Save money by working at home

By glblguy

working-from-homeI’ve been working from home full-time now for about 5 months and I’ve very quickly come to realize that not only is it far more enjoyable, but it’s saving me money. Here’s how it’s reduced my expenses:

Gas/Commuting

When I was driving back and forth to work each day, I was spending roughly $200 a month in gas alone, not to mention the more difficult to calculate wear and tear on my vehicle. Now, I spend about $80 for work related travel as I do go into the office once a month. Net savings: $120.00.

While I lived close enough to my work office that it didn’t benefit me, if you have a fairly long commute and begin working from home, you can most likely save money on your car insurance. Many insurance companies offer discounts for drivers commuting short distances (or not commuting at all). Call your insurance company and ask about their policy.

Clothing

My office environment is business casual, meaning dress slacks, nice shirt, and nice shoes. My home office environment is anything goes. I generally wear jeans, although I will admit to spending the whole day in my pajamas occasionally. This has resulted in a reduction in our clothing budget. Not much just yet, as I don’t purchase new clothes for work very often, but over the long haul I would expect this to be a considerable amount.

The other advantage is that the dress clothes I do purchase for going to church, out to dinner at nice restaurants and to visit the office once a month should last far longer due to reduced wear and tear.

Food

One of the nicest benefits of working from home is being able to eat at home. I am guilty of still going out to lunch once a week, but it’s purely for the sake of just getting out of the house for a bit. The remainder of the week I eat lunch at home, which has saved me considerably. Prior to working from home I was spending on average $5 – $7 a day on lunch at work. That equates to $100 – $140 per month.

Now I eat at home and spend considerably less money and get the benefit of healthier options. The only disadvantage is that you have to be careful to not overeat!

Time is money

One of the more interesting things I’ve found about working from home is that I have far less distractions. I seem to get far more work done in far less time than I did working from the office. I would suspect some of this is the result of less social interaction. In addition, the 45 minutes or so I spent commuting to and from work each day has now turned into productive work time instead of time wasted sitting in the car.

As a result of both of these items my productivity has significantly increased. I’ve found myself getting things done that have been on my todo list for far too long. I’ve also found that I have time to be more innovative, meaning that I can think through of our processes and work on making them more efficient. I seldom had time to to do this before.

Taxes

You have to be careful with this one and you should certainly discuss any potential benefits with a tax accountant, but when working from home you’re entitled to a number of tax benefits, which can include:

  • Depreciating your computer and office equipment
  • Office furniture
  • Your home office space itself (if it’s dedicated to working from home)
  • Internet and business phone expenses

There are others as well that are a little less clear, but these are definitely items you should look into. Find yourself a good tax accountant and discuss the many options for deductions available to you. It could result in a significant tax savings for you.

Other benefits of working from home

In addition to saving money, I’ve found that working from home offers a number of other benefits including:

  • Better balance of family and work life
  • Less time off from work
  • Less stressful
  • More comfortable

If you have the option of being able to work at home, even if only for a few days a week, it’s an option you should seriously consider. If you aren’t able to work at home currently, talk to your manage about doing a one day a week trial just to see how it goes.

Money Saving MondayMake sure you are more productive during the trail period AND make sure you are just as available. Doing so will be leverage you can use at the next discussion to continue the trial and maybe even let you work more days from home.

Also, make sure you’re flexible. Be at work for mandatory meetings and if you’re needed in the office, make sure you head in. The goal is to have your employer not only see that you working from home has no negative impact to your job, but in fact a positive impact.

This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.


15 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Save money by working at home”

  1. Christina Says:

    This is so true! My husband is a community college instructor who teaches some of his courses online. This allows him to work from home two days a week during the school year, and he’s able to work entirely from home in the summer. We definitely have noticed a cost savings since he’s taken on the job, and it is nice to have the flexibility, too.

    Great post!

  2. Miranda Says:

    I love that I work from home. It provides peace of mind as well as savings.

  3. DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad.com Says:

    Great Post! You hit all the key points.

    I work on two extremes: from home and on the road.

    While I love seeing new places, I definitely get more done from home . . .

