Is Working from Home Cheaper?

Enjoy this post by my staff writer Jordann. Michelle isn’t the only one who’s making the switch to working from home, I recently accepted a job that is 100% remote, and as of this Monday, I’m working remotely – from home. This isn’t the first time I’ve worked from home, I actually have done it…

Jordann

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Jordann

Last Updated: August 20, 2018

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Is Working from Home Cheaper?Enjoy this post by my staff writer Jordann.

Michelle isn’t the only one who’s making the switch to working from home, I recently accepted a job that is 100% remote, and as of this Monday, I’m working remotely – from home.

This isn’t the first time I’ve worked from home, I actually have done it in two other jobs, so while I know what to expect – it’s still an adjustment. One of the biggest things to change – besides talking to coworkers exclusively through a screen, is my budget. Working from home changes my expenses in ways that I didn’t initially anticipate, and it’s not all savings.

Here are some of the ways working from home is good, and bad, for my wallet.

 

Save On Gas

For one thing, I don’t spend as much money on gas, because I’m not commuting anymore. I wake up, do some housework, make my breakfast, and sit down on the couch to get started with work.

If I chose, I don’t even have to leave the house! This is my first month of working remotely, but I wouldn’t be surprised to come in under budget for gas costs this month. I’m also really looking forward to what the decreased mileage is going to do to the maintenance costs for my vehicle – hello less frequent oil changes!

 

Save on Eating Out

Since I’m home, I have absolutely no excuse when it comes to eating out for breakfast or lunch. When I worked in an office, I would sometimes fail to make my lunch at home, and end up buying my lunch.

Usually this only happened once per week or so, but still, that adds up! Working at home means that I’ll never have to buy my lunch again – unless I chose to – as a treat.

 

Save On Work Wardrobe

Now, I don’t spend as much as some people on wardrobe, since I’m trying to be frugal and get out of debt. That said, I do like to have at least a few decent outfits for work.

I recently bit the bullet and spent some money to upgrade my wardrobe. Thanks to my new job, that clothing will hopefully last me a good long time. That’s because I’m mostly going to be working while wearing pajamas, except while I’m in video meetings, of course.

 

Increased Grocery Costs

Staying at home also means that I’ll spend more on groceries. Since I’ll be eating every lunch at home, that should mean our grocery spending will be a bit higher this month. That said, I’m going to be very vigilant about not snacking just because there is food within easy reach – that’s a recipe for a bigger grocery budget, and bigger waistline.

 

Increased Office Expenses

After deciding to accept the job and work from home, I knew I needed to upgrade my office equipment. My laptop is five years old and can barely handle WordPress. I’m also going to need a printer and a steady supply of pens and notebooks. Electricity costs will most likely increase as well, as you would be home more. Compare electricity costs if you can. These are things that I’ve always bought occasionally, but I can count on an increase in purchasing frequency now.

So, is working from home cheaper? For me, I think it will be. Saving money on gas and car maintenance, along with work wardrobe will probably be much greater that the small increase in grocery costs. Working from home can be a wonderful way to increase productivity and save money – if you have the opportunity to do it, I highly recommend it!

Have you ever worked from home? Did you find it saved you money?

 


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Jordann

Author: Jordann

Jordann is a part time runner, yogi, local foodie and personal finance aficionado. She’s also a full time marketing professional living and working in Atlantic Canada. She writes about her life at her blog, My Alternate Life.

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  1. I had part of my rent deduced for tax purpose when I used to work from home. Having no car was a huge saving too so I would say it was cheaper.

    1. I definitely plan on deducting a part of my home expenses. A great way to save some money.

  2. I would imagine that its about even. Whilst you will save money on certain costs such as transport and dining, this will probably be offset by supplying your own office supplies and energy.

    It would be great if you could log this in your budget to determine exactly what the difference is going forward. I would love to see the exact figures.

  3. I work from home and it does save a LOT of money. If I was to work at an office in the city, I’d lose probably 1/4 or even 1/3 of my pay just to be able to go there every day. Not to mention the time I’d waste in traffic.

    1. I HATE the time I spend in traffic. This past week has been horrible with traffic also, so I’m glad that I don’t have to do this much longer.

  4. Good luck Jordann! You can really save money when you work at home, though there will be an increase in certain expenses, they will be less than the money you’ll save.

  5. Barb

    Hi Jordann,

    I’ve been working from home as an independent contractor for 8 years and overall it has saved our family.

    Granite, the electric bill will slightly increase and my water and sewer bill slightly increased, but my savings on my wardrobe, dry cleaning, accessories, gas, lunches, car maintenance and car insurance has outweighed those two minor increases.

    My grocery bill has went down a little. Although I packed my lunch when I worked outside the home, I eat more leftovers, not sandwiches. Less food wasted too!

