6 Tips On How To Save Money While Working From Home

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A year ago, the option to work from home permanently seemed like a dream that would never come true to many of us. Fast forward to post Covid-19 world, working from home has become a reality for most of the working population with other lifestyle changes, such as wearing masks in public or sanitizing our hands more often.

What are the pros of the home office? When asked about the benefits of working from home, most people mention autonomy, flexibility and comfort as the main perks. Money saving benefits are often overlooked as people don’t realize that working from home is a perfect opportunity to boost their savings account. According to a study from FlexJobs, an online job service that specializes in flexible jobs, remote workers typically save about $4,000 a year by working from home.

Despite adding a few lines to the budget that might not have been there previously, it seems that the pros always beat the cons. Saving on commuting costs as well as coffee, lunches and a professional wardrobe should be able to save four-figures annually, even with the expenses that came with working from home.

More Cooking, Less Eating Out

According to Statistics Canada, 54 percent of Canadians eat out once a week or more, based on a survey conducted in 2019. Yet, the perspective on cooking has shifted in the past six months. With the majority of people working from home and most of the restaurants closed for months or open for deliveries only, people prepared most of their food at home. With quarantines, cancellations, closures, and social distancing, one positive thing coming out of this could be increased time spent in the kitchen, a place in which fewer Canadians have spent time in recent years.

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Photo by Alyson McPhee, Source: Unsplash

I considered this time as an opportunity to dust off my old cookbooks and wear my favorite blue apron again. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking my meals showed me that there is a lot of room for creativity, and the meals taste better when I prepare them with my own hands! My spice rack grew more colorful, and I’ve started adding herbs to the meals that I’ve never used before. I even tried to cook some of my grandma’s favorite recipes for the first time and they turned out quite tasty!

Just by cooking one meal at home a week that you would normally buy from a restaurant, you could save $832 a year.

On average, you can save around $16 per meal by cooking at home, according to Wellio, a meal planning service. Just by cooking one meal at home a week that you would normally buy from a restaurant, you could save extra $832 a year. If you add that up with other benefits of cooking, such as stimulating your brain, eating healthier meals and reducing the impact on the environment, cooking at home deserves your attention!

Make Your Coffee and Snacks At Home

“Employees who work remotely are less likely to pop into a coffee shop during their break,” says Steve Pritchard, an HR Consultant at Cuuver.com. “Instead, they tend to drink shop-bought instant coffee.”

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao, Source: Unsplash

I used to buy coffee in different coffee shops almost daily, sometimes even twice a day until I did the math. On average, I spent between $4 to $5 on a cup of coffee five times a week. That is between $960 to $1200 spent annually solely on coffee! That’s costly, don’t you think? After that realization, I went to a thrift store and invested in a coffee grinder and a french press. Altogether, it cost me less than $20, and I’ve been making coffee at home for the past year and a half. Making a whole pot of coffee for less than the cost of a cup at a coffeehouse makes it easier to buy the gourmet coffee brands. The same goes for tea. I still get a cup of coffee in a coffee shop here and there, but it’s more on rare occasions rather than daily.

Another thing is the snacks. How many times have you gone to the store to get a water bottle, snacks or chewing gums while working from an office? Of course, you will snack while working from home. On the contrary, you might even snack more, but it will be inexpensive in compare with working from an office.

Cut Your Commuting Cost Down

Did you know that on average, a commuter spends between $2,000 and $5,000 per year on transportation costs, which makes up between 3% and 4% of their average annual income? So, if you have guessed that the greatest cost savings by working from home would be commuting costs, you were right.

On average, a commuter spends between $2,000 and $5,000 per year on transportation costs.

As a remote worker, you’ll save on gas, even if there are still errands to run and road trips to take. The less you drive, the less wear and tear you add to your vehicle, and your maintenance cost will go down, too. The best part is that if you work from home full-time, you might also qualify for lower insurance rates. Commuting by car costs more than commuting by public transportation, and it might seem that public transit is the way to go. Even though it is significantly cheaper than driving and it will save you some money, working from home cuts the entire expense out of your budget.

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Photo by Josh Bean, Source: Unsplash

I love biking and I do my best to bike everywhere, including commuting to work. Biking as transportation means is a great way to save money on commuting and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Although I consider myself fortunate to live in a bike-friendly city, such as Vancouver, I’m aware that biking might not be an option for everyone. If you do have to commute part-time, explore alternatives, such as biking, carpooling, car-sharing or even walking, if that’s a possibility. Let’s cut that commuting cost to a minimum, so your money can grow!