  4. Queen of the Road Says:

    I’ve been working at home for years and love it – for all the reasons you state. One warning though: Once you do it, it’ll be very difficult to make the transition back to an office if you ever have to.

    Also, my accountant advised against taking the home office deduction because we were planning to sell our home within a few years.

  5. Stew Says:

    I would love to work from home, but my children are still pretty young, I don’t think they can understand, “don’t interrupt daddy, he is at work even though he is sitting right there” yet. It might work if I had a sound proof room on a different floor and with its own bathroom.

    The eating thing would be a problem too, I keep no food in my office at work because I tend to eat every piece of food within a radius of a two minute walk.

  6. Baker @ ManVsDebt Says:

    I’ve recently grown very attached to working at home due to all the reasons you’ve noted. One thing to mention (which could be another post altogether) is making sure that you have a routine that allows you to work as effectively from home as at work. This has been hard for me… I have to make sure to get “dressed” for work even if I’m working from home, etc…

  7. Craig Says:

    Working at home would be ideal for me, for a lot of the reasons you mention. Specifically the fact that you save on gas, and save on time. I know that may not translate into dollars per say, but having more time by not commuting, can give you more time for hobbies, or to get some errands done.

  8. dramon Says:

    One downside you fail to mention is that you have to be disciplined about working and also not working.

    It is tempting to answer the door and chat with neighbors. One the other end of the spectrum it is also temmpting to never leave the office and continue to do the ‘one more thing’.

    While overall I like it, I miss the face to face interaction with people.

  9. plonkee Says:

    I hate it. It costs me money in heating (no one is at home all day normally), I get cabin fever being stuck in the house all day and there’s no social interaction. But most of that is because I live on my own. The only good thing is not having to put nice clothes on, but then I spend as much on my play clothes as I do on my work clothes given half the chance. Whether working from home is good or not probably depends on other lifestyle factors.

  10. J. Money Says:

    Yeah I think i’d go pretty crazy too being inside all the time w/out any face-to-face interaction, but I could totally see the financial benefits from it. Perhaps i’d need to pick up a side gig, say at Starbucks or something, so i can blog full-time but then also see people :) I think I would be perfectly content with that.

    Great post.

  11. dramon Says:

    Another comment. I work for a large multinatioal company. There is no argument about the ability to offshore your job if you are never in the office. It means your job can be done by anyone with an internet connection.

    While not all companies work like this some do.

  12. Michelle Says:

    I am too ADD to work from home–there is always cleaning to do, tivo’d shows to watch, my dog to play with, the list goes on and on. As a nurse, I absolutely love the separation that I am able to achieve with my life and my job: I may work 12 hour shifts, but once I clock out, I am OUT, mind and body. When I am home, I AM HOME. My work does not follow me.

    I totally understand the financial advantages to working from home, but for me, it would probably end up being a disadvantage as I’d randomly get cabin fever and go out to lunch or shopping on a whim. So for all you home-workers, I admire your discipline–but I do not envy you.:)

  13. Kenny Says:

    I have been working from home off and on since 1992, and I can tell you that I have been keeping a tally of the savings (as you mention) above with an update to my numbers every 2-3 years. It is just amazing how much savings I have amassed (and kept) by working at home off and on, esp. with company giving me the expenses to work at home such a dial-up line + 2nd phone line (in 1990′s), migrating to free broadband (Comcast), and then I started testing the Digital Phone lines in Chicago for Comcast (which was fun, since phone calling worldwide was free for 5 months) etc. Printer ink, phone calls, clothes, ironing, dry-cleaning, supplies, phones, lunch, drinks, no-Starbucks, free furniture from one company, no gas/commute/mileage, car maintenance etc etc etc etc was great.

    I say was since in 2009, I have now to go back to work to manage my team since this new organization needs people ‘in’ the office. What a backwards way of doing business, and yet they call themselves ‘Green’.

    We shall see how long it lasts (my job, or my commute)!!!!!

    Good hearing from all of you guys.

    Kenny

  14. Beta Says:

    I would love to work from home, but I am not sure where i can find a job like that

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