Just a few months ago, I had the exciting opportunity to pack up my office and hang my professional attire. Of course, I took the opportunity to work from home and have been as happy as a kid in a candy store ever since. There are certain drawbacks of not working in the office, mostly missing out on the in-person interaction between colleagues and the free donuts. On the other hand, not having to listen to every detail of your coworker’s Tinder escapades is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the advantages of working from home.
You see, the perks of earning your salary from the comfort of your own home are practically endless. You avoid scraping the ice off your car at 7 a.m. to start your winter commute, eat your own food, set your own thermostat and most importantly, save a boatload of money.
But how much money are you saving by working from home? FlexJobs did some digging to find out exactly how much financial gain can come from working at home. The findings are good. Really good, in fact. Workers can save at least $4,668 annually by getting their job done at the house. Here’s how it works.
1. $686 by not gassing up your car to commute
The national average for commuting back and forth to work every day is about 50 minutes. This figure does not highlight the inevitable rush hour gridlocked traffic that will come into play from time to time. According to FlexJobs and AAA data, the yearly average of gasoline is around $2.20 per gallon. For a vehicle that averages 25 mpg, saving $686 is the least a commuter would save on gas. Driving a dually? You’ll be saving way more.
2. $725 saved on maintaining your vehicle
The wear and tear of driving a vehicle to and from work every day can make some commuters cringe. On top of gassing up your vehicle every week, basic maintenance is inevitable. Whether you like or not, new tires, wipers, oil changes, and a host of unexpected repairs are all requirements in order to stay safe on the road. By not driving every day, you’ll save $725 a year. Buckle up, kids.
3. $925 saved from not purchasing professional work attire
Don’t we all wish that every day was a casual day at the office? Too bad that is far from the real-life scenario. Standard career advice will always touch on dressing for success. You know, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” And that advice isn’t untrue. Some studies indicate that dressing in formal workwear like a suit or blazer can increase a worker’s productivity. The good news about working from home? You can wear jeans and t-shirt any day of the week. Heck, you can stay in your pajamas, if you want. You’ll save $925 from not having to buy professional attire. And that doesn’t even touch on the savings you’ll see from avoiding the dry cleaners…
4. $500 to $1,500 saved by avoiding that pesky dry cleaning
I will forever be annoyed by how expensive it is for garments to be dry cleaned. Depending on where you live has a lot to do with the price of dry cleaning. Hailing from a resort town in Colorado means steeper prices than those of more metropolitan area, at least from my experience. But no matter where you live, business attire often indicates a dry cleaning tab will be in your future. That pair of jeans and a t-shirt I mentioned earlier, no need to dry clean those classics. You can save up to $1,500 year by wearing machine-washable clothes to work.
5. $1,040 saved by not going out for lunches and coffees
It never fails, you pack a decent lunch to eat at work, then your co-worker friends proposition you to join them in checking out the new pho restaurant around the corner. You go, because who doesn’t like a good bowl of pho? Regardless, this very trend of spending unnecessary money on food and lattes ends up costing you about the same as a Travelzoo trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. On the other hand, brewing your own cup of joe and eating that salad at home saves you beaucoup.
6. $750 saved each year on tax breaks
If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, well then you’re lucky enough. Not only does having a dedicated office space yield a safe haven for the creative juices to flow uninterrupted, but you can deduct that space on your taxes. There is a little fine print when it comes to the tax breaks, but overall it’s pretty simple. Under the current tax code, at home workers can deduct $5 per square foot of office space, up to 300 square feet. Furthermore, you can deduct office supplies. And don’t be shy about this. Office supplies include your computer, desk, office chair, pens, paper — you get the idea.
7. Your ‘real’ salary
Consider your commute every day of the work week. Hours of your weeks are spent in some kind of vehicle, dealing with traffic back and forth. And how does that translate into your salary or hourly pay? Remember that you aren’t being compensated for your travel time. Often, workers don’t factor in how those hours spent commuting won’t be returned to them in their paycheck. When it comes to working from home, there is no lost time.
8. The value of work-life balance
Work-life balance is a term tossed around a lot these days. Many forward-thinking companies highlight a strong work-life balance during the hiring process. This balance is relative and defined differently based on who you ask. When it comes to working from home, you’re able to structure your day as you see fit — with the exception of video conferences, meetings, and the like. This freedom allows for a more fluid approach to your work day and how you structure your time away from the desk.
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