Many people like the idea of working from home. For some, it’s simply more comfortable. For others, it promotes better work-life balance. But did you know that working from home could help you keep your budget under control? One study showed that remote workers save about $4,000 a year in comparison to their commuting counterparts. If you are wondering where that savings comes from, here’s a look at the costs that typically fall.
When you work from one, you completely eliminate your daily commute. There’s no need to drive to an office every day or pay for public transportation.
Exactly how much you save depends on your situation. However, you can figure it out. Just compare the distance of your commute to your miles per gallon figure. Then, factor in the price of gas.
For example, if your commute was 20 miles each way and your car gets 30 miles to the gallon, you use about 1 1/3 gallons of gas every day you drive to work. Suggesting you work five days a week, 52 weeks a year, that’s nearly 347 gallons of fuel annually.
Multiply that by the average gas price ($1.81 as of May 7, 2020, according to AAA), and that means you spend $628.07 fueling your commute. When you work from home, that cost disappears.
But that isn’t the only expense that tumbles when you stop commuting. Your car maintenance needs also diminish. By driving fewer miles, your brakes and tires last longer. You also get more time before you have to take care of other forms of maintenance, like flushing a transmission, replacing a serpentine belt, and more.
Even those who use public transit save. You can skip the daily bus, subway, train, or ferry fares, for example. Since you aren’t heading to the office, that could bring that budget line item down significantly.
Professional Dress and Dry Cleaning
If you work in a professional setting, your clothing and dry cleaning costs could be substantial. For example, people may spend between $500 and $1,500 a year on dry cleaning alone. Plus, consumers spend about $1,866 on apparel every year. If half of that goes to work clothing, that’s $933.
When you work from home, you reduce your need for professional apparel and the cleaning services that come along with it. While you may still need a nice outfit or two for certain occasions, that’s far less than what you’d require to head to the workplace dressed appropriately five days a week.
Women may also have opportunities to save even more. For example, if they aren’t going to the office, they may decide to forgo makeup more often. One study estimated that women use the equivalent of $8 of products on their faces every day. That’s $2,080 a year for those who work five days a week.
Even if women still put on makeup for a weekly video call, that would only cost $416. That’s a $1,664 savings.
Food and Drinks
If you typically snagged a coffee from a café in the morning on your way to work and also grabbed lunch from a restaurant, that pattern may stop when you start working from home. As a result, your food-related spending may be dramatically lower.
For example, if you spend $5 on a cup of coffee each day, five days a week, that’s $1,040 a year. Then, if you spent $9 on lunch, that’s another $2,340.
Even if you splurge and use K-cups at home, you’ll typically spend less than $2 a cup. That’s a $780 savings right there. You may need $4 worth of ingredients to make a decent lunch, creating another potential savings of $1,300.
In total, you could reduce your food costs by around $2,080 if your spending patterns mimic those. That’s pretty substantial.
By working from home, you might be able to avoid child care costs. If your kids require only limited supervision, you may be able to work while they are home. That creates a chance to sidestep this expense completely.
But, even if they need your full attention, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. For example, you can work while your children are at school and pause once they get home. Then, when your spouse gets home, your spouse can take over, and you can get back to work.
Considering that the average cost for after-school care is $244 a week, that’s a potential savings of $12,688 every year. That could make any juggling you have to do completely worthwhile.
Ultimately, working from home creates serious opportunities to lower your financial burdens. Exactly how many expenses you can avoid depends on your unique situation. However, there’s a decent chance you’ll easily save a few hundred dollars a month, and maybe much more. If your money isn’t going as far as you’d like, it’s certainly a career approach that’s work exploring, giving you a chance to get your budget under better control.
Do you work from home? Does it help you keep your budget under control? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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