Working from home can save you money
There’s more and more of us doing it – according to the Office of National Statistics, more than 2.1 million people are working from home and about 8 million spend at least some of their working week in the house instead of the office. Todays’s guest post on behalf of PicStop outlines how to save you money while working from home:
Expected cost savings
There are obvious cost savings to working from home, whether you’re employed by a company or going it alone.
- Travel: The most obvious is the commute to work – in a country where public transport costs are sky high and rising all the time, and the cost of petrol and keeping a car on the road is equally soaring, it’s a huge relief to cut out the cost of travelling to work.
- Clothes: Then there’s the cost of a working wardrobe. Obviously, home workers will still need to dress up every now and again for meetings, client visits or Skype calls. But you can definitely make fewer smart clothes work harder when you’re at home.
- Eating/drinking: Food and coffee costs plummet when you’re working from home. Not giving in to the urge for a certain high street chain coffee on the way to the train station every morning and being able to always eat quality, home cooked food (with a little organisation on your part). Brewing your own coffee every day will save you a fortune.
- Claiming expenses against tax: You have the freedom to become as tax efficient as possible while working from home – and it’s all in your control. You just need to be diligent about keeping receipts and logs. You need to be able to prove, for example, which parts of your phone bill were for business reasons and which for personal. Allowances on furniture and equipment bought specially for your business can also be claimed. Keep records and logs and it should be easy enough to save money this way.
Saving money on other costs
Heating, lighting, office supplies, childcare, wear and tear on furniture: all of these are costs to be considered when working from home, whether you’re employed or self-employed. Here’s a few simple tips to keep costs down:
1. Keep your home office simple.
Work out what you actually need – usually a computer, some kind of printer, desk/surface, good chair and internet connection – versus what you might want (i.e. fancy stationery and loads of matching furniture).
Check out sites to find reconditioned office furniture and consider buying refurbished computers to make further savings.
2. Heating and lighting.
Our current endless winter makes it tricky to stay warm all day working from home without heating. But, at the same time, soaring energy costs mean it incurs a huge cost. But there are ways to keep warm in your home office without running up huge bills:
Wear lots of layers
Use a small stand-alone oil filled radiator if necessary rather than central heating
Make sure everything that is not being used is turned off (light switches, wall sockets)
Don’t leave gadgets on standby as you lose a lot of energy that way
insulate your home as much as possible
Consider taking your laptop to a library or cafe if possible – that way you can stay warm and someone else pays for it!
3. Replacing supplies.
A big cost can often be things like printer ink. You will probably have bought yourself a nice, cheap, all in one printer as there are many on the market. But you may not have realised the huge cost in ink they can incur.
Alternatives are available. Have a look at place like PicStop for cheap compatible ink from brands like JetTec. It is so easy and so much cheaper than replacing cartridges with your printer brand.
4. Be internet smart.
Check the prices of your broadband and landline deal – chances are you’re paying over the odds. Phone up your provider and say that you want to leave. This will almost inevitably prompt them to make you offers. Negotiating your way to a better deal is very much within your grasp. Try it! The MSE website has some great tips for comparing broadband prices and making a saving – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband
5. Technology over traditional.
Most people use Skype or a similar VOIP these days, and if they don’t, it’s very simple to install and use and means you can make voice calls and video calls absolutely free of charge. It’s also a good alternative to face-to-face meetings if your client agrees – video chats can give the feel of the personal touch without the time and money wasted in journeying up and down the M1.