Money & Career

Working from Home & Your Finances

Working from Home & Your Finances

Illustration: iStockPhoto/E.

Money & Career

Working from Home & Your Finances

Expert tips to help you save money while you work from home.

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since we shut down
and changed our lives completely due to COVID-19. Many of us left the office to work from home. At the beginning, it was a mad rush to ensure the technology was sufficiently functional to work remotely and meet with people via web conferencing. Then we had to figure out online schooling for our children. In time, we got into more of a groove (and sometimes a rut) because it seemed as though it was the same day just rinsed and repeated, like a bad version of the movie Groundhog Day.

Perhaps now your employer has offered you the opportunity to permanently work from home. If so, here are five ways you can maximize your finances:

 

1. Transportation

Since you may not be commuting much, if at all, how can you pivot those previous costs to help your bottom line? Some people have shifted from a two-car to a one-car family. Others have cancelled their insurance to increase their monthly cash flow. If you're already saving money by commuting less, consider putting the amount that you previously spent directly into a savings account.

 

2. Food

This is a great area to save some money with fewer trips to the drive-through for coffee on the way to work and even fewer trips out for a daytime latte or lunch. This doesn’t mean you need to do without. Ensure you have a good coffee maker or teapot, buy your favourite brew and enjoy it at home. You’re saving money by not eating out as much. If you want to go further, consider “paying” yourself for your coffee. For every cup of something delicious you drink during the workday, put a toonie in a jar. Take the money that you would have spent and put it into your future vacation fund.

 

3. Taxes

When you do your taxes, investigate if there are any government write-offs you may be eligible for.

 

4. Clothing

Working from home gives our annual clothing budget a bit of breathing room, kind of like the stretchy pants we’ve been wearing every day! There is literally less wear and tear on your clothing when you work from home. And let’s be honest, so long as you keep your webcam focused on the top half of your body, you can wear a pair of jeans, shorts, or sweatpants and no one will notice. Look back on what you spent in 2019 on clothing and shoes. Compare this to your spending in 2020 when you started working from home. Note the difference in spending since working from home and challenge yourself to put that money directly into your savings account. You can always replenish your wardrobe later when you need to.

 

5. Childcare

This is an area where you may or may not be saving some money. If you’re able to save on childcare expenses, can you divert these funds elsewhere or bank them for when childcare resumes?

Working from home has some drawbacks; however, it can also have some tremendous perks, including giving your savings a boost. Perhaps treat working from home like a financial challenge for you and your household. How much money can you put into your emergency account, TFSA, RRSP, or savings account just by diverting what you’re saving by working from home? Good luck and happy saving!

STACY YANCHUK OLEKSY IS DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY AWARENESS AT THE CREDIT COUNSELLING SOCIETY.

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Working from Home & Your Finances

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