Working from home typically comes with a slight pay cut, but the savings can actually lead to having more money because there are a number of cost-savings associated with working from home that can more than make up the difference.
Here are 7 ways that working from home saves you money, including the obvious costs and some that you may not have considered before.
If you work from home full-time, you immediately eliminate any costs associated with your commute, whether they be from driving to work, taking public transportation, tolls and parking. Even if you’re walking or biking to work, you’ll wind up with lower bike maintenance costs and fewer pairs of sneakers to buy.
2. Car Maintenance
Consumer Reports estimates the median cost of annual car maintenance is $312, which only includes maintenance and repairs. If you factor in lowered insurance costs and slower depreciation from driving your vehicle less, that savings can rise significantly.
It may not seem like much, but every little bit helps when you’re potentially taking a decreased salary to work at home.
3. Dry Cleaning & Laundering
The average professional spends between $600 and $1,000 each year on dry cleaning. If you’re working from home, you don’t have to worry about maintaining a professional wardrobe, which often has to be dry cleaned. Let’s face it, no one ever went broke dry cleaning their flannel pajamas.
4. Lunches & Coffee
Eating out on a regular basis is costly. Let’s assume you’re a fairly thrifty person and you have lunch out with coworkers twice each week at $5 a pop. Throw in a morning coffee twice a week for $3 each, and you’re spending $16 each week, or $832 each year eating out while working in a regular office. Telecommuting makes it much easier to make lunches and coffee at home, which won’t eliminate your food and coffee expenses entirely, but will certainly bring them down.
5. Professional Wardrobe
Clothing and apparel accounts for an average of $1,881 every year. Assuming even half of that is spent on a professional wardrobe (because you still need casual clothes), that’s an instant savings of $590 when you work from home. And if your office job requires to wear a suit to work every day, your cost savings will probably be much higher.
Those extra 260 hours annually the average telecommuter finds by ditching their daily commute can lend themselves to a variety of tasks that you’d otherwise put off, some of which can save us money. With all those extra hours you can donate your time rather than your money to charity, you can cook more at home and spend less on take-out for dinner, you’ll have time to DIY rather than hire a pro for minor home repairs, and so on. Not to mention much more time with your family or friends — something doesn’t have a price tag. Needless to say there are countless ways that having more time will save you more money.
7. Better Health
Though a much less tangible cost, lowering your overall daily stress level can really add up to big savings over time. Commuting to and from work stresses most people out, whether you’re dealing with heavy traffic, packed trains, or extreme weather conditions. This daily stress can add up, leading to higher medical and therapeutic bills over your lifetime.
It’s not easy to calculate the average savings that someone might experience by ditching the stress of their daily commute, but it’s foolish to ignore the possibilities.
So, the next time you consider the salary difference between an in-office job and a telecommuting job, be sure to take into consideration all the different ways working from home can save you money. Opting for a smaller salary to be able to work from home might be the smarter choice after all.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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