More people have been working from home in recent years. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, they believe that up to two-thirds of all Americans could be working from home by the year 2025. Many companies are employing home-based employees as well as freelance consultants. Currently in North America, there are 52 million home-based workers. (Source: WAH Careers) If you are a home-based employee or consultant who is interested in finding ways to cut expenses while working from home, this article will share some tips on how to save money.
Money Saving Tips for the Home-Based Worker
# 1 Make an appointment with your accountant. You may not realize all of the tax advantages you can receive from working at home. Tell your accountant that you have a dedicated home office and want to write off a percentage of your utilities. Keep track of all of your office expenses—from purchasing paper and ink to business lunches—and provide all of this information to your accountant. You may be eligible for more tax deductions than you think. The IRS website lists various expenses that can be deducted. Practical Spreadsheets offers free spreadsheet templates that can be downloaded to keep track of your expenses. The templates are compatible with Microsoft Excel, Google Docs and Open Office.
# 2 Find ways to lower your electric bill. For obvious reasons, working from home drives up your electric bill. You can claim a percentage of the electric bill for a tax deduction. However, any way you can save money is beneficial. Even though your computer, laptop and printer have a sleep mode, you can still save at least $40 per year simply by using an eco-friendly power surge protector. When the devices go into sleep mode or are turned off, the surge protector completely shuts off the electricity.
# 3 Look for ways to save on ink and paper. Costs of paper and ink can get expensive. Rather than purchase name-brand paper, look for the generic brand which is less expensive. On average you can save about 30% buying generic brands. Another option is to shop for the ink at a warehouse store like Costco. They have a refillable ink program where you can purchase certain ink cartridges and get then refilled at a discounted price of $7.99 – 9.99 per cartridge.
# 4 Shred your documents and recycle paper. Shredding your important information is necessary to protect yourself from identity theft. However, it will also reduce your waste so you’ll use less trash bags and save money. In my home office, I also reuse paper that has already been printed on one side. If I printed something and don’t need it any more, rather than throw it away, I reuse the other side as scrap paper for notes etc. You can compare prices of reams of copy paper to also save money.
# 5 Plan your purchases and shop in bulk. Planning ahead and keeping track of your office supplies is a good way to save money. You’ll keep an inventory of what you have and won’t waste money on buying items that you don’t need. Shopping at wholesale stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s is a good way to purchase necessary items in bulk—like a box of 10 – 20 reams of paper. Not only will you save money on the cost per ream, you’ll also save money on gasoline by not having to go back to the store as often.
# 6 Save money on phone and internet costs. Two of the major internet providers, Comcast and Verizon offer bundles on their cable TV, Internet and phone costs. You can save money by purchasing one of their bundle packages and also then claiming a percentage of the costs for a tax deduction. The other option is to go with a VoIP service to save money on your phone costs. Consumer Rankings has listed the top ten best list of VoIP providers on their website.
# 7 Keep your office space clean. A clean space creates a more effective working environment. You’ll save more money by being organized and not wasting time on double work. Also, by not eating in your office space, you’ll keep it clean from crumbs and messes. This will keep the insects and rodents away and you won’t have to worry about any mice chewing on wires. Not to mention that you’ll receive health benefits by walking and not sitting in your office all day.
Saving money while working at home is feasible if you take the time to make a plan and stick with it. Learn steps how to save money and be mindful of not getting into wasteful spending habits. The seven tips discussed in this article will help you to get on your way to saving money while working from home.