(The following is a transcription from a video I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
As someone who’s been working at home for the last 13 years, I discovered there’s about six hidden expenses that most of us don’t think about, in terms of working from home. And so that’s what we’re going to be discussing in this article.
I remember 13 years ago working inside of a cubicle with a little fluorescent light hanging over my head.
I could look as far as I could see and barely see a window in sight. I was in the midst of this cubicle abyss, and I remember desiring to work at home and have that freedom.
It wasn’t too much longer after that, I got the unexpected answer to my prayer by getting laid off. And I found myself working at home, starting my own business.
I quickly realized that while it is amazing, there are definitely some challenges that come with it, and some expenses, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about now.
If you would rather see our YouTube video on the hidden expenses form working from home, you can do so here:
Number six on the list is food. Depending on how you spend your money, this may or may not be an issue for you. A lot of people are saving money because they’re not going out to eat every day. And if you were going out to eat at your corporate job and going out every single day, you’re probably saving money by being at home.
But for those of us who brought our lunch, or who only went out to eat a little bit, you actually might be spending more money on food. And the reason is, there’s no friction. It’s just sitting right there. The pantry is just a few steps that way, and you can get to that food so much quicker, so much easier. And as a result, take it from someone who’s been doing this for 13 years, I eat a lot more food when I’m at home.
Now a tip on how to handle this I actually got from this book here, from a friend of mine, Atomic Habits…which is a great book by the way. And the tip is to create more friction to keep you from getting the food, or to at least keep you from getting to the food that’s more expensive, or that you don’t want to be eating.
In the book, James is talking about how he always found himself going to the pantry to get a bag of chips, rather than going to grab an apple out of the drawer in the fridge. And so what he did was he just reversed it and added more friction to get to the chips, and made it easier to grab an apple. So we put a bowl of apples out on the kitchen table so they were always within reach and easy to find. And then the chips, he made more difficult and hid them and made them farther away, so it’s more of a challenge to get to them.
5. Office Supplies
Number five is office supplies, because printer paper does not buy itself. Now for most of us this probably isn’t a big expense, pens, printer paper, I don’t even know some of these things. They’re just not a big expense for most of us. But it is something that we’re not thinking about and something that does add up.
So number four is electricity. And most of us do not think about this because it’s difficult to measure how much electricity you’re using. And because we can’t measure it and we don’t know what’s going where, we tend to just forget about it and just pretend like it’s not happening.
But the reality is that it does cost money to power your computer, to keep your AC on, to keep the lights on in the room, all these things add up.
For those of you who are really nerdy like me, and really want to find out exactly how much you’re paying for these things, you can get a tool called Kill A Watt. I think you can pick this up for 15 bucks on Amazon. We’ll put the link in the description, if you want check it out. And so what this tool does is allows you to plug in whatever you’re using through it, and then you can measure exactly how much electricity you’re using, and then calculate exactly how much it’s costing you to run that particular appliance for a given month.
3. Increased Insurance Costs
Number three, increased insurance costs. So depending on what kind of work you do, you might need some additional insurance to be working from home.
Homeowners insurance is typically not designed to cover you and I working at home. So you want to check with your insurance company to find out if you’re covered, what’s covered, what isn’t covered, just so you know where you stand.
So here’s an example to consider. What happens if your computer gets stolen? Now, if your company purchased it and they’re allowing you to use it at home, I would think they would cover it if it got stolen.
Now, what if it’s a personal computer, but being used for business purposes? Will your homeowner’s insurance cover that? That I don’t know. So this is why you want to check with them to find out what you’re actually covered for, and what you need to get covered for.
2. Device Wear And Tear
Number two, device wear and tear. So, laptops, they just wear out. The more you use them, the faster they wear out, right? So if you’re a freelancer, you’re running your own business, this is something you just need to be aware of.
It’s something you need to factor into the cost of doing business. But if you’re an employee, try to use a work machine whenever possible. Or ask to have one, if they haven’t given you one.
All right. So before we get to the last and final one, I want to hear from you down in the comments. If you are working at home, what have we missed? What needs to be added to this list? And also if you’ve learned anything, hit the like button to let us know.
1. More Hours And Less Free Time
And now let’s get to the last one. Number one is that you typically work more hours and you have less free time. And I learned this the hard way, because I just assumed, you go home, you just work your eight hours.
But what happens, because of all the distractions and all the other things you can do, you often spread things out a little bit wider. And so even if you do exactly eight hours of work, it’s spread out more around nine or 10 or 11 hours.
So maybe need to go do a load of laundry, maybe you need to go change a diaper. Maybe you need to help your spouse with whatever. But all of these are things that, if you were in an office setting, you wouldn’t normally be doing during the day. And so, even though you might be doing the same amount of work, typically it gets spread out a little bit wider and you feel like you have a little bit less free time.
And if you have a room that you can close a door, by all means, get it. I have a door right back here that you can see. And just the fact that I can close that, helps so much to reduce some of those distractions.
So, like I said, I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I have learned to love working at home. I really enjoy it a lot. And I really think I benefit in a lot of ways by doing it. But there’s no doubt that there are some challenges and some expenses there that we need to be aware of, and compensate and try to adjust for, whenever possible.