From gas to drycleaning savings, what working from your sofa could do to your bank account
It pays big to work from home.
Working from home is gaining in popularity, but most people still commute to an office. More than four in 10 workers say they worked remotely at least some of the time in 2016 — up four percentage points from 2012 — according to Gallup data released last year. Of those, about one in three work at least 80% of the time from home.
The benefits of working from home have been explored in detail — from lower commute times to higher productivity. But there’s one thing that often gets overlooked: Exactly how much money working from home can save you. Here are four ways that working from home can save you thousands of dollars each year.
Gas. The average worker who works 100% of the time from home will save about $444 per year in gas, and if they work half time from home $222, according to new data from SMS and text marketing service SimpleTexting. Of course, this varies widely depending on where you live, with Atlanta residents saving the most ($555) and San Antonio the least ($348). Added bonus: You’re likely to save on car maintenance too. Estimated savings: More than $400 a year.
Coffee and lunch. “Employees who work remotely are less likely to eat out for lunch or to pop into a coffee shop during their break,” notes Steve Pritchard, an HR Consultant at Cuuver.com. “Instead, they tend to eat a homemade lunch and drink shop-bought instant coffee.” What might that save you? One study showed that many American workers spend $3000 per year on coffee and eating lunch out — with younger workers spending even more. Even if you cut that $3000 by ⅓ by working from home, you’d still save $1000 a year. Estimated savings: $1,000 a year
Business attire and drycleaning. “Pajamas and bunny slippers are way cheaper than suit jackets and dry cleaning,” says Wayne Turmel, co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute and co-author of the soon-to-be-published book, Long Distance Leader. Indeed, even if you still go to client meetings, when you work from home, you likely don’t have to dress in work appropriate attire daily, as you would in a traditional office. That can yield major savings: One report estimates that businesspeople can spend between $500 and $1,500 annually on dry cleaning alone (though the average annual dry cleaning bill for a family is less than $150); the average household spends $1800 a year on clothing and related services, according to government data. Even if you save just a fraction of that by working from home — as is likely the case for people who worked in jobs with relaxed dress codes anyway — it could easily top $300 a year. Estimated savings: $300 a year
Makeup. “I didn’t wear much makeup when I worked in corporate America and I still save a lot every year as I’ve worked from home since 2006 and rarely ever wear makeup,” says Shilonda Downing, founder of Virtual Work Team. And, she points out, “some people put on a high end full face of makeup everyday for work and the cost of that can be enormous.” Though Downing says she’s never done the math on what she saves, one study found that women walk out with $8 of product on their faces each day. Even if you cut that by one day a week, you’d save upwards of $400 per year — and that’s not even including what you might save on hair products. Estimated savings: $400 a year
Of course, there are a number of ways that working from home can cost you. Turmel notes that you will be buying your own office supplies, paper, toner — likely at retail prices rather than through the company — and will be paying your own phone/internet and possibly replacement costs for computers, printers and other costs. Though, of course, you can often deduct these on your taxes too.
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