Heading back to the office? Prepare to add these 3 expenses back into your budget

Employees are heading back to work as COVID-19 worries fall, but there will be new expenses to add to their budgets.  (iStock)

Americans can expect to pay more for goods and services amid surging inflation, but as COVID-19 cases drop across the country, there may be more expenses to keep in mind as employees head back to the office.

Inflation reached another 40-year high in February, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rising 7.9% over the last year, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It marked the highest annual inflation rate growth since January 1982, and also surpassed records set the previous two months.

As inflation rises, millions of Americans are heading back to their workplaces, many for the first time since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. In fact, the number of people working from home at the beginning of 2022 dropped to a new pandemic low of 14.4%, according to a report by MarketWatch. The report added that at the start of the pandemic, about 35% of employees — 50 million — worked from home. 

Those now returning to the office will have some expenses to adjust their budgets for, that they hadn't had for the previous two years. Keep reading to learn about what those are, and if you're looking to save money on monthly expenses as inflation rises, consider refinancing your mortgage at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to find your personalized interest rate without affecting your credit score.


Although many companies are maintaining a hybrid workplace model to allow employees to mix remote and in-office working throughout the week, the change from solely working from home could result in added expenses for many. As the spread of COVID-19 diminishes across the country, there are three financial factors professionals may want to consider when creating budgets for the year ahead as they return to their offices.

1. Commuting

Driving to the office once again will have an impact on employees' wallets due to a rise in gas prices. The current national average price per gallon of gasoline is more than $4, according to data from AAA, which is significantly higher than a year ago, one year into the COVID-19 pandemic (just under $3 per gallon).

Surging gas prices were the driving force behind rising inflation from January to February of this year, according to the CPI, accounting for one-third of monthly inflation. Recent actions taken by the Biden administration to ban U.S. imports of Russian oil could cause gas prices to surge even higher, too.

Consumers looking to save money as they pay more at the pump could consider taking out a personal loan at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to find your personalized interest rate without affecting your credit score.


2. Child care costs

Working adults with children may need to soon begin paying for child care once again as they move away from working from their households. In 2021, Americans who paid for child care received a higher tax benefit, since the expanded child tax credit rose from 30% to 50% of what families paid, up to $8,000 per child or $16,000 per family for eligible individuals. 

However, the increase was a temporary component of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, and won't apply to child care paid for this year. Because of this, families should begin to prepare to pay for child care services like day care centers or for caregivers as they head back to their work sites. 

3. Going out to eat

Finally, employees may begin to eat more often at restaurants than before due to their return to office. Eating out could also cost more than what it did before the pandemic began, pushed upward by inflation and supply shortages, as well as a worker shortage in labor markets.

Food and labor costs are expected to remain high in 2022, and conversely, grocery prices could jump 20% by summer, according to New York City supermarket chain CEO John Catsimatidis.

Another way that consumers could save money each month is through refinancing private student loans. Contact Credible to speak to a student loan expert and get all of your questions answered.

Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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