Tips to Save Money Working From Home
With the rise of the gig economy and improvements to digital infrastructure, more and more people are choosing to work from home. Not only does this eliminate the time and cost of your daily commute, but it can also provide a sweet tax deduction for your dedicated home-office work space. With that said, if you are working remotely there are some overhead costs that you will incur when setting up your home office, and we have three simple tips to help you save some money while working from home.
Keep All of Your Receipts
This one sounds simple, but you should keep all of your receipts in a safe place. This will make it easy to document your business expenses and reduce your net taxable income when it's time to settle up with the IRS. It will also help you avoid a lot of headaches and save you time should you get audited.
We recommend printing a hard copy and maintaining those in a home office filing system, but you should also invest in a low-cost cloud storage solution so that there is a permanent digital record that can't be lost in a fire, flood, or when your computer dies.
There are lots of cheap cloud storage solutions on the market, but I like G Suite, which only costs a few dollars per month. It's an expense you might get your employer to shell out the cash for, and if not ... well, keep the receipt and include it as a business expense.
Kick Your Keurig Habit
We've previously written a long article about how much money you can save by brewing your own coffee at home, but when you compare the cost of K-Cups (Keurig has become one of the most popular choices for home-brewed coffee) with buying ground coffee and brewing yourself a pot with an inexpensive drip brewer, those savings really add up.
Money.com recently published an article on just this subject, citing a study by The Atlantic. They found the cost of the actual coffee when you buy a pack of K-Cup pods works out to $40 per pound ... that's more than 3x the price of buying gourmet ground coffee. Drip coffee tastes just as good (some will argue it tastes better), and the savings for your daily coffee can really add up over the course of a year ... especially if you drink a lot of coffee.
Oh, and it's better for the environment too.
Try These Printer Hacks to Save Money
These days many remote workers do limited printing, but there are still quite a few jobs where you'll be required to print regularly. There are a few things you can do to save some money if you fall into this category, and it's good advice for anyone who has a printer in their home office.
First, unless you absolutely need color, set your printer to print in grayscale by default. This will extend the life of your color ink significantly and can cut down on ink costs.
Second, refill your own ink cartridges rather than shelling out for brand new cartridges at your local store or through an online purchase. Sure, you can write-off these business expenses, but you're still shelling out the money as an operating cost throughout the year and you can cut this expense.
Finally, if you do a lot of printing consider investing in a laser printer rather than an inkjet printer. You won't have to replace the toner nearly as often as you'll run out of ink, these printers are faster, and the investment in your home office is something that will qualify as a business expense for your home office (providing you only use the printer for business purposes).
Working from Home (Can Be) a Great Decision For Your Finances
According to Flexjobs, working remotely will save most workers an average of $4,000 or more annually, and with small tips like the three highlighted in this article, you might be able to stretch your savings even more.
Be smart about how you set up and furnish your home office, read the tax code carefully, and make sure you're investing in the business infrastructure that your home office needs to succeed.