Working from home isn’t simply a trend, it’s a whole new way of life. With more people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible work policies are more than likely going to be more permanently accepted by companies nationwide.
As employers see the benefit of letting their employees work from home, it’s highly likely that it could become the norm even after social distancing becomes a thing of the past.
But will working from home help or hurt your personal budget? Let’s take a look at how working from home affects your budget.
HOW WORKING FROM HOW CAN HELP YOUR BUDGET
Who doesn’t want to save some extra money? When you work from home, you also have the opportunity to save a lot of money in specific areas of your budget.
The Dreaded Commute
One of the most costly expenses you’ll incur working from an office is transportation. Not only do you have to get there each day, you also have to cover whatever expenses come along with your choice of travel. If you have a vehicle you’ll cover fuel, insurance, registration and parking. If you take the train, you’ll have to pay for your pass, and factor in the added time that takes away from your personal life.
Some workplaces offer compensation for this part of your budget. But for the most part, it’s all on you to worry about how you’ll get to work and pay for it out your pocket. Commuting sucks and is what makes working from home my winner, always and all ways.
If you’re like me, you probably try to avoid video calls and instead opt for audio-only or phone calls. On the off chance I do have to join a video call, I wear a nice top but then keep my jean-shorts on. After all, if no one at the office is going to see what you wear, then why bother spending all that time in the morning to get fully dressed up?
While you shouldn’t work in your PJs all day, it is true that it’s more comfortable to wear more casual or loungewear when working from home. The upside of working from home and not wearing suits or fancy dresses is that you won’t need to buy as many.
Obviously, if you work in a dressy-casual office, you’re going to have to spend money on clothing that are appropriate. And you’ll probably need to have more outfit options than someone who works from home.
If you work in a dressy corporate environment, you’ll likely pay for more expensive clothing. As well as dry-cleaning and possibly tailoring services.
Either way, transitioning from working in a suit and tie to working in yoga pants or jeans and a T-shirt – will save money over the long run.
If you find yourself working from home more it means you aren’t commuting as much. And that also means you can make fewer coffee shop stops.
If you buy your favorite Espresso every day on your way to work, you are spending on average R125 a week. That’s R6,500 a year! Instead, you can save some money in the long-run by investing in a high-quality coffee maker and making coffee at home. You can buy coffee beans that will last up to a month for the price of one espresso.
When you work from home and have access to a fridge, pantry, and full kitchen. You’ll find those lunch costs going way down.
Instead, you can buy the groceries you need to make your own meals at home. This will actually end up costing you less in the end if you budget it out correctly. Look into meal planning and preparing meals ahead of time. After all, if you’re spending less time on the commute to work, chances are you’ll have more time to cook. Not only will you cook more, but you’ll always be able to eat those leftovers, too, meaning less food waste.
Keep in mind that it’s ok to treat yourself to take out every now and then, but you don’t want to make it a habit.
Paying for a R270 for a gym membership that you probably don’t even use as often as you’d like? Try working out at home instead. For a few hundred rands you can create a nice at-home workout station with a stationary bike and some weights. Over the long run, this will be cheaper than your monthly gym membership.
HOW WORKING FROM HOME CAN IMPACT YOUR BUDGET
While working from home can save you a ton of money, you may find that costs start to creep up in other categories. Below are some costs that could increase. Be sure to make a plan to accommodate them in your budget.
Ready to run your air conditioner all day long during the hot summer months, or keep the heat cranked up during the winter? Many of those who start working from home are surprised by how it affects their utility bills.
You will likely need a faster internet connection to make sure you can connect to your workplace tools and video conferencing services. Your house utilities will also rise, as you use the lights and stove more often. Even your water bill is likely to go up a bit.
You’re also likely to use up house essentials faster, which means buying them more often. Items like toilet paper, sugar, and milk for coffee and even hand soap are items you’ll most likely use even more. You may also get inspired to try out new recipes since you have extra time from not communicating.
So while you might not eat out as much, your grocery bill is likely to rise as you spend that money on other essentials.
Working from home usually requires some extra expenditures. Whether it’s upgrading your computer so you can work more effectively, paying for a higher internet speed, or investing in additional equipment like a printer.
You could also be spending money on things like a nice desk or a better chair to support your back. You may also need to buy office supplies, like pens and post-it notes.
Be sure, when determining a work-from-home budget, to factor in these costs. You’ll likely be able to write off a number of them come tax season, since they’re business-related, but you’ll still have to pay for them now.
WORKING FROM HOME WILL AFFECT YOUR BUDGET
Working from home will affect your budget but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With a little bit of planning, you could save thousands of rands a year!
Get Free Access to Carrie-Anne's Budgeting Made Easy Email Course
Join thousands of subscribers and take action today and create a fool-proof plan for your finance with a step-by-step guide!