How to save $20k a year with a home office
I used to rent an office for my web design business, then I got tired of driving back and forth to work and paying someone else’s mortgage. Solution? Work from a home office and save money.
By conservative estimates I save more than $20,000 per year and 156 hours of time with a home office. Sound too good to be true? Here is breakdown of my time and cost savings:
- I used to pay a monthly rent of $803
- Now I write off a portion of my mortgage, heat, and hydro (conservative estimate of $400/month)
- Annual savings: $14,436/year
- No longer pay for Internet service at business rates
- Use my residential DSL service instead and save $80/month
- Annual savings: $960/year
- No commute saves me 40 minutes per day (13 hours/month)
- Fuel cost savings ($150/month)
- Less ‘wear and tear’ on my car and I’m putting less CO2 into the air
- Annual savings: $1,800/year and 156 hours/year (6.5 days)
- After school daycare and summer daycare ($300/month)
- Picking up son after school is a forced coffee break
- Annual savings: $3,600/year
- Lunches ($200/month)
- Coffee ($60/month)
- I tend to eat a lot more leftovers now and throw out less food
- Annual savings: $3,120/year
I was very conservative with these time and cost savings, yet my calculations show that I save $23,916 per year by having a home office.
I take only 2 weeks of vacation each year (self-employment has its cons as well). By simply not having to commute to work ever day I gain 6 days of free time each year or another week of vacation. Too bad I can’t bank those hours for a week in July.
In addition to the financial and time benefits, I tend to be more productive with a home office. I don’t have people from neighboring offices interrupting my work flow with general conversation, computer help, thin walls and bad music.
I failed to mention that I did a major home renovation so that I could have a really nice large, bright, home office. Instead of putting my money into rent I invested in my home for the long term.
Home Office Cons
Having a home office isn’t for everyone. If you have to do a major renovation then there is a huge disruption to your family life, not to mention the stress of delays and cost overruns.
You have to be disciplined to work at home because you’re faced with distractions all day long. I’ve talked to people that tried working at home but spent more time watching TV or cleaning than actually working for their clients.
If you’re a workaholic you can end up spending all of your time in a home office. It can be hard to turn off and spend time with family, cut the grass, have a life.
Isolation can also be an issue if you’re a very social person and need the buzz of an office around you to be productive. Sometimes I miss the water cooler conversation which is why I try to get out and have lunch with friends and colleagues whenever I can.
For me the pros of having a home office far outweigh the cons. I just wish I made the move sooner.