Do Work-at-Home Jobs Save Commuting and other Work-Related Costs?
My husband and I do not work outside the home, yet our gas bill is significantly high. After three years of living in our rural community and working from home, we’ve realized that working from home has some cost considerations that commuters do not have and that working outside the home may save some money on traveling costs. While working at home has immeasurable benefits, the cost-savings of working at home could be minimal.
Working from Home Requires Separate Trips for Necessities and Outings
The Average American worker has a 25 minute commute each way, according to the Census Bureau. When I worked outside the home, my commute was 20 minutes each way. So when I left my job to earn an income from home to join my work-at-home husband, I thought I would be making that commute once or twice a week for random errands and grocery trips. I greatly underestimated the number of times we would need to leave our home, and I underestimated the value of combining the work commute with weekly or daily errands.
Our Mileage Increased by Working at Home
Because we live in a rural community, we imagined we’d save money on gas by earning our incomes from home; however, we learned that working in town creates a closer center of origin for traveling to business in town. A one-way commute from my home to town is approximately 12 miles. The commute from a job in that town to my child’s school, the grocery store, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and a local restaurant is, on average, only one mile. So, while I could be driving 25 miles a day to work, completing errands outside of my work day did not impact my commute. The need to drive outside of that town only impacted the travel by an additional five to ten miles from my place of work.
When we must grocery shop, we travel a distance of about 15 miles to the store. One commute averages a thirty mile trip. We don’t start at a central origin to travel, so making separate trips to shop or to take the kids to dance lessons costs us more mileage per week than had we started near a more central location (place of employment).
We Pay More for Internet by Working at Home
My husband works for an actual company with real Internet requirements. For casual browsing, we would not need the type of Internet service we have now, which is nearly $50 more than we would have paid for basic Internet service.
We Pay More for Clothing Than Expected
Until we were invited to a few events which required semi-formal wear, we thought we’d save substantially on clothing by working at home. We don’t have to have a weekly wardrobe for clothing, but when we are invited to organizational events or to certain semi-formal events, we find we must scramble to find something appropriate to wear. By the time we realize we’ve lost weight or gained weight to the point of not fitting what we have, we must buy new outfits simply to attend a wedding or a nonprofit event to which we were invited. We have found that we should maintain a similar wardrobe as we would if we were working outside the home, as certain volunteer opportunities or events require the same time of attire. We have found it far too easy to allow our wardrobe to become outdated and out of fit for unanticipated events.