Connect Your Cell Phone To Your Home WiFi

If you are going to work from home long-term, this could be a good time to review your cell phone plan. As soon as I started working from home, I downgraded my cell phone plan with only 250 MB of data. Since I’m spending most of my days at home where connectivity to the WiFi network is not an issue, I reconsidered my money-draining data plan. And guess what? My phone bill reduced from $75 to $20 per month with Freedom 250MB plan. Digital Discount offers another $5 off my monthly bill providing I signed up for pre-authorized payments. Downgrading my plan saved me approximately $600 last year, if not more. Isn’t that amazing? If you’re looking to reduce your monthly payments to a minimum and you reside in Canada, you might look into Freedom Mobile plans and you can use my link (affiliate)to get $25 service credit.

There are setting that you could utilize if you are worried about downgrading your plan and then paying overcharge. Set data alerts and limits in your settings and do the same in your carrier’s app. That can help to keep you from paying overages. Rethinking your cell phone data plan and downgrading it to the lowest price can help you save extra dollars and it’s something you should consider while working from home.

Wear Your Everyday Clothes

One of my favourite perks of working from home is that I can wear my beloved business attire — my yoga pants and sweatshirt. It’s so comfortable! Also, not wearing business attire every day can contribute to your savings massively in the long run, even though it may not be apparent immediately. In contrast, you may feel that downsizing your closet or not wearing the corporate clothing that cost you a lot of money is counterproductive. If you are not convinced, let’s review the cost of a professional wardrobe.

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Photo by Jan Barobrak, Source: Unsplash

In 2018, the average household spent $1,866 a year on “apparel and services,” meaning buying clothing and keeping it clean. According to One report, business people can spend between $500 and $1,500 annually on dry cleaning alone. It comes down to spending over $150 per month on clothes and dry cleaning services in the average household. Shocking, isn’t it?

The average household spends over $150 per month on clothes and dry cleaning services.

Working in an office means you need work clothes, which could mean suits, ties, business casual outfits, or other professional apparel. It also means that you must have a different work-appropriate outfit for every day of the week, which costs more, and it almost certainly takes your creativity away. If you’re working from your home office, you might not need daily business attire, just a few pieces that you can mix and match in case you do need to go to the office. Another benefit is that your clothes will get less wear and tear, meaning that you most certainly won’t have to shop as often as when you work from an office daily. Not to mention, that you might be able to scratch dry cleaning services of your expense list completely. Sounds good, don’t you agree?

Cancel Your Gym Membership

As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of working from home is more flexibility. It lets you manage your time more freely, so why not take advantage and start working out home or outdoors? Many people believe that the gym is the only way to exercise and that paying the fees pushes them to visit a gym regularly. It might be true in some cases, although a more realistic scenario is that the majority of gym members would sign up for a membership, go regularly for a few weeks and then forget about the gym completely. The truth is that no matter where you go, you’ll have to pay your monthly payments that can range between as little as $10 per month to more than $100 depending on the club’s size and exclusivity and on the top of that, most of the gym will charge a one-time sign-up fee.

Outdoor workout spaces in parks or sports tracks are often completely free and open to the public.

I have to confess that I have been one of those gym-goers, signing up for gym memberships every year and convincing myself that that time would be different. As you might have guessed, it took only a few months until I lost interest in gym workouts, yet again, and wasted a significant amount of my money. My previous experience made me wonder if there was any better way to exercise cheap?

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Photo by Alora Griffiths, Source: Unsplash

It turned out there is. Outdoor workout spaces in parks or sports tracks are often completely free and open to the public. Outdoor exercise is good for your wallet and a great escape from your home office! Another alternative is the home gym. There’s no membership fee, and you can equip your home gym with inexpensive resistance bands and an exercise ball and be set to go. The myth that putting together a home gym is time-consuming and costly, and it’s more efficient to join a gym might not be accurate. Save money in the long run by putting together a set of weights, yoga mat, resistance bans or any other gym equipment you often use and googling a free exercise tutorial. You may initially invest a bit of time and money, but it will be worth it. You could even do bodyweight workouts with no equipment at all! And the best thing? If you need to take five from your computer, you can do a quick workout at home. The options are endless, and by cutting the gym cost to a zero, you will be able to save a certain amount of money each month!

Are you ready to start saving money?

Whether you are working from home full-time or part-time, permanently or temporarily, this is a great opportunity to revise your expenses and make a few budget changes. Admittedly, there are several additional costs related to a home office that you will have to consider, too, such as buying your office supplies, paper, toner or paying for your internet and utility bills. Though you might get reimbursed by your employer or you can often deduct these on your taxes, too. In conclusion, whatever you save after deducting these additional charges will still be a significant amount, and your savings account will thank you in the long run. Stay frugal and watch your money grow in bank!