No more daily commutes, no more annoying colleagues and working in your pajamas – Of course, I’m in!
There are so many advantages of remote work, that I can’t even list them all here (go check out this list with the best remote work benefits). But one very important plus side is definitely the fact that you will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year by working from home.
Check out the following list and see how much exactly you can save each year with a work-from-home job in comparison to an office-bound job.
Work-From-Home Job-Saving Factors
Of course, potential savings depend on everyone’s individual situation. Nevertheless, the following factors and numbers are a nice orientation to get an overview of how much money you could possibly save when working from home.
1. Daily Commute
That’s probably the first thing that comes to your mind. Depending on where you live and how long you usually have to commute to work, this can cost you a whole lot of money.
We have to distinguish between people who drive to work in their own car and people who use public transport.
a) Own Car
Let’s start with the people who use their own car to commute to their office. A study by SimpleTexting gives us some interesting numbers.
These numbers are based on average commute times. If an employee in Portland starts working from home, he could save 373 USD a year on gas. A person living in Altanta could even save 555 USD in one year. An impressive number, isn’t it?
Ditch Your Car?
These are only annual gas costs. If you would not have to commute to work anymore, could you give up on your car entirely and switch to public transport instead? If so, you will save even more money.
- Maintenance. Even if your car is in great condition, you will have annual routine maintenance and maybe repair costs. A study of AAA-Approved Auto Repair found that these costs are on average 766 USD per year.
- Tires. Of course, you won’t need new tires every year. But spread across the time you will use them, this comes to about 147 USD per year, according to AAA.
- Taxes. Taxes can vary a lot depending on your country/state and car type. According to the before-mentioned source, you spend an average of 665 USD for taxes, registration, and license.
- Insurances. Again, insurance costs depend on the drivers’ age, habits, location and company. Based on a low-risk driver with excellent driving records, you will have to spend around 1,115 USD on car insurance per year.
As you can see, your car costs you around 2,690 USD every year (without gas!).
b) Public Transport
In case you don’t own a car and use public transport to work every day, you will also have a lot of saving potential if you start to work from home. Again, this strongly depends on the city you live in and the local tariffs.
If you commute to work 5 days a week you are often best off buying a monthly transport ticket. Here are some price examples:
- Los Angeles: 100 USD a month / 1,200 USD a year
- New York City: 121 USD a month / 1,452 USD a year
- London: starting from about 182 USD a month / 2,184 USD a year
- Berlin: starting from about 888 USD a year
Surprised how expensive public transport can be if you need to use it all year round? Me, too. When you work from home and skip the commute, your savings are huge, no matter if you drive to work in your own car or use public transport.
Of course, you can prepare your breakfast and lunch at home and bring it to work with you. But experience shows that many employees prefer to buy their food at work. Either because they forget to bring their own sometimes, because it’s easier than preparing so many meals, because it tastes great at your cafeteria, or because it’s a nice way to socialize with your co-workers.
Let’s assume each meal at work costs about 8 USD. That makes 40 USD a week and 1,920 USD a year (based on 48 working weeks a year). That is a lot of money.
Now you might think: Yeah, but I need to eat something, even if I work from home!
That’s right! So let’s check how much it would cost you if you prepared your own food at home.
Assuming you are able to prepare your own lunch for about 3 USD, that will come to 15 USD a week and 720 USD a year.
As you can see, preparing your own lunch at home, rather than buying it at work every day, will save you 1,200 USD a year (= 1,920 USD – 720 USD).
Why does coffee get its own position in this list? Because many people need their daily dose of caffeine and they are not aware of how this little expense can add up.
Many of my friends quickly go to the bakery next door or a Starbucks to get a quick coffee to go before heading to work. If that one cup costs only 2 USD, that will be 10 USD a week and an astonishing 480 USD a year! For coffee!
If you wouldn’t go to the office every day, you are more likely to brew your own at home. This will cost you what? About 0.40 USD per cup? That would come to 96 USD per year.
This means you can save 384 USD per year (= 480 USD – 96 USD) if you skip the coffee on your way to work and brew your own at home instead.
