Before the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home was considered a remote possibility for many individuals and businesses. While the benefits were clear, many people still preferred commuting to physical offices and the concept of a workplace was still traditional.
Thanks to COVID-19, all that has changed now probably for good. Employers have been forced by circumstances to rethink their business models and enable their employees to work from home. On the other hand, employees have had to redefine what work means and how they can turn their living rooms and kitchens into offices. The shift hasn’t been easy, but nothing comes easy these days.
However, looking at the positive side, working from home can have huge benefits across the value chain from employees, to employers, to the clients being served. This article looks at the best tips to save money when you are working from home.
When working from home, there is an obvious cost saving-the regular travel to and from work. According to research by Totaljobs, by the time UK workers retire, they would have spent about £135,000 on average in communing costs. If you work in the city of London, your average monthly commuting expenses stand at £305.
While the cost per mile for workers travelling to and from London is about 42p, almost twice the national average, commuters to other cities travel much longer distances. Imagine you drive to work daily. Working from home saves you wear and tear, car maintenance, and gas.
If you live in a city and use mass transportation, you can easily save money you would have otherwise spent on travel expenses such as Pop Pay As You Go (PAYG) smartcards. Even if you are working from home for a few days a week you can save big on these commuter expenses.
Go for Home Cooked Meals
As you prioritise your bills, one of the cost elements that will truly stand out in terms of savings is food expenses. A typical worker usually spends more on fast foods than home-cooked meals. When you are late from work, chances are that you’ll pop into a fast-food joint and pick a snack or depending on the time of day pick up a lunch box from your favourite restaurant.
Group orders for lunch deliveries at the workplace or tagging a colleague along for lunch is something that has been normalised at the workplace. Apart from the money you spend, most of these foods are not necessarily healthy. In no time, you’ll begin packing thousands of calories which is a health risk.
The average Brit spends about £6.08 on lunch each day. Those in London spend more than twice the national average at £15.51. This is according to research commissioned by The New York Bakery Co.
What is surprising is that most Brits (78%) say that they only eat lunch to keep their energy levels up. This means given an option, they wouldn’t be paying for their lunches at all. This is where working from home savings come in. You get to eat healthy foods that make you feel good.
A home-cooked meal will save you lots of money as it costs a fraction of its restaurant equivalent. For instance, a can of beans or a handful of lentils can cost you about 50p and feed a family of four.
Therefore, food savings are real, and you can take advantage of working from home to slash your food costs without compromising on quality and nutrition.
Work Out from Home
Don’t get this wrong, gyms are super important, and everyone ought to exercise to keep their bodies healthy. However, have you asked yourself how much you spend on gym membership fees and other subscriptions?
Gym memberships wildly differ in cost but on average expect to pay between £40-50 a month. When you add the other expenses, such as joining fees, these costs can quickly add up. Gym memberships may also be categorised based on the different packages offered.
Working from home can save you some of these costs. For instance, you don’t have to stick to the gym that is on your way to work even though its terms may be unfavourable. Also, you can invest in your gym equipment right at home. Despite the one-off cost for which you can even take emergency loans if you are hard-pressed on cash, in the long run having your gym equipment in the house is a cheaper option.
Think about doing yoga through a YouTube instructor. Some of these classes are offered for free or at a fraction of the cost, you would pay in a physical gym. Apart from the money savings, you can also save on the time you spend which can be converted to earning time. After all, time is money.
Minimise Childcare Costs
If you have a family with small children, childcare can be one of those costs that can eat into your income. With a registered childminder in the UK costing about £233 per week working 50 hours and a live-in nanny costing about £400 – £650 per week, childcare costs can form a significant part of your savings.
While working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that you have time to take care of your child at the expense of your employer, you won’t have to pay for a professional childminder. Even if you will be saving £100 – £150 per week that can take care of something else.
Leverage Bundled Family Cell Phone Data Costs
Most cell phone companies have family data plans that everybody can use as long as they are within the same place.
Telcos such as BT Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Three, have discounted products designed for a family. The products bundle both broadband, landline and TV with a provision to add extra devices.
If you are commuting, you may have to get an extra plan where you may pay up to £50 a month for both phone and airtime. However, when working from home, you can plug into the family plan and realise savings immediately.
Working from home seems like a revolution of the workplace concept but looking at it closely, it is an opportunity to make savings as you enjoy a quality working environment. Whether it’s food costs, commuting expenses, childcare costs or even communication expenses, you can make significant savings at every point.
The tips in this article are by no means exhaustive. However, they give you a great head start as you scan through for other areas that you can cut costs by simply working from home.