First Person: Working From Home Is Costing Me

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Working from home is financially smart for us. It allows me to stay at home with the boys and still earn a paycheck. Many people assume that doing this is easy and low cost, but that is not always the case. I have realized that being at home also costs us money, sometimes more than it should. These are some of the expenses we have because I work from home, and what we can do to lower the cost.

Higher utility bills

At any given moment, you will see multiple rooms with lights on in the house. There are nine of us that live here, but I am mostly home alone during the day. I have the television running in at least one room, my computer is never shut off, and there are countless appliances all working overtime. In order to combat this issue, I have confined myself to one spot during the day . If I work downstairs, there is only my light, the television, and my computer on. That eliminates the excess electricity usage. If I am upstairs working, there is more being used. I have decided to work three out of five days downstairs. My husband and I estimate this will save us around $12 on the electricity bill a month, which comes out to $144 a year.

Added grocery expense

I am a terrible snacker when I am hanging out around the house. Pretzels, chips, cookies, and anything else that I can get my hands on while I work. I did some research and realized that we were spending about $10 extra a week at the grocery store for stuff that was not necessary. I looked at both my consumption and my toddler's, and I saw the problem area was snacking. We have now devised a plan to buy these things and ration them out into small sandwich bags. It is saving us $6 a week, and we are spending the other $4 for the chips and bags we need. That is a 60% savings, and I am still able to snack while I work.

Distractions

I am often distracted by the hustle and bustle of the house when others are home. I usually have to stop what I am doing a number of times because my toddler has gotten into something. The baby needs a bottle and to nap at least twice during the day. Those are just a few of the distractions that I deal with. I have missed countless opportunities because I was not available to click "claim" on something. While I know I would not have gotten every single one issued, I have missed out on at least $300 in the last four months. In order to work on that, I have been sticking to a regular break schedule. This helps me to know that when I do lose out on an assignment, I was actually "on break." Since tweaking things, I have been able to get a little more work, but it looks like I am still losing about $10 a week.

Working from home has some definite benefits, but it also can cost you money. We are working through the problem areas we have had, and it is making a difference. Everything has hidden costs, and these are the ones we face while I work from home.

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