With most of the world now working remotely, there are a lot of adjustments that have been made in 2020.
For example, once Covid-19 hit the world and shut many places down, including schools and daycares, many parents were left scrambling for providing their own childcare while also working remotely.
Luckily, over the course of the pandemic and this year, many places have reopened, schools and daycares have enabled safety measures. But with most people still working remotely, the costs can actually add up when working from home. There are numerous items that we use at work every day that we no longer have access to such as office supplies and that comfy office chair.
When moving from an office home, the commute costs are cut out but the extra costs can add up. For example, if you needed to create an adequate workspace from home, then you may have needed to purchase a desk, chair, new monitor, and office supplies. You may need a printer or landline as well. Along with these expenses and with the temperatures starting to drop around the world, you also must take into consideration higher heating bills since you and your family are home all of the time.
How To Save Money
With all of these added expenses, then you may need to consider all of the ways that you can save money during these times. Listed here are several considerations to make for working from home on a strict budget:
1. Energy Costs
Of course, being home all the time will raise your heating bill in the winter and air conditioning costs in the summer. With the entire family home all of the time, then you may also be using all of your electricity more such as running the dishwasher more, using the washing machine more often, and even watching television more. You can work to lower these when on a tight budget but home all the time in many different ways. First, you can start hand washing some of your dishes in order to alleviate the constant use of the dishwasher. You can also only turn on the heat or air conditioning in the rooms that you are working in during the day.
2. Office Costs
If you are working from home and cannot be reimbursed by your company for the added expenses (especially if you own your own business or work as an independent contractor) then you will want to find thrifty ways to get what you need for your home office. With the growing number of people working from home in the UK, it can be hard to find the right products at lower prices. When it comes to your computer, there are many options for buying a refurbished laptop in the UK as well as purchasing discounted office chairs and supplies. If you are struggling with slower internet speeds, then you may need to upgrade your work line with an ethernet cable, which will speed it up. You can also consider building your own standing desk.
3. Staying In Shape
If you are used to using your company’s gym every day on your lunch break, then you were in for a rude awakening with Covid hitting and being stuck inside all day. Luckily there are cheap options for staying fit when you don’t have access to your office gym or your ClassPass. You can purchase a yoga mat and workout from home. You can also stay fit by going for walks or runs in your neighborhood. You can participate in any of the high-intensity workouts that you can do from your home or your yard as well.
4. Food Costs
Another thing to consider when trying to work from home on a budget is the added food expenses that may occur. You may notice all of the ways that you saved money in the office, such as eating snacks provided by the office or drinking the free coffee every day. When staying at home all day, then your food costs may be on the rise. It is important to try and plan meals for you and your family during your workweek and during the weekends since everyone is home for a majority of the time. You can start planning for cheaper meals such as big bowls of rice ramen and add eggs into them for added flavor. There are many more options for recreating cheaper meals with new ideas, such as fancier grilled cheese sandwiches that you can add with your ramen. It is also important to make larger meals for lower costs while stocking the fridge full of leftovers. So, whereas this may take more planning, you can save money in the long run.
5. Tax Breaks
Another way to save money is to look for any pandemic related tax breaks or government assistance. If you own your own business or work as an independent contractor, then you may find yourself with added tax breaks during this time. You may even have some access to government funding or aid if you apply for it. This can apply to many types of small businesses, including ones set up as an independent contractor. It is worth looking into or mentioning to your tax advisor in order to see if this is something that is available in your area. As an individual, you may also receive individual relief money that can help you out.
With all of the stress from working from home during these times, there are many ways to relieve the stress. It can be a nice time to relax at home with your family or your ‘pod’ of friends that you can still visit. You can find ways to make things cheaper – anything from drinking boxed wine instead of bottles to purchasing bulk foods to make large family meals such as lasagnas and salads. If you find yourself in a bind, then try to find as many ways to cut costs while staying optimistic at the same time. Eventually, the world will return to normal, and you may even enjoy working from home! Remember that you cut out the commute as well as needing to get dressed up every day.