There are a lot of perks to working remotely—like shaving hours off your weekly commute time, working from the comfort of your own space and celebrating casual Friday every day. But beyond those benefits, does working remotely save you money?
While it varies based on your personal situation (what you eat, where you live and the lifestyle you live while working remotely), you can save money by working from home. In fact, a hybrid worker saves an average of $19.11 each day working remotely when compared with working in the office, according to a survey from Own Labs in collaboration with Global Workplace Analytics. Those savings can add up to around $5,000 a year. Here's a breakdown of nine ways you can save money working remotely.
One of the biggest opportunities to save by working from home is skipping the daily commute. Those who travel to and from the office spend around $15 in commuting costs on average per day, according to the Owl Labs survey. You can cut back on gasoline, parking or public transportation costs if your daily commute looks like moving from your bedroom to your designated workspace. Some households may even find they're able to get by with one fewer vehicle when one person goes remote, cutting down on costs of ownership and maintenance.
2. Daily Food Expenses
With easy access to your kitchen, there's far less need to rely on carry-out meals on your lunch break. Grabbing lunch out can cost the average in-office worker an average of $13 a day, according to Owl Labs.
Of course, how much you save by working remotely will vary. Many bring their own lunch into the office, and many who work from home are still prone to indulge in delivery. But if you do decide to cook at home, you can shave a chunk of change off your monthly food bill.
3. Office Clothes
The cost of office clothing can easily tally up to hundreds per year—over $300 per year, according to a survey of 1,005 employees from NVISION, a network of physicians and health care medical professionals. But when you work remotely, you can come as you are (and cut back on expenses): in sweats, jeans, yoga pants or whatever is most comfortable and conducive to getting stuff done.
4. Pet Care
With the flexibility to take care of your pet throughout the day, you won't have to hire someone to pop in and take your dog for a walk. That can save you anywhere from $18 to $30 per walk, depending on average dog walker rates in your area.
5. Fitness Memberships
Shaving your commute off your workday can leave you with more flexibility in your schedule. You might find that it's just as convenient to skip the gym membership and create an at-home workout routine instead. If you invest in some budget-friendly home gym equipment, or simply stream a free fitness video or get some exercise outside, you can save money without neglecting your health.
6. Happy Hour
For in-office workers who hit up happy hour for in-person team bonding, average costs add up to a whopping $3,000 per year on average, according to a survey from Alcohol.org (a nonprofit center providing resources for alcohol use disorder). If you work remotely, you might find that substituting virtual get togethers can help you keep connected without racking up a tab.
7. Coffee on the Go
For in-office workers in the habit of grabbing a cup of coffee on their way into work in the morning (or an early afternoon pick me up over lunch), the costs can really add up. Having convenient access to your own at-home coffee setup could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.
Of course, if you prefer city life, the money you'll save by moving outside the bustling downtown may not be worth the lifestyle change. But wherever you prefer to live, not having to base your location on proximity to an employer can be freeing.
9. Tax Breaks
To be clear, you don't automatically qualify for any tax deductions or credits because you work from home. That said, if you're working remotely as a freelancer, contractor or small business owner, then you should know about some tax benefits that can save you money.
For instance, if you're a self-employed worker with a designated home office space, you may be able to claim the home office deduction. You may also be able to claim deductions for your work-related expenses, such as the materials, tech and utilities you use to get work done. If you fit the bill, learn more about taxes for freelancers.
Is Remote Work Right for You?
If you have the option to work remotely, there are plenty of benefits that could sway you in the WFH direction. Apart from the financial benefits, many who work from home also report increased job satisfaction and, in some cases, greater overall happiness.
But your results may vary. Some people find that they miss the social aspects of working in an office, and some find it easier to be productive—or to unplug in the evening—by commuting to the office. Balance the convenience and savings of working remotely with the perks of going into the office to make a choice that feels right for you.