Over two years since the start of the pandemic lockdown, a large number of people are still working remotely. While this is usually seen as a positive thing, there are a number of challenges to come with doing everything at home.
From trying to help your kids with their remote schoolwork to the increased amount of essentials consumed, you might find out remote work has increased stress and financial strain for your family. Even though there are more responsibilities working from home, you can still overcome these struggles and enjoy remote work to the fullest.
Insurance for working from home can be cheaper than when you have to drive to work. Buying in bulk from places like Costco is great for getting discounts when you have a lot more to buy while working from home. We’ll talk about these and some of the other ways that you can save money and relieve stress as a remote worker.
#1 – Buy Insurance for Remote Workers
Auto insurance is one of those expenses that come out of a person’s pocket every month without them really thinking about it. As a remote worker, you may start wondering why you need to have insurance if you never drive or if you only drive once in a while.
In many states, a licensed driver must have auto insurance coverage regardless of how often they drive their vehicle. One thing you can do to save some major money as a remote worker is to inform your insurance agent that you are now working from home. Most companies will give you a discounted policy if you drive for a limited amount of miles.
Metromile is one company that does the most extensive work with these policies. Their programs track your mileage with an installed device and give you an updated policy each month depending on how much you drove.
Make sure you discuss your options with your insurance agent to find the best discounts as a remote worker. You don’t want to pile up extra money on something you are no longer using as much.
#2 – Reassess Your Food and Necessities
When working from home, you might spend a lot more money on food and other necessities than before. You eat lunch at home now. You go to the bathroom at home instead of the office. Your kids may be at home, too, and using these supplies more often.
These are extra expenses you didn’t have when working on location. Therefore, you need to find some creative ways to save money on your essentials. It can be tempting to eat out a lot when you don’t know what to serve your family, but try to put your creativity to the test.
It is healthier and typically cheaper to plan meals at home instead of buying meals from fast food places like McDonald’s. Think about making healthy fruit juice at home instead of going to the cafe. Search for sales at your local grocer, or go to a wholesaler like Costco if you need bulk food for your large family.
You also save valuable time by only going to the store once in a while when you buy large quantities. If you feel you need more confidence in planning meals or grocery shopping in bulk, try reaching out to friends, family, or even online resources for help.
#3 – Pull Your Child Out of Daycare
Another enormous expense many parents have when they go to work is the care of their children. Putting your kids through daycare can cost thousands of dollars per year.
With roughly 25% of the workforce working from home now, many companies are becoming more flexible with their employees keeping their children home during working hours. While working a full time job at home and taking care of your children can be difficult at times, if you can manage both, you may save some serious money.
Your kids will eventually learn when they can get your attention and when you need quiet time to focus on work tasks without being interrupted. The increased time you spend with them might help them in school and improve their happiness.
If your children are at home instead of daycare, try setting up a regular workday routine so they can get used to their new normal. Plan lunch, nap, and other activities daily to keep your children engaged and focused throughout the day while you work.
See if family members such as grandparents can care for your children if you know you have meetings or work days requiring more attention than usual. This will help your little ones grow closer to their relatives, relieving stress for you while performing remote work.
#4 – Limit Your Entertainment Options
Finding ways to entertain your family is challenging when working from home. There are only so many movies and video games to be played before everyone gets tired of sitting on the couch. This is where things can get much more expensive, especially if you are planning a celebration.
Kids may want more elaborate parties and ask you to entertain them more often while working from home. They see you have time available, which translates to them that you have more time for their recreation. They are right that you should take advantage of being home by letting loose but don’t spend too much money doing so.
Stay within a specific spending limit by only buying a certain number of games or toys for your children within a month. If they want to go somewhere fun, like the zoo, let them know it’s still a special event. It will not be done more often just because you’re working from home.
Finding entertainment is all about spending in moderation. We often forget to have fun when working, so remote work has reconnected us with our families and personal interests.
A good baseline for spending money while working remotely is the 50/30/20 method. This means you will spend half of your budget on bills and necessities and split the other half between fun and savings, 30/20, respectively.
You don’t have to stay on this exact budget. Tinker with it to find the right balance for your life. Once you find what’s right for you, working from home can be everything you have always dreamed of.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. He wants to help people understand how working from home can save them money on auto insurance.