can I save money by working from home?

Yes, of course, it will. Depending on your commute, you’re not driving 30 miles to and back from work, getting on a crowded train, your lunch is free from the cold box in your kitchen and all that expensive socialising has unfortunately been put on hold by COVID-19. But, in all seriousness, there are some savings to be had and some drawbacks you may not have considered.  

top 4 savings from working from home.

  1. fuel
  2. food
  3. public transport
  4. parking

1. fuel - no daily commute. 

Unless you have an electric car then skip this tip, you’re not going to be saving much here. We could assume here £8.40 for a full charge based on a 60kWh battery for 200 miles. So depending on how many miles you do potentially saving £6.40 per week or £25 a month. 

However, for the 95% of you still driving petrol and diesel as of 2020. Based on an average car running anywhere from 30mpg to 50mpg with most drivers somewhere in between that range, you could be saving around £40 per week. At the higher end of consumption, this equates to £2500 per year, which normally we would counter to using public transport as an alternative method of travel. When working from home that’s like a bonus straight in your pocket. 

These calculations assume zero personal travel, but even after a lockdown on travel may be lifted it’s still extra money towards a weekly food shop to help in these uncertain times.

2. food - no expensive lunches.

Now, you may potentially be snacking more or still be rationing your supply, either way, there are potential savings here. By not going to the office canteen or out for lunch (and potentially a few drinks) you can save anywhere from £3 or £5 per day to £10 or £15 if you enjoy your London sushi bar outings.

Considering this, this can range from person to person but let’s take an average and say £8 per day and you’re saving another £40. Now comes what you do with that £40, you’ve still got to eat right? In these difficult times, it is likely that there are limited food options and you may either now be spending more on whatever is available or less on pure quantity as the shelves look like they’ve been airing re-runs of supermarket sweep for too long.

It is difficult here to estimate the savings on food, beyond what you are not spending at work or on the go so you will have to think about how much that costa coffee costs, that now comes from a tub in your kitchen, or the sausage roll you walk to Gregg’s to purchase is now one of many in a multipack you grabbed off the shelf last week as their numbers dwindled. 

Eat sustainably and consider those who have not.

3. public transport - no more trains!

Yes, the tube has now been closed and you no longer need to worry about getting to work on time. In fact, your daily commute could be in the same room. Instead, you can focus your energy on calculating how much you spend on your way to work every day.

Ok, we’ll do it for you. Now discounting the potential morning bagel or doughnut and coffee from the station to the office you can still save around £10 per day. Again, this will vary depending on your commute, so for central Londoners who can walk and tube to the office it may only be around £3 per journey. But, if you are a regular commuter or use the high-speed rail services that can be £18 per day into London, consider savings of £50 - £80 per week. 

4. parking - avoid those tolls.

So, you don’t take public transport but your office doesn’t have any free parking. Prices for parking will wildly vary with cheap pricing around £1 and hour. Depending on how you use your parking you can be saving £14 per day. London may report £35 per day in some areas with Brighton and Bristol claiming £14 - £19. Let’s take this average as another £75 on top of your fuel costs.   

But, what about the extra expenses incurred by working from home, like electricity and gas?

top costs to consider when working from home.

utility bills.

You’re living at home now potentially 24/7 so those 8-10 hours you spent away from your house now have to occupy you. Do you have to turn the heating on? Maybe not, but you do anyway it’s not as warm as the office and you want to be comfortable. What about the radio, that needs to be on too, perhaps you’re playing if from your speaker set-up or from the TV (that is definitely not on Netflix at the moment). 

Either way, with the weather how it is, it could still be cold enough for the heating to need to be on. Also, your laptop or PC will need to be running on average 80watts for 8 hours, combined with lights, your ‘concentration music’ and gas heating, it all adds up. 

This can be a tricky one to work out and with LED lighting and more efficient power supply and devices, costs may be negligible. A very rough guide to how this might work is to consider a room as a division of your total energy bills. For example, a five-room house according to UK power comparison with a gas and electricity bill of £137 will come to a cost of £27 per room (£137 ∕ 5 rooms = £27 per room), with increased usage this could double to £50 potentially. We still have to consider boiling the kettle, cooking and increased fridge opening to raise those electricity bills.

So, if you live in a 2-bed house with £70 monthly bills you may see smaller changes in your overall bills from a more efficient house. The main thing to consider is whether you need to turn on the heating or can you put on a jumper. You will be using more energy for sure but its impact doesn’t have to scare away your overdraft. 

Average cost of common household appliances.

  • Kettle - £3.50 per month could raise to £5
  • Laptop / PC for 8 hours a day - £3 (x2 if two people work from home)
  • TV - £2 per month 
  • Toaster - £1 per month

Consider all these items as additional costs to your usual bills to get an idea of increased usage, but also account for a reduced workload on washing machines if you are wearing fewer clothes. This will vary, but your ‘work clothes’ can potentially be discounted from your weekly wash, fewer gym clothes potentially and reduced dry cleaning costs for suits. 

Due to our current modern society of paying in contracts for unlimited usage for most bills, there are few other incurred costs to working from home beyond living costs. Phone usage and internet are mainly on contracts, not pay-per-use, rent, mortgages and living costs will stay roughly the same when we account for the other savings. 

Stay safe, stay at home, wash your hands and avoid the elderly in the nicest possible way. You can still phone or video-chat them to keep them company, it can get lonely now more than ever. You can save a lot of money working from home, so be careful with it and spend it wisely. Give back where you can and be kind. 

Has spending more time at home, made you reassess your current job? See the latest vacancies here to discover something new and exciting.