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Guest Post by Kevin Graham
Managing the stressors of working from home while trying to overcome financial challenges can end up feeling like an impossible feat. If you find yourself feeling weighed down by your current expenses as you adjust from the office to a home office, there are plenty of ways to manage these emotions. By doing the proper research for your current situation and considering the tips below, you’re sure to set yourself up for success both financially and professionally in the coming months.
Prioritize mental health
As your personal and professional lives mesh while working from home, it can be hard to make a separation between the two. When there is no clear distinction between the time needed for yourself and your work hours, your mental health is much more likely to take a hit. Neglecting your mental health during this time will not only impact your productivity, but it can also have negative impacts on your spending habits. Studies have shown that 93% of people admit to spending more when their mental health is suffering. Make sure to prioritize taking regular breaks throughout your day just like you would normally in the office. Though it might be tempting to work through your lunch or to cut down your break time, don’t try and cut corners when it comes to your health. Placing more value on mental health will likely help you feel more motivated during work hours, less stressed about financial commitments, and more in control of your purchases.
Organize your space
It’s hard to stay on top of the bills if you aren’t properly organizing them at home. Whether you’re new to the work from home life or you’ve been at it for a while, an organized office and filing cabinet can go a long way in regards to your overall productivity and success. Mark down some time in the coming weeks to go through both your physical files and your digital ones. In order to tackle financial challenges, you have to have a clear picture of what they are. Make a spreadsheet of your current bills, debts, and spending habits in order to reference them moving forward. Organizing these items will not only help you stay on top of your financial commitments, but it will also eliminate the stress of a messy and distracting workspace both on your actual desk and on your computer desktop.
If you’re finding that your office space itself is not adequate for your working conditions, don’t be afraid to reach out to your employer to discuss any extra items you may need to be successful. Some companies are offering extra equipment or cash in order to help their employees be as productive as possible. Should your employer be unable to help fund home office upgrades, look into how dependable loan options like home equity work as an affordable alternative for an office renovation. Many homeowners opt for such loans due to their fixed rates, however, a personal loan is just as viable an option and can sometimes be easier to obtain. Whatever options you look into, take the time to organize your space and your expenses. This will help relieve both your financial stress and any stress you might feel from professional commitments.
Understand the savings
The next time you start to feel weighed down by your expenses, try and calculate the extra places your money would be going if you were driving into the office each day. From gas savings to over-all vehicle mileage, eliminating your daily commute could be saving you more than you’d think. If you and your partner are both working from home indefinitely, run the numbers on how much you would save by downsizing to one vehicle instead of two. Working from home also decreases the temptation to eat out, especially with the added factor of closed businesses during this time, so try and prioritize making your own lunches as well. Having a clear understanding of where you’re already saving is a great motivator for you to put that extra money away for the future.
Spending the entirety of a workweek at home is bound to increase overall utility usage and cost. Keeping track of this uptick in energy consumption and looking for ways to lessen it can help both your bank account and the planet. Whether you invest in appliances or fixtures that conserve more, or you finally make a habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room, there are simple ways to save if you truly dedicate yourself to making changes. There are even energy monitoring systems you can install at home to money on utilities and be more eco-friendly.
Develop frugal habits
Lastly, there are several frugal habits you can begin to develop while you stay at home. If you have retired the idea of having a physical savings jar, it might be a good time to bring it back out. The next time you clean your house, fill the jar with any loose change you find to get it started and then set aside some cash each week to add to it. Having a visual representation of what you’re saving is a great motivator, and you’d be surprised at how it can add up over time. With any extra free time you’re finding yourself with, consider starting up your first garden. Growing your own produce is the perfect way to keep busy during quarantine, while also saving on having to buy herbs and veggies. Beyond this, try to start reusing and repurposing old items as opposed to buying new. Since store openings are still touch-and-go, use this time to commit yourself to the reuse of kitchen items like ziplock bags and saran wrap. By doing this, you’ll save a few bucks and avoid the trip out. While adopting new frugal habits might feel like a chore at first, they will save you some cash over time, allowing you to have more money in your pockets, and less stress at the end of the day.