Working from home has many perks. One of them is saving money.
If you have been working from home for some time, you have been saving cash in a variety of ways, such as not having to commute or not having to buy lunch every day. With the likelihood that you might continue to work from home for some time, you might want to look at ways in which you can not only continue to save money but find new ways to do so.Read More »
Here are tips to help you save money, whether you are already working from home or just starting out to do so, from myFICO, the consumer division of FICO, a data analytics company based in San Jose, Calif.
• Ask about reimbursement.
Inquire from your employer whether the company can reimburse you for expenses that you are incurring.
Among these expenses are software (which you might need to spend money on upgrading), your computer, office supplies—including paper, pencils, pens, and printer ink—and subscriptions to an internet service.
If you speak regularly to your office on the telephone, you might look at receiving reimbursement for the cost of your phone, too.
Although no federal legislation requires an employer to cover these expenses, some states require companies to pay for essential business costs for their employees. Among them are Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, California, Iowa, Montana, and the District of Columbia.
Note that even though you are working from home you fail to qualify for a tax deduction for your home office if you are working for a company. That tax write off is available only for those who run their own company from their home.
• Use equipment you already have.
If you are setting up your home office space or refiguring it, look for equipment you might already have.
Check your garage, storage units and other places where items might be gathering dust but will prove useful in your home office.
• Check out a Buy Nothing group
If you have a Buy Nothing group in your area check out to see if there are office supplies or furniture that people no longer need and are willing to give away.
You might want to swap items you no longer use by giving them to the Buy Nothing group and picking up items you can use.
• Search online for less costly items.
Should you need to improve your home office space, look for deals or sales on supplies, furniture, and equipment. You might need to make your home office more ergonomically correct; your chair, for example, might not be suitable for long hours spent at the computer and might be doing you harm. Search online for the best deal.
Check for times when annual deals on software or subscriptions are offered.
• Use natural sources of light.
If possible set up a space in which you will work from home near a window where you will be able to make use of natural light. Doing so might seem insignificant, but you will be able to save on utilities in that way. After all, you will be spending more time at home and so you will be using more gas and electricity as a result.
On warm sunny days you might even consider working outside for part of the day. Not only will you be healthier by obtaining Vitamin D from the sunlight, but you will save on your utility bill.
• Invest time in cooking and chores
You are not only saving money working from home, but you are also saving time in avoiding activities such as commuting, spending your lunch hour with fellow workers, or stopping at the dry cleaners. You can invest that time in undertaking more cooking at home.
You can, for example, throw some food in a Crockpot before you begin your work day. By lunchtime you will have a warm, home-cooked meal ready for your family to enjoy.
During your lunch or coffee breaks you can also undertake chores such as cleaning house or washing dishes that you would normally have to perform when you arrive home after a long day at the office.
• Enjoy a workcation.
If your working from home involves little more than a computer and possibly a printer, you can easily spend a few days on a vacation where you can work from a hotel or a rental condo using your laptop.
During your off-the-clock hours you can enjoy the facilities at the site, such as a swimming pool, a beach, or a walk in the countryside.
• Consider relocating
If working from home seems likely on a permanent basis, you might want to consider the possibility of moving to another part of the country where real estate is less expensive, living expenses are lower, and the climate is more suitable than where you live now.
You might also want to live in an area that is away from the city and where traffic jams are rare events.
In doing so you can save not only on housing costs, but also on groceries and eating out.
Begin by researching the cost of living in other parts of the country. Talk with your employer or human resources department to see whether uprooting yourself and moving elsewhere is feasible.
Find out whether working out-of-state has tax or other implications, such as moving from a state that has no income tax to one that has.
• Save for a specific goal
Set aside money that you save by working from home toward a special goal. Work out what you are saving on your commute, on eating regular lunches with the people at work, on having your clothes dry-cleaned, on lattes, and so on. You might use the savings toward a vacation, to pay off debt, or even as a downpayment on buying a house. You also could invest the money toward your retirement.
The main idea is to save that additional money and not let it disappear into your daily spending without realizing where it is going.