Save money by working at home
I’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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Make 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.