Most people know that working from home as a freelancer tends to pay less than a salaried position in the same field. Sure, there are exceptions to this: some freelance consultants, writers and designers are fortunate – and talented – enough to earn very handsome incomes indeed. For most stay-at-home workers though, incomes tend to be ’modest’ at best – and that’s before the taxman gets involved!
However, there is more to consider here than mere income alone.
The fact is, not going out to work makes a lot of daily job-related costs – costs which most salaried workers regard as normal – largely redundant. Having relatively few (if any) outgoings means a freelancer can look upon their total income figure for each week/month as profit (deductions notwithstanding); a luxury which salaried workers do not have. Suffice to say, including this consideration can, depending on circumstances and choice of profession, help to make some freelancers’ overall income look far more healthy!
So what kind of expenses are we talking about here? Well, here are three of the most significant expenses that can be sidelined or mitigated when working from home:
#1 Commuter costs
Undoubtedly the most obvious and most welcome saving of all. Although petrol prices have been coming down almost everywhere in recent months, driving to and from work ten times a week still costs a pretty penny. Those who have to rely on public transport to get to work each day are even worse off financially, especially those who use the train as passengers have been hit with yet another hike in ticket prices this year. Of course, this is all irrelevant to work-at-home freelancers as the only commute they have to do is from their bed to their home office. Needless to say, the potential savings to be made here, particularly over the course of a financial year, are likely to be very significant indeed. Very.
#2 Food expenses
There are no mark-ups, service charges or ’voluntary tips’ to worry about when a worker’s own kitchen is their break-time café of choice and the weekly Tesco shop takes care of all their lunch menu needs. But is there really that much of a difference between the cost of eating lunch at home and the cost of buying lunch out at a cafe, pub or fast food joint? Well, when it’s considered that one single coffee at a chain coffee branch costs more than an entire jar of supermarket coffee, it’s clear to see there are some delicious savings to be had here.
#3 Childcare costs
Working from home and looking after kids at the same time is seldom a good idea. After all, it is hard to get into a groove and remain productive when there are children around needing attention. However, the flexible nature of working from home ensures outsourced childcare (and the associated costs) can be reduced, sometimes quite considerably. For example, stay-at-home workers can easily devote a couple of afternoons during the week to childcare as they will be able to make up that time by working a couple of weekday evenings or perhaps a day at the weekend. While savings of this kind may seem modest from the outset, they can actually add up quite a bit over the course of six or more months (or quicker for parents of large broods).
The great nineteenth century rambler, naturalist and self-sufficiency nut Henry David Thoreau once famously declared that ’...man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.’Although not entirely appropriate to the context of freelance working (the influential American’s mission was to encourage the virtue of a simple, back-to-basics lifestyle), it is fair to say these words, especially when they’re paraphrased, resonate pretty strongly when it comes to espousing some of the perennially underrated financial benefits of working from home:
Ergo ’Freelancers are rich in proportion to the number of things they don’t have to spend their profits on.’
Can you think of any other potentially significant savings work-from-home freelancers can make? If so then please share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.
Image: FOX News