Still working from home? You’re not alone.
According to FlexJobs, 3.9 million employees work from home at least half of the time, and they cite a survey of company leaders which found that 80% of them plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time, and 47% will allow their employees to work from home full-time.
Similarly, the Breeze 2020 Exit Survey found that 72% of respondents who worked from home due to the pandemic in 2020 plan continue doing so at least some of the time.
Working remotely from home has its benefits. It provides you more time to work out at home, work hours in which you feel you’re at peak performance levels, and focus on having healthy eating habits at home.
In addition to benefits like these, have you ever considered how working remotely might impact your finances? In weighing the pluses and minuses of working remotely, the consensus is that there is far more financial upside than downside. Let’s look at both and see how things add up.
Financial advantages of remote work
You might be a bit surprised to see how many financial benefits there are with working remotely. They include:
If you’re currently working from home, you’ve probably already noticed this one when you look at your bank statement each month.
By working remotely, you save money on gas, car maintenance, and wear and tear on your vehicle. Some city dwellers are even selling their car and taking mass transit when they need to get around town, while some couples in the suburbs have sold one of their vehicles and become a “one-car-family.” This cuts back on car payments, insurance costs, and vehicle maintenance.
The money you save on insurance for the vehicle(s) you keep can add up quickly. You’ve probably seen commercials by car insurance companies touting how they give reduced rates or credits to policyholders because they’re driving fewer miles. But, if working from home becomes permanent, lower car insurance rates likely will, too, since you've eliminated your commute.
Many people have become minimalists when it comes to clothing. Office attire now mainly consists of yoga pants, jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops as they toil away in their home office or at the kitchen table.
It can get expensive comparing ourselves to others and impress them with new, trendy, well-fitting clothes. Keeping up with your co-workers can easily add up to $50 to $100 per month in clothing and shoe costs,
You may have found that you rarely wore the same clothes on the weekend that you wore at work during the week. This creates excess — and a very full closet. And most of your “work clothes” needed to be dry cleaned, and you know how that can add up.
Many people now working remotely find it remarkable how much money they have saved on food costs. Also, they are happier with what the bathroom scale says when they weigh themselves. Trips to the vending machines for their favorite high-calorie, high-fat snacks have been eliminated and traded in for carrots and celery from the refrigerator.
The savings you realize from not eating out for lunch when working from the company’s office are substantial. Most people don’t brown bag it – not exactly good for the image. Instead, they head out to the local deli or their favorite place for lunch and spend $10 to $15 for lunch. That adds up!
Using a conservative estimate of a $10 lunch tab every day, eating out 5 days per week adds up to $200 per month or $2,400 per year. You’ve given yourself a nice little raise by having a salad or sandwich at home every day.
If your family has young kids, working from home can save you a small fortune on childcare costs. For a family with two children in daycare, they can easily be saving $300 per month per child for an annual savings of over $7,000.
Sure, having kids around while you’re working from home takes some getting used to. Some people have formed small groups to help keep their kids occupied or learning while they work from home.
In some cases, couples have adjusted their work schedules for one parent to look after the kids while the other parent is working. If you have grandparents nearby, they can sometimes help with childcare as well.
If you liked to stop on the way to work and grab a latte or get one from the coffee cart at your office building, you’re also saving a tidy little sum each month.
Again, being conservative, a $3 cup of coffee every day adds up to spending $60 per month, or over $700 per year. Brewing your java at home may not be quite the same as having the local barista make your favorite hot or iced beverage. Still, with some of today’s coffee-making technology and a few YouTube videos, you’d be surprised at what you can whip up in your kitchen, at a fraction of the cost.
If you were one to decompress after work with your coworkers at your favorite watering hole, you know that it was easy to drop $20 for a couple of drinks and a tip. The same goes for meeting up with some of your friends who worked in the area for happy hour.
Both of these are fun, but they aren’t inexpensive and can add up. Enjoying your favorite cocktail at home or a glass of wine is also fun and much less expensive. You can even have a Zoom call with friends and coworkers after work and have a virtual happy hour together.
For those that exercise, many found it convenient and a way to socialize, but going to the fitness center before or after work and getting in a quick workout can carry a pretty hefty price tag. Gym memberships can run as high as $200 per month in metro areas, not to mention the cost of trendy workout gear and personal trainers.
It’s much less costly to buy your weights and a yoga mat at the sporting goods store, and there are also some good deals out there at stores that specialize in used sporting goods. Maybe you can find a workout partner in your neighborhood and lift or run together.
[ Related read: 7 healthy work-life balance tips ]
Financial disadvantage of remote work
Did you notice that the word “disadvantage” was singular? The pluses outweigh the minuses by far, but here’s one you need to be aware of.
If you are a company employee working full-time from home, your employer’s insurance will probably cover up to a certain amount for replacing a lost, damaged, or stolen piece of equipment, such as a computer. If you find the coverage not to be as much as you’d like, you’ll need to take out an endorsement to increase the coverage. $2,500 of replacement coverage won’t go far if you have a fire and all of your devices are destroyed; you’ll be much better covered with an endorsement.
If you work from home, chances are you love it, and you hope you’ll be able to continue, at least part-time, when things get back to normal. In the meantime, enjoy the money you’re saving.
Having grown up in upstate New York, Bob Phillips spent over 15 years in the financial services world and has been making freelance writing contributions to blogs and websites since 2007. He resides in North Texas with his wife and Doberman puppy.
The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.