Whether you’ve been working from home for years or are new to the at-home workforce, there are likely many adjustments you’ve made or need to make in order to perfect your remote working style.
In addition to things like reorganizing your space to have a set home “office” area or gathering activities to entertain children while you’re taking conference calls, working from home can have an impact on your finances, as well.
Fortunately, by being conscious of your choices and establishing good habits, there are plenty of ways to save when you shift to working from home.
Practice Smart Electricity Usage
When you’re working from home, you’ll use more electricity than if you were working in a traditional office away from your house. But, changes like powering a laptop to lighting what would have been an empty room don’t have to come at a high cost if you practice smart electricity usage. For instance:
- Switch to LED bulbs when/where possible – While these are an upfront investment, they can save you in the long run, as they’re more efficient than traditional lightbulbs.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room – Taking just a few seconds to make sure you’re only running power to the lights you need can add up to big savings.
- Unplug your electronics when they’re not in use – If working from home has added extra electronics, such as a laptop, to your home’s device count, make sure you’re unplugging them when they’re not in use. Electronic devices can pull electricity even when they’re not in use, so limiting the amount of time they’re plugged in can prevent your bill from rising unnecessarily.
Make Lunch Instead of Ordering In
Many restaurants offer meal delivery or takeout over lunchtime, and it can be tempting to use these services if you’re not in the mood to cook or are looking for a reason to get out of your house. But resisting the temptation to have lunch made for you can lead to big savings and help you maximize use of the groceries you already have in your home. We’ve outlined some ways to make this task feel less cumbersome below:
- Prep your lunch the night before – Just as if you were heading to the office, you can streamline your workday routine by prepping your lunch the night before. Whether it’s chopping veggies for a salad, making a sandwich, or assembling something more intricate, getting it prepared before your workday begins can help you ignore urges to order food out and free up some of your lunch break to complete other tasks or simply relax before getting back to work.
- Pair up with a partner or roommate – If you live with a partner or roommate, share the work of making lunch. Depending on the types of lunch you’ll prep, you can alternate days (for things you’ll create in single servings) or weeks (for larger dishes that can be divided into several days’ worth). If your partner or roommate doesn’t also work from home, this method can still work – they’ll just need reusable portable containers to pack their meals in.
- Make a little extra – If you’re already cooking dinner, make a little more than the recipe calls for. With most recipes, it’s typically easy and cost-effective to increase the numbers of servings you’re making. When your evening meal is complete, divide the leftovers into single serving containers and store in your fridge for an easy-to-grab lunch over the next few days.
Maximize Reduced Transportation Costs
Transportation may be an obvious way that you’ll save when you cut your commute to the office. If you used to rely on mass transit, you won’t have to buy tickets to get back and forth to work. If you drove a personal vehicle, you’ll need to fill up your gas tank less frequently, as well. There are other ways to save on transportation that may match up nicely with your working-from-home lifestyle, as well.
- Reduce maintenance costs – In addition to reduced wear-and-tear costs, such as tires and brakes, your vehicle may not need oil changes as frequently either. Many cars no longer need oil changes in a set time period (i.e. every three months), but require changes based on mileage instead. Check your car’s owner’s manual to find out if reduced mileage means you can spread your oil changes further apart.
- Eliminate unnecessary errands – If you’re like many people, you probably tacked your errands onto your commute to or from work when you were heading into an office. To maximize how much you’re saving on gas by not commuting, consolidate errands into one trip or eliminate some altogether. For instance, utilize digital banking services such as mobile apps and mobile deposit offered by your financial institution to cut out trips to branches or ATMs.
- Update your insurance – Car insurance prices are based on many factors, including how many miles you’re driving each day. If your work situation has changed, reach out to your insurance provider to discuss any discounts you may be eligible for if your car is staying parked more often.
Use Flexibility to Your Advantage
Generally speaking, your company will set work-from-home policies around the type of work employees do. Those policies will determine how much flexibility you have when you work from home. Consider the following ways to put any flexibility you do have to good use.
- Reduced childcare hours – If you have children of any age, working from home can likely save you money on childcare. With great flexibility, you may be able to balance caring for your child while you work. With less, you may still need less coverage since you won’t have to factor in commute times or may be able to rearrange your work schedule to work more hours on fewer days. With school-aged children, you may be able to avoid paying for before or after school care by being present to get them on or off the bus each day.
- A less formal wardrobe – Working from home will likely allow you to own fewer professional clothes. Since in-person meetings will lessen or disappear altogether, your professional clothes will get less wear, making them last longer. If you have video conferences, you can build a capsule wardrobe, requiring you to buy fewer items while still having a professional look.
Let PSECU Complement Your Work-from-Home Style
Though it may be an adjustment at first, if you’re working from home, you’re likely (getting) comfortable relying on technology for your essential tasks and enjoying the cost savings that can come from remote work. For tips to save even more on your day-to-day expenses and ways PSECU’s digital banking services can meet your banking needs from the comfort of your home, visit our blog.