After the second cup of coffee, but before starting the half-hour commute, many office workers take a moment to wish that they could stay home and get their work done from the comfort of the couch. It’s a common sentiment, and it’s fueling an increasing movement toward working from home. Some people telecommute, while others run their own small businesses on their own schedule. No matter what your situation, there’s no denying that staying home will also save you a substantial amount of cash that would otherwise have gone into work-related purchases. Here We Know Money mortgages present the top five expenses that are nearly eliminated by working from home.
- Babysitters – If you have children, bridging the gap between when school gets out and the workday ends can be a difficult, and expensive, proposition. For the average family, babysitting services are the only way to guarantee the safety of children while their parents are working. A babysitter hired at eight dollars per hour for 15 hours a week will end up costing you almost $500 a month in childcare. Keeping up with a full work-load and children can be demanding, but with the right time management skills you should be able to complete your daily tasks and still see more of your kids every day. Instead of spending on babysitting fees, the money you save could go into college funds or even pay for the perfect family vacation.
- Lunch and Coffee – Everyone gets hungry and tired throughout the work day. It’s a natural result of waking up early and spending hours on end accomplishing tedious tasks in sterile lighting. To stay fueled, most employees purchase coffee and lunch during their breaks. Even if you go for cheap options, the cost of food and drinks can easily add up to $250 or more every month. When you work from home, however, you typically snack on items that have come from the grocery store, prepare them yourself and save quite a bit of money in the process.
- Expensive Clothing – Most office workers have two wardrobes: one for work, and another that represents their real style. Work-appropriate clothing, including suits, is usually much more expensive than casual shirts and pants, and is almost always required by an office dress code. On the other hand, stay-at-home employees are free to work in their pajamas if they don’t feel like getting dressed that morning. When working from home, one or two formal business outfits are all you need for face-to-face meetings, and the hundreds of dollars you save on clothing every year can be put to more useful purposes, like paying the bills.
- Taxes – Working at home can make taxes a bit more challenging, particularly if you are self-employed. There are, however, a few perks that come with the territory. For example, if you have a designated area for work in the house, you can claim a home office deduction on many parts of your tax form. Similarly, if you’ve bought a fax machine to contact clients quickly, it and other expenditures can be written off as business expenses.
- Gasoline and Car Maintenance – The most obvious benefit to staying at home is that you’re no longer consuming gasoline to get to work. When a typical commute costs about six dollars per day in gas, that adds up to over a thousand dollars a year spent getting yourself into the office. Then there are all of the small maintenance charges associated with keeping a car running, and the hundreds of wasted hours spent in traffic that could be put to more productive use. Few people realize exactly how taxing their commute is before they are able to abandon it, and avoiding the daily drive is one of the very best aspects of working from home.