Over the last few years, working from home has become more and more popular. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing your job remotely, running a small business, or setting up as a freelancer, the benefits to this choice are many and varied, with one of the biggest being the lower costs. However, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to be frivolous with your money. While setting up a home office is often the less pricey choice, there are still some costs that could ruin your budget unless you’re careful. With that in mind, here are fifteen ways to save.
Recycle What You Have
As tempting as it can be to buy all new furniture, equipment, and décor for your new office, you should really try to resist. Instead, look around your home and consider items you already have to hand. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a fancy desk when a small table will work just fine for now. You can also use a spare chair from your dining room instead of purchasing one specifically for offices. To give yourself a treat, go for something a little cheaper, like a plant.
Shop For Used Furniture
Of course, if you have none of the things you need already in your home, then you will have to do a little shopping. However, that still doesn’t mean that you should pay through the nose. Rather than buying the items you need brand new, you should check out second-hand options in newspaper ads, online, and in used-goods stores and charity shops. You’d be surprised at just how much money you can save on products in just as good a condition as those more pricey.
Buy Essentials In Bulk
Unfortunately, when it comes to stocking an office, it’s not just the furniture and computer that you need to consider. You also have a number of other essentials, from pens and paper to tea bags and snacks. For things that you know you’ll need plenty of, you should consider buying them in bulk. More often than not, suppliers will offer fair discounts when you do this. By buying in bulk, you can also save on shipping, as well as the time you would use making regular orders.
Pool Your Purchasing Power
While buying in bulk is the cheaper option long-term, it can put a huge dent in your finances right now, which is something you may not be able to afford. Thankfully, you do still have options. Rather than buying large quantities of products alone, you should pool your purchasing power with another freelancer or small business. You can split the products and their cost between you, allowing you to save money, both with the bulk-buy discount and the halved shipping cost.
Negotiate Long-Term Discounts
Working from home means you may not have the space to store the items you buy in bulk. Rather than allowing your office to become cluttered with boxes, you should try to negotiate with your suppliers. Ask them for the same rate those pay for products in bulk, and, in return, commit to purchasing a certain quantity of their items over a period of time that they specify. Just make sure that you’re realistic about the future and can honestly agree to make these purchases.
Pick Up Orders Yourself
There’s nothing worse than filling an online shopping cart with items you need only to realise that shipping them to your home will cost almost as much. If you live near a supplier, you can eliminate this cost completely by picking up orders directly from the store or warehouse. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, then a friend or family member could do it for you. However, you should only pick your order up if it will definitely save you money and not cost you even more.
Look After Your Car
Having a home office means that you don’t need to commute to work every day of the week, but it doesn’t necessarily cut out travel altogether. Fortunately, you can keep the cost of your trips low by looking after your car and operating it in an efficient way. You should keep tires properly inflated, replace the filters, and remove any unnecessary weight. You should also have it serviced regularly. This will help to prevent costly breakdowns and improve fuel efficiency.
Use Energy Efficient Products
It’s not just your car that pays to be used efficiently. All of the technology in your office does. Throughout a single working day, you’re going to use much more electricity in your home than you would have done working elsewhere. For this reason, you should make changes to be a little greener and keep your energy bills as low as you can. Switching to energy efficient products is a great place to start. You should also remember to turn these things off when they’re not in use.
Turn To The Cloud
Products like paper and ink cartridges may not seem particularly costly when you buy them, but, if you do a lot of printing throughout the day, the purchases will start to add up. To combat this, you should stop storing documents in a filing cabinet, and instead turn to the cloud. This is cheaper, better for the environment, and produces less clutter. That being said, you should still find discounted ink cartridges and paper. After all, there will be some files you need in hard copy.
Protect Against Online Attacks
When most of your business is conducted in and revolves around the online world, a cyber attack or virus can be absolutely catastrophic. For this reason, you should protect yourself and your business by investing in antivirus software. You should also make sure you only use safe internet connections and stick to long and complicated passwords. This will save you from the costs involved in losing and recovering data, the related downtime, and damage to your image.
Don’t Renew Your Insurance
Unfortunately, it’s not just the digital side of your work that is at risk. If criminals choose to, they could also attack your home, stealing or damaging vital equipment that is required for you to earn a living. This is why it’s so important that you have the right insurance. However, that doesn’t mean that you should stick with the same policy every single year. Rather than automatically renewing your insurance, you should shop annually and do your research to find the best deal.
Pay Your Bills Online
When it comes to paying your bills, you usually have a few options. Instead of sticking with the old-fashioned method of paying by post, you should do so online or over the phone instead. This can help to save you time and money on postage. As well as this, some companies offer discounts to customers paying online, as it’s a more convenient option for them. However you decide to pay, make sure you do so when you’re supposed to, or you’ll face additional charges.
Keep Track Of Deductions
When you work for yourself, it’s usually up to you to make your own tax payments. The figure you’re told you need to pay can seem substantial at first, but, when you take away all of the deductions, it can be cut down significantly. With that in mind, you should make sure that you don’t overlook any expenses you can use. From a portion of your rent to lawn care and house cleaning services, there are many to consider, so make sure you do your research.
Insist On Prompt Payments
The longer money is in your bank account, the more interest it can gain. Because of this, you should insist on prompt payments from all of your customers and clients. To give them an incentive, you can set and enforce credit terms that charge them for waiting too long before they pay. If you wanted to go in another direction, then you could reward those that do pay early instead. Whatever you decide, ensure that you take prompt collection action when it is appropriate.
Improve Your Time Management
In the business world, time is money, and that is the case whether you work for yourself or not. For this reason, you should find ways to improve your time management and use the hours you have each day more efficiently and productively. Distractions are a huge time waster and a major problem for people working from home. To keep distractions to a minimum, you should find somewhere quiet and private to work. You can also set office hours, so no one interrupts you.
There aren’t too many people in this world that would say they regret working from home. While it certainly has some downsides, with the convenience, comfort, and financial benefits, there’s very little to complain about. However, you should try not to get too carried away with your home office expenses. Although it may be cheaper, having a home office is far from cost-free, so follow the advice above to save some money and protect your budget.