4. Business Attire
Whereas in some offices you can show up in pretty much whatever you like, other jobs require you to come in professional business attire or specific working clothes. And these often cost a lot of money.
It’s hard to estimate what exactly people spend on their work clothing. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2015 US-Americans spent on average 1,850 USD per year on apparel.
If we assume that we only use half of that for work, that makes 925 USD a year for business attire.
And these are only the initial costs. You often can’t throw your expensive apparel in your washing machine. A report by First Research says that businesspeople spend between 500 and 1,500 USD annually on dry cleaning. Madness!
Working from home in your casual, every-day outfits would surely save you that money.
5. Beauty Products
It’s no secret that attractive people are more successful. According to a Newsweek survey 59% of hiring managers advise people to invest just as much time and money on your appearance as you do on crafting your resume.
Business attire is often not enough. Especially, women tend to put way more effort into their looks when they go to work. That includes makeup, hair products, manicure or regular facial treatments or hairdresser appointments.
A Skin Store survey found that US women spend an average of 8 USD a day on makeup and facial products. I have to admit that I find this number very high. If we say that we spend 8 USD a day for 5 days a week and 48 working weeks, that makes about 1,900 USD per year. What a number! Since I still don’t entirely believe that this reflects the average woman, let’s at least assume it includes expenses for nails and hair products, too, to be a bit more realistic (I know it’s not very accurate but hey, it will do for a rough estimation).
Would you spend as much on your appearance if you didn’t have to go to an office but stay at home where only your family sees you? You probably wouldn’t! You would be ok with the basics and only go for more every once in a while but not 5 days a week.
So let’s say that we only spend half of it if we stayed at home. That would still save us 950 USD a year.
6. Tax Breaks
Another area where you can save money working from home is taxation. Well, at least you can claim several home office deductions that only telecommuters get.
This can be your home office space, décor, maintenance, business expenses or even property taxes. To be precise: A home office deduction of 3,000 USD, can lower your taxes by 750 USD. Not too bad.
There are also a few savings that are intangible but still important for your work-life-balance.
One of the biggest remote work benefits: You save plenty of precious time.
If you only commute for 30 minutes each way every day, that comes to 5 hours a week and 240 hours or 10 full days (48 working weeks) a year.
And that’s just the commute. How much time do you need in the morning to get your 8 USD makeup on? How much time do you spend to bring your business clothing to the dry cleaning service? That’s time you could save if you worked from home.
Yes, you also save nerves when you telecommute. No more cramped public transports or frustrating traffic jams. No more impatient bosses standing right behind your back and no more nerve-racking co-workers.
When you work from home you can avoid that sort of stress or at least keep it at a healthy distance. This will improve your mental well-being a lot.
Do you want to learn how you can easily save 10,000 USD in only one year in your every day life? Check out the linked post to get the best tips.
Summary of Savings
Ok, let’s sum up what we’ve got:
Gas: 373 USD and/or
Additional Car Costs: 2,690 USD or
Public Transport: 888 USD
Food: 1,200 USD
Coffee: 384 USD
Business Attire: 925 USD + 500 USD
Beauty Products: 950 USD
Taxes: 750 USD
+ Time & Nerves
If you commute to work every day via public transport, you can save about 5,597 USD a year if you started working from home.
If you commute to work by car, you can save roughly 5,082 USD a year.
If working from home allows you to sell your car because you don’t need it anymore, you can save 7,772 USD.
*Just to say it again: These are only average numbers to get a first idea of the potential savings. These will obviously vary depending on the individual situation.
Remote Job Benefit: Great Savings
As you can see, you can easily save a couple of thousand dollars every year when you work from home.
Of course, there are disadvantages of remote work, too. Just think of the fact that your social contacts through work will be limited when you sit home alone all day. Or the downside that communication can be harder over the phone, especially when you have to explain complex issues.
You can read more disadvantages of telecommunication in the linked article.
Remote work is surely not perfect and definitely not the best choice for everyone or suitable for every type of job.
However, these numbers prove that from an economical point of view, working from home is a very interesting option. Since more any more people discover these benefits, employers should consider integrating more remote work opportunities to keep their employees happy.
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