How to Save (More) When Working From Home
If you’ve spent any time working from home over the past few weeks or months, you’ve experienced a shift in your routine and monthly budget. Even if you’ve gotten used to your new working arrangements, take a few moments to reflect on how these lifestyle adjustments have impacted your spending and saving this year.
By acknowledging the areas in which you’re saving, you can alleviate some of the financial anxiety the nation currently faces. Though we may be surrounded by uncertainty, reallocating cash can help your budget plan as we move toward the end of the year.
What you’re saving on:
Eliminating most – if not all – of your daily travel is a great way to cut gasoline, repair, parking, tolls, and transit pass expenses. AAA estimates the average annual cost of vehicle ownership to be $9,282, or $773.50 per month; although you’ll still need to make car payments and keep your registration up to date, you can expect savings on fuel and maintenance.
Besides saving money, removing the commute saves another valuable resource: time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average one-way commute time in the United States is 26.6 minutes. Take advantage of this additional hour in your day to practice mindful habits, like eating a healthy breakfast, exercising, or catching up on much-needed sleep. Enjoy a less stressful day without fighting rush hour traffic and find ways to make that time work for you.
As the forecast shows cooler weather ahead, what normally brought temptation to spend now marks a great opportunity to sort through last season’s clothing. Help prevent clothing waste and rediscover your favorite pieces. No one in your digital conference will mind that you’re wearing last year’s fashions! Also, welcome the extra savings on dry cleaning services, as your business professional wear likely gets less mileage and is able to be properly preserved in between uses.
Ordering lunch as an office can be a fun social activity, but constant takeout consumption can take its toll on the wallet and waistline. The cost of ordering out is $11 per meal on average and this habit can quickly add up into the triple digits. Likewise, the cost of a cup of coffee can differ greatly depending on your order and café of choice. By brewing your own coffee and preparing lunch at home, you’re able to save hundreds or even thousands per year.
How to save more:
Monitor Utility Usage
An office space costs money, from the cost of electricity, heating and cooling, plumbing, and more. What was previously your employer’s expense now falls into your budget as you spend more time at home using your own utilities. Try to cut back on running electricity by turning off devices when you’re finished with them for the day and unplugging them after charging over the weekend.
While your thermostat may have previously been set to auto while you were gone during the day, you may be more aware of fluctuating temperatures and lighting at home. Take advantage of opportunities to utilize natural lighting and fresh air, now that you’re able to react to the changes over the course of the day.
Staying home means your kitchen and bathrooms will be used more heavily. Keep these facilities in good repair and keep in mind how frequently you’re using water. Consider upgrading to Energy Star efficient appliances for the most used parts of your home if you haven’t already.
Deals on Supplies
If your employer offers to let you bring your desk supplies home or has a home office reimbursement policy, use it! By making your transition to working from home as similar to your in-office experience as possible, your work won’t be interrupted by things taken for granted, like needing extra monitors or sticky notes.
Though working from home and telecommuting often brings an all-digital work environment to mind, some occupations still rely on traditional office supplies and paper goods. If possible, buy these items in bulk for greater savings and to avoid future scarcity issues. The uncertain nature of the current mass WFH movement means that some supplies, like printers and desk chairs, may continue to be difficult to come by for some time.
Keep Your Budget on Track
It’s easy for small purchases to quickly snowball while working from home. Individual online purchases, grocery orders, and other deliveries can slip through the cracks of our budgets. Make sure to look at your account balances and statements frequently to ensure that you aren’t straying outside the boundaries of your typical budget. Prioritize essential purchases and, if you don’t have one already, create an emergency fund.
Remember, in any time of financial uncertainty, to make informed, cautious decisions. Though they may seem overwhelming, you do not have to make these decisions alone. If you find yourself needing extra guidance, please contact our team to learn how we can help you make the right choices for you and your family.