As Bennis Inc approaches its 6 month birthday, I’ve gained a good amount of life experience working from home to compile quite a curious list of unexpected ways I save money by being self-employed. Of course there are the obvious cost-savings of not having an outside office or a commute, but allow me to share with you the lesser known ways us “home-workers” save money:
Clothing—When I had to maintain a business professional wardrobe five days a week, I could justify my three closets stuffed with clothes. Now that my new job allows for a much more casual wardrobe, I find that I don’t have the same urge to spend compulsively on new work clothes. I can get away wearing the same thing over and over and I no longer need a separate work and casual wardrobe.
Water—In my new routine working from home, I save water through showering less. In anticipating your reaction to reading that last sentence, allow me to better explain. For my office job I would have to shower in the morning before work. I would then come home and exercise which would require another shower in the evening. Now that I can fit a run into my schedule anytime and don’t necessarily have to shower in the morning, I’ve cut my showers down to once a day. I’m not sure what this adds up to in way of a monthly savings, but every little bit helps, right?
Hair & Make-Up Products—On days that I don’t have a meeting or event, I really keep it casual. This means minimal to no make-up and rarely any hair products. If you’re a woman or even know a woman, you can surely understand the insane amount of money we spend on hair and make-up products each year. I’ve drastically cut down on how frequently I need to buy new products because I don’t need to use them every day working from home.
In all fairness I should also mention that most of these unexpected cost-savings are offset by equally unexpected cost increases of working from home.
Electricity—I really took for granted all of those times back in the office when I ran my electric heater endlessly and left lamps on overnight. I also severely regret ever complaining about the AC being too cold in the summer and sweltering in the free office heat in the winter. Now during the day, heating and cooling is on me. I also prefer not to work in the dark. However, I will admit I tried working by sunlight and sitting covered in sweaters and blankets to offset this cost. I’ve since rationalized those five extra dollars a month spent on electric is worth modern conveniences like heat and light.
Office Supplies—Have pens and paper always cost this much? I really miss the benefit of a job that comes with a supply closet. Notebooks, computer paper, pens and post-it notes are things you really take for granted when they’re free and at your disposal. Truly, my job only requires minimal amounts of office supplies, but you’d be surprised the random times I’ve found myself in need of a glue stick or construction paper.
Food—While working from home, the kitchen is too close for my own good. I can never resist the temptation of snacking while writing. When I worked in an office, I packed my lunch daily and had far more control over my sweet tooth. Now with a whole fridge of food at my disposal, I end up spending more money on groceries to satisfy my work munchies.
Toilet Paper—Go ahead and laugh as you liberally roll out sheets and sheets of your free office TP, but I’m serious. The stuff isn’t nearly as cheap as I think it should be (based on what it’s used for) and I’m shocked with how much more you go through when you work from home. When the majority of my day was spent in an office, the majority of my bathroom stops were made there as well. I think I can finally appreciate why my mom would get so excited when Charmin went on sale. While it may not be as soft, free toilet paper feels just as nice. Maybe the little café below my apartment won’t notice if a few rolls go missing….
So there you have it—the lesser known financial benefits and downfalls of working from home. Whatever your work situation, you’re bound to have something to add to this list. What are some odd savings or costs you didn’t anticipate your job bringing about?