Being able to do your job from the comfort of your own home has a lot of perks—and they don't stop at crawling out of bed and automatically being at work (though that privilege is pretty great). Working from home can save you some significant cash.
Here we outline eight of the most effective ways to do just that.
1. Drive Costs Won't Affect You
Did your local gas station just raise its price by $1 per gallon? OverflowData.com reports that the average commute time in the U.S. is a little more than 26 minutes, which is a long time to be burning gas—whether you're sitting in stop-and-go traffic or flying down the freeway.
Then there are other drive-related expenses, such as tolls and parking fees.
Commuting may be more expensive for some drivers than others, depending on the kinds of cars they have and driving conditions, but you don't have to worry about that if you work out of your home.
2. Dress Clothes Not Required
The average woman who works in an office rather than at home spends about a fifth of her salary on work clothes. Furthermore, men spend slightly more time shopping and more money on work clothes than women, according to Slate.com’s Christina Cauterucci,
Dry cleaning costs average $500 per year, according to First Research’s Industry Profile.
Working from home means, most of the time, that inexpensive lounge clothing does the trick and won't put such a dent on your wallet.
3. Internet Service is Often Covered
If you work from home, you likely need Internet access to do your job. The good news is, most companies that allow you to telecommute expect to provide all the equipment you'll need: computer, software, smartphone/plan and Internet service.
4. You Can Eat from Home
Half of the U.S. workforce spends an average of $1,000 a year on coffee alone. If you add in lunches and snacks, that's another $2,000 a year, as about two-thirds of employees eat out rather than bring homemade lunches, according to a 2015 Workonomix survey by Accounting Principals.
Of course, people who work from home still have to buy food, but it's much less expensive to make it yourself. Plus, you don't have to worry about tipping a server, or spending time and gas driving to and from a restaurant.
5. Time is Money
Think about the 374 extra hours per year you’d have (according to this Washington Post article) if you didn't have to commute to and from work. You could spend that valuable time running errands, fixing up your home, volunteering, preparing dinner, doing laundry, playing with your kids or even taking a power nap.
6. Less Car Maintenance and Fewer Miles
Less mileage and time on the roadways can often mean lower car insurance premiums. Meanwhile, putting miles on your vehicle makes for more wear-and-tear, potential fender benders, and even raises your risk for more severe crashes. So, if your ride's safely in your garage the majority of the time, these car repair expenses are nearly eliminated.
7. You May be Eligible for Tax Breaks
There are several tax deductions for the self-employed, including business expenses, dedicated home office square footage, property taxes and even office décor. The IRS estimates that the average home office deduction is about $3,000, as cited in an article on HouseLogic.com, which lowers a person's tax obligation by $750.
8. Good Health Saves Money
Even if you're only working in the office part-time, you're still potentially exposed to more sick people than if you worked solely from home. Since illness can often lead to doctor visits and time off from work, costs can go up quickly. Of course, going into the office while you're sick can expose coworkers, prolong your illness and affect your work performance.
Let's not ignore mental health. Avoiding a stressful commute and tense office situations can save you major money when it comes to potential doctor visits and therapy expenses down the line.
The best health benefit of virtual work, though, is freedom—to open the windows for fresh air, cook healthier food, exercise in-between work tasks, sit in a chair that is well-suited for you, pet your purring cat while you’re on a conference call, or listen to uplifting music while you type.
Megan Pantak is a licensed car insurance agent and content writer located in Phoenix, Arizona. She began her Esurance career in 2012 selling auto policies then changed teams to become one of their star writers. She spends her free time exploring the highways and side roads of Arizona and beyond.
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