Frugal Living

5 Ways Working From Home Will Save You Money And 5 Ways It Could Cost You More

During the pandemic, many of us have experienced drastic changes to our lifestyle which will impact our yearly budgets. In 2020 many businesses had to adjust to remote working. For employees who have begun to work from home, there are many benefits. The flexibility offered by home working and the lack of a daily commute is appealing to many. However, there are drawbacks too. The separation between work and home life is blurred, and the chance to focus can be difficult if you have pets or young children in the home. Home working might be affecting your monthly budget too. Here are five ways home working could save you money and five ways it can cost you. 

How Home Working Could Save You Money

Car Insurance 

If you are using your car a lot less then, you should look again at your car insurance coverage options. Many insurers will ask you to estimate your annual or monthly mileage to help them assess how frequently the car is on the road. If you are not commuting in and out of work five days every week, then your mileage will be much lower than you estimated. Approach insurance companies to obtain new quotes more fitted to your remote working lifestyle. You can always increase your coverage if your car use goes up again. 

Fuel or Travel Tickets

Sticking on the topic of the daily commute, you will also save money from reduced demand for fuel. If you do not use your car to get to work, you may also expect to spend less on train or bus tickets. If you have an annual pass for commuting, consider canceling it and reducing that cost. If you begin to commute again, you can always buy a new pass and fill your car up again. 

Lunch Out

According to a survey conducted by Fooda 90% of American’s buy at least one lunch a week. Eating out every week at a cafe or restaurant or even a staff canteen can count up over a year. By working from home, the temptation to eat out is reduced, as is the need for meeting clients over lunch. By eating food prepared in your kitchen you will see your weekly spending go down. The value of this saving will relate to how often you eat out and the price of the establishments you eat at. 

Outfits

Business News Daily reports nearly half of all American office workers can spend up to $250 on our apparel, with 35% of us spending up to $749 on smart suits and formal wear. However, that cost is expected to reduce with home working. As you will not be seeing colleagues every day, the need for smart attire is reduced. Many of us can work from home without needing to put on a full suit, as home working is more relaxed than an office environment. However, it is wise to keep some money back as you may still need a shirt and tie or similar smart clothing for video conferencing calls. 

Tax Breaks 

Depending on the country and state you live in, you may get a tax break for working from home. The laws about what you can claim back from your tax will vary depending upon where you live. It is sensible to approach a local accountant to ask if there are any tax breaks you could apply for in your municipality. If you do not use an accountant, then look up the local, state, and federal laws that might apply to you. Try to keep receipts related to any equipment or bills you needed to pay while working from home, so you have evidence if you can claim money back. 

How Home Working Can Cost You Money

Increased Utility Bills

When you are working in an office, then your house may be empty for the majority of the day. If you live in a family household with a partner that also works and children in school, then the demands on heating and electricity will come in the evening when you are at home. IF you begin to work from home, you will gradually see your heating and electricity costs increase to account for the new hours you are spending in the abode. Try to remember that bills will increase with home working and you should take this into account when trying to predict future costs. 

Increased Subscription Services

You may need to consider your cell phone plan as you may now need to use your phone to make business calls. Approach your employer and ask if they can contribute to these costs. You may also need to install and subscribe to software on your PC or laptop. Most employers should front the cost of video conferencing software if they expect employees to use it frequently. However, you may wish to create a personal account, so you have more flexibility of when and who you can use it with. This is particularly useful if you are interviewing for positions in other companies, during the year. 

Stationery and Office Equipment

In your office, you may have a constant supply of pens and post-it notes at your disposal. If you are used to using these in your work, you will have to stock up your home too. This may be a minimal cost, but equipping your home with office space can be costly. Working from a bed or sofa will put a strain on your body over time. If you are regularly working from home you should consider purchasing a good desk and ergonomic chair. These can set you back a few hundred dollars if you want to get high-quality, well-reviewed furniture. 

Loss Of Networking Opportunities

The water cooler in the workplace is often synonymous with office gossip, but it can be a crucial networking opportunity too. Getting to know your superiors and hearing about any opportunities for promotion is all part of climbing a corporate ladder. Remote working may result in a loss of networking opportunities that could potentially hurt chances for increasing your salary. Similarly, working from home means you are less likely to attend external events like industry conferences or trade shows where you can meet other employers in your industry. 

Paper

If you work in an industry that relies on printed documentation, then your home printer may not be able to cope with the increased volume. You may need to upgrade your printer to a more robust model. Even if your printer is up to the job, the cost of paper alone can add up. According to Restore Digital, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of printed paper a year. This is a significant increase if you only occasionally print out the odd ticket or packaging label at home. 

Whether working from home will save or cost you money, in the long run, will ultimately be decided on how much each of these factors could cost or save you. If you do a long commute, then you will save more money than someone whose office is on their doorstep. If you are a keen networker then the loss may be harder to quantify. However, after a few months of working at home, you should compare your bank account statements to a similar period working in the office. The comparison will allow you to see where you are making savings and where you are spending more. Think creatively about how you can maximize your income and spend less. It may be that you wish to do a mix of home working and working in the office in the future to get the best of both worlds. 

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