Whether you’re self-employed or working for another organisation, being able to work remotely has a lot of advantages for both your home life and your career. But one of the other great advantages of not having to commute to work every day is just how much money it can save you, in both obvious and unexpected ways.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at how working from home is great for your finances, as well as tips on how to make sure you maximise this, avoiding some bad habits that will erode all of your savings.
Budgets are being stretched
Many parts of the country, and the world are experiencing a cost of living increase far above what was expected, and salaries aren’t keeping up with this increase, meaning that many people are essentially earning less. Finding ways to consolidate and debt with short term loans for bad credit or lower interest rates is one way to lower monthly payments.
Reducing unnecessary spending and changing shopping habits can also offset some of the rising costs too. Each person’s situation is different but many people are facing similar problems, which is why working from home can be an appealing option.
Unless you live within walking distance of your place of work, then it’s going to cost you money to commute to work and back every day. Buying travel passes or running a vehicle all adds up over the month.
Some people decide to get rid of their vehicle or drop from two to one car for the family. Even if you’re still using you’re vehicle, you’re saving money on fuel, tolls, parking and wear and tear.
While a few very disciplined people take their homemade lunch to work every day, the rest of us seem to rely on local food places or hit the coffee and vending machines a little too often. Throw in a few lunches with co-workers, and a substantial portion of your paycheque is being spent on food and drink.
If you go back to work before your children are school-aged, then you’re looking at a substantial bill for private childcare every month. In fact, the price of child care is a reason that many people don’t go back to work at all until their children are older. Even when your children are at school, this doesn’t always line up with office hours, which means that you still need to pay for wraparound childcare to cover the extra time before and after work.
Working from home can reduce a lot of these childcare costs, if not remove them altogether depending on your circumstances.
If you work full-time and also have dogs, then you’re probably paying for them to be walked, or put them into a dog day care. Leaving them at home all day while you’re at work isn’t an option. It’s not cheap to get this kind of care either. But working from home not only removes this cost from your budget, but means that you can get some exercise during the day with your four-legged friend.
You no longer have to buy a whole wardrobe full of clothes to go to work every day. That’s not to say that you don’t have to make an effort when you’re working from home, but you certainly don’t need a special uniform of office dress for your video calls. If you do still need to go into the office from time to time, or meet clients, then your work clothes are going to last a lot longer, as you won’t be wearing them as much and therefore won’t need to replace them as often.
If you enjoy exercising, then you might be a member of the gym. Many people choose gyms close to their offices, which means that you’re at the mercy of their membership prices. Working from home gives you mich more flexibility. You can find a gym near your house, and with the benefit of no daily commute, you can take advantage of off-peak memberships, which cost less. Or you may cut out the gym membership altogether and instead exercise at home or outdoors in your local area.
Working from a dedicated space in your home can also bring the added benefit of reducing your tax bill. The amount you can claim will depend on a few factors, but you can claim certain bills and proportions of repairs and maintenance to your property too. Check with an accountant to ensure you’re claiming what you’re entitled to.
Mobile Phone Bills
Travelling to the office, streaming music and searching the web all use up the data tariff on your phone. When you’re working at home, you’ll be able to connect to your home wi-fi system, meaning that it’s possible to move to a cheaper tariff.
Additional Costs of Working From Home
There are some areas of your budget that won’t benefit from working at home. These include:
Expect your energy bills to go up when you start working from home. Running your equipment, or heating and cooling your home all add up.
Home Office Set-Up Costs
If you’re planning on remote working for the long term, then you’re going to need a suitable place to do it from. Setting up a home office can be done on a small budget, or you might go all the way and completely renovate sections of your house to accommodate your new working arrangement.
Though you’ll be saving a lot of money on food at the office, you still need to eat. This is going to raise the cost of your weekly groceries.
Maximising The Savings Of Working From Home
While it’s clear that remote working can save you a lot of money, there are some bad habits that you can slip into that can cost you more money than it should. This includes:
Try and keep on top of your energy bills by following some common sense tips. Turn off any unnecessary heating or air con in rooms that aren’t being used. Get dressed properly and wrap up rather than switching the central heating on all day. Get your heating and air conditioning serviced as inefficient systems cost more money to run and are at more likely to break down, making them even more expensive to repair or replace.
Computer equipment can be a a drain on energy too. Choose energy efficient models and swap out your light bulbs in your home office for energy saving ones.
With energy prices rising, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re on the best tariff for your energy needs. Shop around to see if there are better deals out there.
Shop Smart, Eat Smart
It can be so tempting to have food delivered while you’re hard at work. After all, when there are apps that can have take-out to your door in minutes. Not only is it bad for your budget, but it’s not very healthy either.
The best way to save money is to plan your meals in advance. By doing this, you can shop only for what you need, reducing wastage, and prep your meals in advance. By cooking and storing your meals in a refrigerator or freezer, you can save a lot of time. You health will thank you too as you’re not constantly reaching for unhealthy snacks.
Take Advantage Of Company Perks
Some businesses offer grants or one off payments to workers choosing to work from home. This is usually used for equipment, office furniture and other items needed to make the environment suitable for you to be productive in. Ask if there is any help available to you. If not, it may be a suggestion that you can make to the HR department.
Look For Creative Ways To Save Money
It may take some creative thinking, but there are other ways to make remote work better for your budget. For example, if you go to a hair salon or beauty parlour, because they were open around your working commitments, then you may be able to take advantage of offers that they have for using their services during quieter times.
You could even switch to a mobile hairdresser, who can come to your home and do you hair for a fraction of the usual price. Because they don’t have traditional overheads of running a business, they can charge less.
There’s more and more research pointing to the fact that remote working can be great for productivity, health, work life balance and your financial health too. Now more than ever, we need to save all the money we can.
By keeping track of your income and setting a budget, you can see where you need to make changes in order to spend your money as wisely as possible. You’ll find that many of the costs of going to work disappear for you, but you can make these go even further by getting into some good habits too.