    Also, I now use more coupons and found ways to save more by stacking coupons.

    My office is upstairs and the kitchen and dining room is downstairs. When I am working, I don’t have time to run down for a snack, which is probably a good thing!

  6. That sounds awesome, good luck with the new job! I would love to work from home, but as an IT Manager I can’t ever see that happening, until I reach FI of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Yes, definitely! My husband and I work from home part time and it’s reduced our monthly transportation expenses significantly. And since we don’t have to commute, we end up billing longer hours- but with the ability to do laundry and dishes during “breaks”! We haven’t seen any increased costs (we eat leftovers from lunch either way and haven’t upgraded our office). Some companies even pay for basic office capital and working expenses, like phone and/or internet, if you work from home full time.

  8. Yes, definitely! My husband and I work from home part time and it’s reduced our monthly transportation expenses significantly. And since we don’t have to commute, we end up billing longer hours- but with the ability to do laundry and dishes during “breaks”! We haven’t seen any increased costs (we eat leftovers from lunch either way and haven’t upgraded our office). Some companies even pay for basic office capital and working expenses, like phone and/or internet, if you work from home full time.

  9. GamingYourFinances

    That’s awesome! My employer doesn’t allow working from home so I’d have to switch jobs if I wanted to avoid the commuting back and forth every day. Good luck with the job!

  10. I personally think that it’s much cheaper. I used to bring my own lunch to work every day as well so my grocery costs haven’t increased either. I no longer pay for gas, fancy clothes, or anything else work-related!

  11. I think we will end up saving money because we won’t have to spend money on gas, and we will be able to cook at home more. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping!

  12. I’m 100% virtual, and these are totally accurate for me. I love being able to write off office equipment, though! Another secret cost: fast internet and software! I upgraded Hootsuite and I’d like to upgrad Feed.ly and BufferApp, and those costs add up.

  13. Congrats Jordann! I’ve worked from home for the last 18 months and my wife has for about the last 3 years and I believe it really is cheaper if you allow it to be. We’ve had a slight increase in office expenses, but everything else has been less. It’s just another benefit of working from home in my opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Rebecca

    I am currently working from home doing a variety of things including essay writing. Working from home is a long old process and takes time to get it right – I don’t suppose I could get you to write my essay? Suffering total burnout!

  15. Working from home is definitely cheaper. You indeed have some increases in the budget in some areas, but overall you’ll save more. Not mention that not eating out is the healthier option here, as long as you don’t get used to eating unhealthy snacks, of course.

  16. Mrs PoP

    Do you get supplements to pay for your Internet access and electricity? That’s how many of my telecommuting friends have it, as well as company issued technology.

  17. Thanks for the insights on working at home! I would love to work at home and save some money on gas, food, and clothing! I have a friend who works from home and loves it too!

  18. I think, for most people, working from home is cheaper, especially if the previous commute was long. Energy costs will go up, but it probably won’t be as much as the car maintenance, wardrobe requirements, or temptations to eat out. The only downside is lack of social contact. My husband has been working from home for years and he sometimes suffers from “cabin fever.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. I can definitely see myself eating out more when working from home as an excuse to get out of the house for a bit. Take a walk, grab a sandwich & eat elsewhere, then head back home to work.

  20. Mark Ross

    It can indeed save you a lot of money but sometimes the pay isn’t that competitive, but if you could work something out, then working at your own home can be all worthwhile.

  21. I get to work from home on occasion, but not full-time. I do enjoy doing it a few times here and there, but I am not a fan of doing it on a daily basis. I worked from home for 4 weeks on time while recovering from a surgery and I couldn’t wait to get back in the office and interact with my co-workers.

  22. I’ve been a permanent teleworker for about the past 4 years and I can unequivocally say that, yes, working from home is absolutely cheaper for me. While there might be a slight increase in things like grocery bills, those amounts are likely far less than what you’re saving by not eating lunches out (which is so much easier to succumb to while in the office). In the end, the net is significant savings.

    Also, here’s another way you save: opportunity cost of commuting. In other words, all that time spent getting to and from work can now be spent doing other activities, perhaps money making ones!

  23. I’ve found working from home to be great financially: no commute, able to take the scooter or bike more often (due to freedom choosing time to ride), eating lunches out turns to eating lunches in, less money on work clothes…

    The only cost that might go up is my bar tab, as I find I need to get more social interaction with friends rather than coworkers, and that sometimes involves going out.

  24. Having worked from home and commuted in my boxers for the past 10 years I have been able to negate the extra grocery costs. My wife and I will make a little extra dinner which makes for great left-overs for lunch the next day. The added cost is very small.

