does working from home really save money?

Does Working From Home Really Save Money?

How does working from home save money? Will it be better or worse for your budget? In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of telecommuting.  

PROs of Working From Home

You save money on lunch and coffee expenses.

Sure, you can make coffee and lunch at home, but there’s something about that daily latte that’s so hard to give up. Oftentimes, the reason you go out to lunch when you’re at the office is just to get out of the office. When you work at home, you’ll save a lot on these unnecessary expenses. Use your lunch break to take a walk and make a sandwich when you get back. As for coffee, if you can’t live without espresso, consider investing in an espresso machine—you’ll save money in the long run.

You have more time with your pets.

Do you pay a dog walker or pay for doggy daycare? Working at home cuts down on fees for Fido; it’s easy to walk your pup on your lunch break when you’re already at your house. Bonus: If that stressful planning meeting you had via Zoom this morning has you on edge, you can step outside and play fetch for five minutes to clear your head.

You save money on your wardrobe.

Suit and tie on top, sweatpants on the bottom? While it’s better for morale to get up and get ready every morning, even if you’re working from home, the reality is you do cut back on wardrobe costs outside of the office. Why? You generally have to spend money for your work attire—not to mention the cost of dry cleaning—and then buy casual attire (re: athleisure) for outside office hours. 

You save money on your commuting costs.

Probably the most substantial amount of money you save when working from home is on gas mileage, car tune-ups, bus, and subway fares. Depending on your vehicle and the length of your commute, that can really add up! Think of all the time and money you will save getting to and from work. Better yet, think of the benefit to the environment!

CONs of Working From Home

Your utilities might cost more.

When you work from home, you enjoy the benefits of being cozy. You get to control the thermostat to whatever temperature you want, but that can come with a hefty utility price tag if you aren’t careful. Reduce your costs by adopting energy-efficient habits, and help the environment in the process. Move your office to a room with plenty of natural light, throw a blanket over your legs if you’re cold, or use a desktop fan instead of cranking up the A/C on hot days.

You have to buy your own office supplies.

Paper, pens, toner, sticky notes…those are all your responsibility when working from home. There are also office items you may not even think about like light bulbs, toilet paper (if you can find it!) and batteries. That’s not to mention filing cabinets or bookshelves to store your physical paperwork, the expense of having your printer serviced, and other equipment costs. The good news is you may be able to write off some or all of your office expenses—including your home office itself—on your tax return. Check with your CPA or tax advisor for details.

To help flatten the curve of COVID-19, many of us are spending the majority of our time working from home. It’s essential to take the necessary precautions to protect your finances. For more budget-friendly ways to work remotely, and for a list of free financial resources, click here. What other creative ways have you found to reduce unexpected expenses and save money working remotely?

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