How to Save Money by Working at Home

People sometimes mistakenly assume that working from home is a setback, as this decision sometimes means working part time, taking a lower paying job, or eliminating health care coverage.  However, working from home can actually be a cost savings strategy.  Following are five significant savings from working at home.

1. Day care.  Eliminating day care costs from the family budget is a gigantic cost savings.  Many people find that their day care expenses are more than or roughly equal to a parent’s full-time or part-time salary.  If this is the case, working from home is definitely a sound option in light of the other expenses that are incurred from working outside of the home.

2. Clothing, shoes, and accessories.  It’s easy to underestimate the cost of maintaining a career wardrobe including the purchase of new seasonal pieces, dry cleaning, and at-home laundering.  At a minimum, people who work outside the home need to wear clean, pressed clothing.  With excessive use, that clothing will need to be replaced.  In addition, many people like to purchase updated clothing and accessories that change with the season.  First impressions are important, and if you’re meeting with executives or clients on a regular basis, it’s hard to get away with wearing clothing from two seasons ago.  If your employer provides a uniform, workers may still need to purchase multiple uniforms to maintain a clean and professional appearance.

3. Transportation costs.  As gas prices rise, the decision to work from home makes more and more sense.  While carpooling or taking the bus is a good cost savings option, there is still the cost of monthly passes and gas to commute to the parking lot where your car is parked during the day, not to mention insurance and the vehicle maintenance costs. 

4. Meals, coffee, and special outings.  Unless you are incredibly disciplined and bring a lunch to work every day, chances are you will go out for lunch one to two days a week, buy coffee on a regular basis, and participate in team lunch meetings or after-work happy hour outings.  Neglecting to allocate money for these outings is not practical.  Some work teams schedule their meetings at the local coffee shop or require employees to pay for their own lunch at team meetings.  When you work at home, it is much easier to eat leftovers, cereal, and peanut butter sandwich, or any other item from the refrigerator.

5. Incidentals.  In many offices, unexpected costs come up as a result of working in a team environment.  Colleagues pass around their child’s fund raising opportunity, workers are asked to pitch in for a colleague’s lunch or birthday cake, or the team decides to allocate personal funds to buy holiday gifts.  These incidental costs simply don’t come up when you’re working in the privacy of your own home.

Working from home is an effective way to tighten the household budget by cutting expenses.  While you will still need to invest in office equipment, Internet access, and food for lunch at home, these costs are far less than those that are incurred from working outside of the home.