Work Perks: Don’t Miss Out on These 6 Money-Saving Employee Benefits
While struggling to write my work department’s monthly newsletter, I decided to browse our company’s internal website for inspiration.
I ended up stumbling onto the employee discount page. I was amazed at the breadth of discount codes available for eco-friendly flowers and gym memberships. There was even a $20 credit for a local food delivery service.
I work in HR, but I was still unaware of the savings available to employees. It got me thinking: What other deals don’t we know about that are available through employers?
Turns out many companies offer a gold mine of savings. Why not save some of the money you’re working hard to earn?
Check whether you can get any of these six money-saving ideas through your employer.
1. Company Discounts
You’d be surprised about the discounts your employer might offer.
I switched phone carriers a few years ago. I remembered seeing a flyer saying if we mentioned our company name when opening an account, we’d receive a $50 credit.
When I provided the code to my new carrier, I received the credit and was told I also was eligible for a 20% monthly employer discount.
It saved me $11 per month. What I thought would be a one-time discount ended up saving me hundreds during my employment!
Many employers offer a variety of discounts, from cell phone plans to gym membership -- even pet insurance.
Your company may have internal discount pages for employees. If not, just stop by Human Resources. They should be able to give you a list of all your eligible savings.
2. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
There tends to be some confusion about how FSAs work.
Essentially, if you have medical, dependent or transit expenses, you’re paying for, you could be saving money!
These accounts let you set aside pre-tax money for eligible expenses: costs such as co-pays and prescriptions, dependent care (daycare) and work-related transit spending (train passes, parking fees for the work parking garage).
Each year, I know I’ll need contact lenses, so I make sure to set aside money to cover that expense. Everyone’s different, but if you know you’re going to have certain expenses, take advantage of the tax savings.
It’s important to remember these accounts may have a “use it or lose it” caveat.
Basically, use all the money set aside within a certain time frame -- generally by the end of the calendar year with a potential grace period -- or you’ll forfeit the money.
3. Medical Bill Saver
Some companies have a service within employee medical plans people don’t know about -- it’ll negotiate medical bills on your behalf.
If you’ve ever received a huge medical bill and got caught in the doctor’s office/insurance company phone tangle, you know what a pain it can be.
This free service can save you not only money, but also the massive headache!
The best part is it may not be limited to just employees -- it might work for spouses, children, parents and if you are feeling generous, parents-in-law.
4. Wellness Programs
Whether these programs are administered through the employer or insurance company, there’s a trend toward rewarding healthy employees.
In fact, you could be receiving savings from both your employer and the insurance company.
One company I worked for lowered my monthly insurance premium if my blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI were in healthy ranges.
My insurance plan also had a program to award points for activities, such as walking and my yearly physical. I could then redeem for gift cards! It was a win/win for both my health and bank account. (Not to mention if you sell them on Raise…)
Many companies also offer discounted gym memberships -- or even have an office gym. My current company has a workout area called the “MeltAway” room, a great place to melt away the pounds and stress!
If you’re thinking of continuing your education or volunteering your money or time, see if your employer has any assistance programs.
In my line of work, there’s a specific certification I wanted to get -- but it’s pricy. I found out my employer would pay for classes to prepare for the test. I’d have to pay for the actual exam, but would be reimbursed if I passed. Talk about motivation to pass!
Thankfully, I did, and now I have an invaluable certification for the rest of my career at no cost to me.
If you’re interested in volunteering, check if your company will help out.
One company I worked at allowed employees to “pitch” their volunteer organization. If the executives were “sold,” the company would make a donation to the volunteer organization of the employee’s choice.
Another company offered each employee two volunteer days -- in addition to their paid time off! They could volunteer without touching their vacation time.
6. Free (or Greatly Discounted!) Office Equipment
One day, my husband came home and asked if we needed a desk.
He saw my perplexed face and told me his company was remodeling their office -- and he could bring home his old desk for free!
When offices upgrade equipment or remodel, there’s the possibility you could score discounted or free office decor and equipment!
A co-worker recently mentioned to the IT manager she was looking for a good deal on a printer. It just so happened we were about to upgrade the office printers and didn’t need the old equipment.
She asked if she could pay $25 for the printer. They said sure -- and threw in a bunch of free ink!
Not all employers offer the above benefits, but it can’t hurt to ask. You never know what perks your company offers until you do!
Your Turn: What work perks did we forget? Let us know in the comments!
Laura Niebauer Palmer is a coupon-aholic who works in Human Resources. Her goal is to find fun and creative ways to make and save money. Some of her faves include mystery shopping, teaching writing and being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune!