The Cost of Working from Home

The Cost of Working from HomeAs a web developer, my husband’s job has always been very portable. He took advantage of every opportunity his employers gave to work from home. He lobbied for flex time and worked from home on weekends rather than taking vacation time for appointments and kids’ activities.

We had a list of reasons it would benefit both his employer (mostly based on increased productivity) and us (mostly based on money savings). When we finally struck out on our own, that was all we could think about.

No more commute — lower gas bill. No more work lunches — lower dining budget. No more dress code — lower clothing expenses.

What I didn’t consider were the additional expenses we would have in working from home.

It’s taken awhile for me to catch on to it, but we just wrapped up our first full year of business. As I was finishing our profit/loss statements and going through the family budget, I noticed a bit of an uptick in some of our household expenses.

There were the normal, expected costa of doing business — office supplies he could no longer retrieve from an office closet and the laptop that was no longer supplied by an employer — but there was an increase in everyday, household expenses brought on by working from home.

We have to buy our own coffee now that he doesn’t just grab a cup in the break room. This necessitated the actual purchase of a coffee maker. There’s probably a slight uptick in our snack budget for the same reason, but that’s harder to quantify. We’re also using more household supplies like toilet paper.

We do spend less on gas (as expected), but our electric and water bills probably absorbed most of the savings. Now that we’re home, we have to keep the heat steady all day. I used to have the thermostat set to shut off the heat (or air) for the bulk of the day when no one was home.

It’s not making a huge financial impact, but we aren’t seeing as much money savings we always expected to see when we gave up the commute and office lunches. It’s definitely worth it for the benefit of flexibility and spending more time together, but this is the side to working from home no one ever talks about.

Savings of Working from Home

  • commute (gas)
  • professional clothing
  • dry cleaners
  • office lunch

Cost of Working from Home

  • utility bills
  • office supplies
  • household supplies
  • coffee/snacks

Photo Credit: Flickr user: r.g-s

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