  25. I work from home and it definitely I definitely save on gas and stress from traffic! I am in the same boat too, my laptop is three years old (not even that old!) but I can feel it slowly declining. I am going to hold onto it as long as I can, though!

  26. Jaclyn

    I would LOVE a work from home job. What kind of work will you be doing? Do you have any advice on how to find a gig like that?

  27. I can see where working from home would definitely help out a budget! You covered the biggest one for me – less money would need to be spent on a work wardrobe. Professional attire is expensive! And the gas you’d save as well as less wear and tear on your vehicle/less maintenance (if you drive a car, that is, instead of using public transportation) would probably be significant enough to offset the cost you’d start incurring with office supplies.

    Another way working from home may be beneficial financially is the fact that you could have quite a few things to write off come tax time. If you pay for your own internet, office supplies, and have a dedicated space for your office in your home – those are all things that you can write off on your taxes. Take advantage of that opportunity!

  28. Craig Ballantyne

    Do you have any ideas on working from home jobs if so could you let me no i would love to earn some extra money.

  29. You bring up some good points, Jordann! Except for a 10 week contract this summer where I went in to the office, I have been self-employed since November of last year. I have definitely noticed savings in the following categories:

    – fuel and car maintenance
    – dining out
    – clothing
    – makeup (hey, that’s an added benefit, too, don’t have to put on makeup everyday!)

    Extra expenses come in the form of:
    – groceries
    – higher utilities (I use more electricity and gas since I’m home so much)
    – office supplies

    I love most of the upsides of working at home; however, I was surprised to discover that I get far less exercise. It turns out that I’m so excited to get up and work on my business that I go straight to the computer and then never get up except to get a snack! I’ve got to work on that!!!

  30. You bring up some good points, Jordann! Except for a 10 week contract this summer where I went in to the office, I have been self-employed since November of last year. I have definitely noticed savings in the following categories:

    – fuel and car maintenance
    – dining out
    – clothing
    – makeup (hey, that’s an added benefit, too, don’t have to put on makeup everyday!)

    Extra expenses come in the form of:
    – groceries
    – higher utilities (I use more electricity and gas since I’m home so much)
    – office supplies

    I love most of the upsides of working at home; however, I was surprised to discover that I get far less exercise. It turns out that I’m so excited to get up and work on my business that I go straight to the computer and then never get up except to get a snack! I’ve got to work on that!!!

  31. So many tax deductions to be made when you work from home. Also, the added bonus of avoiding peer pressure to spend socially after work is great! Happy hour at home is a lot cheaper ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Kallin

    Time is money. Y ou can definitely save on waiting for traffic and do something more at home. Like other readers say you can save on gas, food, clothing and many more.

  33. I was thinking the same thing as Stefanie, lots ‘o tax deductions. Not sure what the deal is in Canada, but you can have a lot of write offs here (or so I’ve been told).

  34. Interesting about the increased grocery costs! That’s something I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated!

  35. I work from home and have found that I’ve definitely saved on fuel, work clothes and food too. My grocery bill hasn’t increased that much as I tend to eat sandwiches or salads for lunch most days which are pretty cheap to make. It’s tricky not to snack though! I can allocate a proportion of my utilities bill towards my tax too which helps.

  36. It’s definitely saved me money! I have 5-6 really cute outfits that I cycle through and no one’s the wiser ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. Although I never worked from home, I would like to. I think I may have to adjust to the new routine, but I welcome it.

  38. When I worked from home, I definitely loved saving money on gas!

  39. We can track our electricity costs by day on our utility provider and we spend more when we’re home than when we’re not by a dollar or two a day usually. I would think groceries would go up to for me because I would eat more prepared food for lunches that would be more expensive, rather than just cheap sandwiches I take to work.

  40. I had a job that required me to work at home lots of the time. I loved it, and did save a lot of money. I had to have the best internet available – that is the only extra cost I sustained. I found I saved a lot on eating and coffee out.

  41. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

    I would agree that utility costs can go up a bit for folks working from home. When my husband was unemployed for 3 months, we definitely had a higher utility bill despite it being winter when our building-paid-for heat was on. Just having lights on and more computer and TV usage adds up.

    Good luck with the transition though! To stop snacking, I’d make lunches still so you have a set amount of food already prepped and easy to access when it’s time to lunch.

  42. Brian

    I work from home and save a ton. My “office” is a 45 minute commute from my home. Gas, oil changes, tires, maintenance; all reduced immensely. The “extra groceries” are still cheaper than the lunches I used to buy at the office. I wear what I want; most of the time I don’t even wear shoes anymore lol. Other benefits include doing laundry or other things around the house during my break and the extra time at lunch. I can come and go as I please. The company provides all the electronics, phone line, internet service, etc. All I had to provide was a room and a desk. I had that already. I have been home for more than two years and hope I never have to go back to an office again.