Does Working At Home Save You Money?
Visions of working in one’s pajamas are easily conjured up by many who yearn for the ‘freedom’ to work from home. At a glance, it seems that the question of if money will be saved by working this way is trivial. Of course, you will save money on commuting, on business attire, expensive lunches, and even the giving of corporate gifts, etc. The question of saving money from working at home is so-o-o-o obvious (and if said by my teenager would be accompanied with a roll of the eyes!).
Before you start bankrolling those savings for a cruise, I want you to again, stop, and see if you can take the concept of ‘saving money’ – which you will – to the ‘reinvestment of money’ – which you will.
It is prudent to sit down and go over your budget for the past six months to a year. What you are trying to separate out is the money you spend on work-related things in your life. You want to look at the money you spend on the following items:
– Travel, transportation (including tolls/parking/tipping of lot attendants); include also a portion of your car’s depreciation and maintenance.
– Clothing – Business attire including shoes/haircuts/makeup, etc.
– Lunches and dining out that is business related and not reimbursed.
– Gifts; from thank you gifts, to the birthday gift for your boss, for the farewell and other celebratory gifts you are asked to contribute too.
– Office Supplies – The truth is that be it a briefcase, pens, or a stapler, most of us contribute to the corporate office budget rather than take things from work. If you use your home computer and phone for work, then you are subsidizing your work using your own equipment too.
– Contributions – Think back and estimate the money you spend on charitable contributions that perhaps you would not choose to do, or would choose to do differently. This includes everything from employee giving campaigns to Girl Scout cookies.
There are other things as well, but this little exercise is a big revelation in terms of where a lot of your money is being recycled back into your job!
Now I am not advocating that because you work from home you stop paying attention to appearance or stop donating to charities of your choice. I am saying that ,because a significant portion of those expenses will be reduced at some point as you build your business, that you set aside a budgeted, monthly portion equivalent to at least one-half of what you normally (and usually unknowingly) spend a month on these items. This will be the beginning of your capital stake – funds you will use to ‘reinvest’ in equipment and training for your own business.
Notice – I am not speaking about dipping into your retirement savings, maxing out your credit cards, or denying your family of anything extra. I am talking about plain, old linear math and plain, old linear thinking.
Amidst the real changes that I have been discussing with you regarding a change in your attitude towards work, your life, and the people you want and have already in your life, I am asking you to change your attitude towards the importance of spending money for work instead of on work. Begin to give to yourself, and as the well fills up, you will attract the resources to give to others!