How working from home can save you money
3 ways remote work can cut monthly spending.
One result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive increase in telecommuting. According to an April 2020 MIT survey of 25,000 American workers, nearly half of them are now working from home.1 And if you’re a remote worker for the first time, the adjustment can sometimes be tough. After all, your home is now your office too.
But working from home can also save you money. Think of all the money you usually spend on your commute, morning coffee or child care, for example. Now that you’re working from home, you can save on all of those costs—and a whole lot more.
Here are a few ways working from home could save you money.
1. Pause some recurring monthly costs
One way to save money as a remote worker is to cut back on recurring monthly expenses. Because of COVID-19, some of your monthly expenses—like your gym membership—might be paused automatically. You could also pause autopay for things like public transportation and child care while you’re working from home.
Here are a few monthly bills that you might be able to save on while working remotely:
- Transportation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average American household spends over $10,000 on transportation each year.2 Whether you drive to work or take public transportation, just think of how much you’d save without your daily commute. And those potential savings could also include auto insurance. Because of COVID-19, some car insurance companies are actually giving funds back to eligible policyholders.
- Clothing. If you’re working from your home office, you might not need daily business attire. The average household spends over $150 per month on clothes.2
- Gym memberships. If your gym is closed due to COVID-19, that could mean automatic savings in your pocket. Some fitness centers have put membership fees on hold while they’re closed due to the pandemic.
- Child care. For families, child care might be one of the biggest monthly costs. In fact, a 2019 study shows that nearly half of American families spend 15% or more of their household income on child care. And while it can be difficult to work from home while juggling child care duties, you might not have a choice if your child care provider is closed.
2. Meal prep and brew your own coffee
If you’re working from home, you probably won’t be making a morning coffee run or heading out for lunch—especially while nonessential businesses are closed due to the coronavirus situation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends over $660 on food every month. And about 43% of that is spent on food eaten away from home.2 Based on those numbers, cutting out those morning coffee runs, cooking at home and making the most of leftovers could save you more than $3,000 each year.
Worried about your grocery bill ballooning while you’re at home? There are still steps you can take to avoid overspending on food.
3. Consider a smaller cell phone data plan
You won’t necessarily be using your smartphone less while working from home. But working from home means you could connect your smartphone to your Wi-Fi network—especially if you’re already using Wi-Fi for work. And when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you won’t be using data from your cell phone carrier.
You can also manually turn off your cellular data whenever you don’t need it. You can even set data alerts and limits in your settings and your carrier’s app. That can help keep you from going over your limit and paying overages. And those alerts and limits can be especially helpful if you don’t realize your phone has disconnected from your Wi-Fi.
Rethinking your cell phone data plan can help you save a portion of the nearly $1,200 that the average American spends on cell phone services each year.2
Total cost savings when working remotely
Because of COVID-19, more Americans than ever are working from home. While working from home can come with its challenges, it has its perks too.
Paused monthly expenses, meal prep, fewer coffee runs and a different cell phone data plan could help you save some money.
And even if you eventually go back to the office, you can still use these money-saving tips. You might find that you don’t need those morning coffee runs or expensive lunches after all.
Learn more about Capital One’s response to COVID-19 and resources available to customers. For information about COVID-19, head over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.
1“COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data.” (April 6, 2020). Retrieved April 30, 2020, from https://mitsloan.mit.edu/shared/ods/documents/?PublicationDocumentID=6322
2“Consumer Expenditures Midyear Update—July 2018 Through June 2019 Average.” (April 28, 2020). Retrieved May 4, 2020, from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesmy.nr0.htm