The change in work routines due to the pandemic has affected many, with some people seeing the benefits — such as convenience — and others focusing on the negatives, such as the lack of social interaction.
But, while there are pros and cons to working from home, there is one aspect that is definitely a big plus: saving money. In this article, we’ll cover some of the ways in which working from home helps you save money, as well as some tips to cut down on the expenses that do exist under these circumstances.
How Working from Home Saves You Money
Changes in our daily routines — and, as a result, the amount of daily self-maintenance necessary — have led to reduced financial expenses. At first glance, these might seem like minimal costs. But, when you take a look at your budget, you can see how they can pile up into quite a significant amount at the end of the month.
Cutting out the cost of your commute is a big one, and this includes both your money and time spent traveling to and from the office. First of all, if your transportation of choice was public transit, then working from home means there’s no longer a need for daily, weekly, or monthly tickets. This can translate into quite a significant amount.
For instance, if you’re living in an Austin apartment in Windsor Park and your office is in central Austin, you would likely spend 30 to 45 minutes commuting to and from work. But now, working from home, that’s time you can redirect toward a side hustle, a project, a hobby, or yourself. It could also save you up to $40 per month if you would normally purchase a monthly public transit pass.
Moreover, if you previously commuted by car, you’re now saving even more money. From fuel to parking, maintenance, and insurance, all of these costs add up to a whole lot at the end of the month.
Now that you’re no longer required to go to work, you can experiment with wardrobe minimalism to reduce decision fatigue and the cost of having to purchase new clothes. This doesn’t mean you should wear the same clothes every day, but rather get used to a minimal amount of options and utilize them properly.
What’s more, your clothes will also likely last longer during this period because you’re reducing the wear and tear that comes from wearing them out and about. Therefore, try to make your wardrobe more work-from-home-friendly by focusing on items that are comfortable and warm, especially during the winter months.
- Lunches & Coffee
Now that you’re working from home, you can also stop spending money on takeout for lunches at the office. And, because you’re no longer commuting, you probably have time to buy groceries in bulk and prep your meals in advance — or at least cook more at home — which is a healthier option for both your body and your wallet. Along the same lines, you can also take this opportunity to stop buying to-go coffee and make your own, instead. Besides, that daily cup of joe was likely costing you more than you realized in the long run.
How to Reduce Costs When Working from Home
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, let’s address the costs that do exist when working from home and what you can do to save more money.
- Utility Costs
You may have noticed that your electricity, gas, and water consumption have gone up lately as you stay indoors more. However, if you’re mindful of your consumption and try to implement certain new habits, it will be quite easy to cut down on utilities.
First, lower your thermostat temperature by even just a few degrees. Then, if you need to cozy up your place to make up for the lower temperature, add blankets and throw pillows in the areas where you do most of your work and try to wear sweaters or thicker fabrics to stay warm. Don’t go below a level you’re comfortable with, but do remember that even a few degrees make a difference.
Similarly, be mindful about turning off electronic devices and unplugging them when they’re not in use — especially laptops and other devices that can burn electricity passively. Likewise, remember to turn off the lights when you’re not in a room, and be efficient about cooking and doing the dishes, laundry and so on. Also, trying to take shorter showers, remembering to turn off the water when brushing your teeth, and other small adjustments like these can help reduce both your utility bill and your carbon footprint.
- Tax Incentive or Deductions
If you’re a renter and you’ve created a designated area of your home to serve as your home office, you might also be able to deduct part of your rent as a business expense. Or, you might be eligible to receive e-worker relief for working from home. Research how these might apply in your state and individual situation to potentially save some money in this way, as well.
Along the same lines, you could also inquire with your employer as to whether you could receive any sort of compensation for working from home, such as an allowance or discounts. Specifically, ask them for equipment to create your home office if you don’t have everything you need to work comfortably.
These are just some of the ways you can save money while working from home. Plus, with all of the time you save from not going into an actual office, you could also take this opportunity to initiate other income-generating jobs. For instance, creating an online course, starting a podcast or a YouTube channel, doing freelance work, or offering to teach online are just some ideas you can take advantage of during your newly freed uptime.