Working from home has proven to be a great financial boost to people, for both expected and surprising reasons. In fact, it might even be worth taking a slight pay cut if it means being at a job where you can work from home!
The obvious culprit! With gas prices hitting record highs mere months ago, driving anywhere is associated with a huge cost. Having to make a daily commute isn’t only a huge financial drain in itself, but it also has a huge time cost. Lending Tree estimates that the average worker loses an opportunity cost of $5,679 per year.
Even a 30-minute one way commute adds up to five hours of driving per week. Multiply that by your hourly rate and it’s probably over a hundred dollars per week in gas expenses. This extra work isn’t paid for by your employer. Wouldn’t it be better to work from home grinding the same boring hours, and end up with extra money in each paycheck? Or have more time to take up a side hustle (perhaps taking surveys on Survey Junkie)?
Commuting less also means your insurance rates might go down! Providers ask how far you commute when deciding rates, so you can qualify for a lower rate if you drive less than 5,000 miles a year for work.
Just having that time for your hobbies and interests without monetary incentives can greatly improve your mental health too! And all of these points of course also apply to long commutes on public transportation; you might not constantly be buying gas, but you’re still paying for tickets and lost time.
2. Not Eating Out
Buying work lunch, getting an afternoon snack, going out for drinks with your coworkers: it all adds up very quickly. A Starbucks morning coffee and an average lunch are likely going to cost you the equivalent of an hour of work.
We’ve all optimistically tried to prepare meals and bring a bagged lunch, but the logistics of it are just so complicated, with packing food, heating it up in an office microwave, bringing dishes home, etc. Plus, who hasn’t looked longingly at their sandwich at 10 A.M. and ended up having to buy another lunch anyway?
Eating at home makes it easier to prepare food, and gives you more options. You have the whole fridge and pantry to choose from, and you can probably step away from work for a few minutes to put things in the oven for freshly cooked food too.
When it comes to dinner, not having that agonizing commute also makes it easier for you to choose healthy home cooked foods! Whereas if you pass by that McDonald’s drive-thru, exhausted after a long day, you’ll be very tempted to stop and get a burger.
3. Tax Deductions
Working from home might even qualify you for certain tax deductions. You might get tax breaks for a home office deduction, healthcare expenses, depreciation of equipment, and even for items you purchased for work from home use.
You should definitely speak to a tax professional about your options, as available credits will differ from situation to situation.
If you have a home office that you use regularly and exclusively for work (meaning that you don’t enter it for any other purposes), you can claim a $5 per square foot office deduction for up to a maximum of 300 square feet on your freelance taxes.
4. Clothing & Appearance
Without the need to wear formal clothing to work, you can save a lot of money on apparel and dry-cleaning bills. (If you still want nice work-appropriate clothes though, here’s a great list.)
Through the screen, you don’t have to be perfectly groomed and attired to look put-together. You just need a decent haircut and blouse/shirt, you don’t need perfectly done highlights or silk clothing. Prioritizing clothes that feel comfortable can definitely save you money, and improve your comfort level for obvious reasons!