Thirty seven percent of workers have telecommuted, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. Thanks to technology, many people are now discovering that they can earn just as much money (if not more) by doing part or all of their jobs from their own home. Those of you who are considering working remotely should also consider how much money telecommuting could save you.
Going to work can be expensive, but working needn’t be so. Whether you are your own boss or a valuable employee who works remotely, here are a few ways in which working from home might cost you less:
1. Transportation Expenses
Many people who ditch the daily commute save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. According to AAA, a gallon of gas costs about $2 in 2016. If you commute 30 miles at 25 MPG then you will save $624 per year just by staying home.
Rush hour or actual parking lot? You tell me.
Of course, the savings don’t stop there. You will also save money in auto repair and maintenance due to wear and tear, and you will also not have to worry about paying for parking or tolls. Furthermore, some couples and small families find that they are even able to get by with only one car instead of two (for those of you who are not familiar with day-to-day living in the U.S., throughout the past few decades it has been common for families with two adults to own two or more cars). This means that you will spend less money on insurance, make fewer car payments, and spend less interest on those car payments.
Although some do save a few bucks by using mass transportation, driving a car is still far and away the most popular way for Americans to get to and from work.
2. Time Really is Money
Also consider time spent in the car or on the train. The average American spends 25.4 minutes per day just on the commute to work, which implies almost an hour of total travel time per day. Here in the Washington D.C. metro area, it is not unusual for people to waste three hours per day on the road!
What would you do with an extra hour or three? I use the time to do chores, enjoy hobbies, play with my baby girl, or, frequently, to get some extra work done. If you earn an average of $25 per hour then you stand to earn up to $6,500 more per year just by cutting out your daily commute.
3. Less Eating Out (Potentially)
The temptation to spend 10 bucks on a burrito is much less pronounced outside of an office setting, where our peers take what sometimes feel like coordinated turns in applying pressure to splurge on a convenient but expensive meal. Moreover, a snack that you picked up at the grocery store will cost significantly less than something out of a vending machine and will likely be far more nutritious.
4. Office Space
This is especially applicable to entrepreneurs who value efficiency. Your rent or mortgage and utilities payments can serve a dual function in your business’ overhead. Rent on a 700sq. ft. office in my city begins at $400 per month, not including utilities.
Depending on the size and nature of your work space, you might even qualify for a home office deduction so that you owe less in taxes.
5. Business Attire and Dry-Cleaning Expenses
Although many work-from-homers get dressed and groom themselves each day, there is far less pressure to invest in expensive, dry-clean-only fabrics. In fact, such garments can only really be considered an investment if you are meeting face-to-face with someone else.
My husband and I enjoy the freedom to create our own “office” dress code, and we both favor cottons that are affordable to purchase and to clean. As a woman, I feel for my friends who are sometimes pressured by their bosses into wearing full makeup (as opposed to a lower-maintenance approach) every single weekday, which is also a costly venture in terms of both money and time. See number 2.
Bonus: Childcare Expenses
I can already feel the frustrated comments from my fellow hard-working (read: perpetually exhausted) parents of young children. Please allow me to clarify:
Paid childcare can be a necessity even when you work from home. Toddlers are rarely content to play by themselves for an hour while Mommy or Daddy writes a few pages. This struggle is even more real for parents whose job involves remote meetings. What working from home affords us are choices. A parent may be able to save money by hiring a mothers’ helper instead of a nanny or by joining a childcare co-op with other work-from-home parents. Some parents are able to make due with part-time childcare instead of full time. A few parents are even able to avoid paying for childcare altogether; especially if both parents have flexible schedules or if eager grandparents live nearby.
Working at home has been a tremendous blessing for my family. Not only do we earn money and save money, but we reduce our carbon footprint and spend more time together.
How has working at home affected your life and budget?