judiciously will serve you in good stead.
When we were kids, back-to-school shopping meant stocking up on supplies for yourself. Nowadays, it’s about filling the communal art supply cupboard. (Or possibly outfitting an entire copy shop. How else can you explain school supply lists that include things like 12 glue sticks and two reams of printer paper?)
Parents find this frustrating, understandably, but there’s a reason for these crazy lists: many schools no longer have a budget for these supplies, and without donations, kids go without.
Still, not everyone can afford to send their kids off to school with 70 brand-name pencils, so teachers often chip in their own cash to make up the difference. Regardless, being able to do more with less is practically an occupational requirement for teachers.
People who work the 9-to-5 grind often dream about owning their own business and being in control of their time, but successful entrepreneurs aren’t sleeping in and spending money on fancy office furniture and long lunches. When you’re working for yourself, you know how much money is worth.
In fact, many fledgling business owners pay themselves last, preferring to pour most of their earnings into developing the business. It’s a strategy that can pay off in the long run, but it requires a willingness to sacrifice now. The longer you can get by on less, however, the longer runway you’ll have to get your new business off the ground and profitable, and the better you’ll be able to weather lean times.
Frugality isn’t about refusing to spend money; it’s about spending wisely. Tax preparers need to advise their clients on deductions they can take today and strategies that will reduce their tax bill even further the next time around. Want to know if that dinner out counts as a business meal, or whether you can deduct the cost of using your personal vehicle for work? Tax preparers are trained to find cash where you’d least expect it.
Office managers do everything from ordering supplies to managing the front of the office to distributing keys and access codes. In everything they do, however, there’s one common theme: keep things running, and don’t waste money doing it. Beyond that, the best office managers are also adept at making sure other employees don’t spend the company’s cash faster than it comes in, by monitoring expenses and keeping costs low.
You can argue about whether or not stay-at-home parent is a job — it doesn’t come with a paycheck, per se, or benefits, and it sure doesn’t come with vacation time — but it’s definitely work. Stay-at-home parents can also add to the family’s bottom line by saving money as well. In some cases, when expenses tally up, stay-at-home parents can save as much or more money than they’d bring in otherwise.
Consider the staggering cost of childcare, plus smaller expenses — like takeout, coffee, gas or a transit pass, a cleaning service, and all the other little things you might wind up paying for when you work outside the home — and staying at home can start to make more financial sense than at first glance.
Having a frugal parent on the home front can relieve expenses even further — and you don’t have to be an extreme couponer to do it, either. (Although, if that appeals, there’s a right way to go about it, so you don’t risk spending more time on the project than it’s worth.) For example, if staying home means you’re able to prepare most meals yourself and rely less on takeout or dining out, that can up add up to hundreds of dollars a month in savings. And if being home allows you to devote a bit more time and headspace to managing your money, you may be surprised by the payoff.
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