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How working from home could save you thousands

Hannah Duncan looks at 5 ways you could be saving thousands by working from home.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

For many of us, working from home looks set to continue, for the foreseeable future at least.

As ironing boards replace standing desks and slippers become the new stilettos, things have never been so different. There are things we all miss – like being with our colleagues and the coffee break chat. But working from home has highlighted to many how much you can save by not spending on unnecessary items.

We look at five costs that ex-office goers (and their bank accounts) are not missing.

  1. Travelling costs

    Lots of us are probably not missing that long and painful commute to work. Whether you’re driving or taking public transport it can feel stressful and expensive.

    In 2018 across the UK, households spent around 14% of their income on transport, spending an average of £80.80 on travelling alone each week. Astonishingly, according to one survey, UK workers will each spend £135,000 commuting, by the time they retire.

    That’s one expenditure most of us will be happy to trim down.

    Since working from home, many of us are finding that we can still do the same great work using technology – saving us time and money.

  2. Office attire

    Not everyone switches up their outfit to go to work. But for those who do – those suits, smart shoes and handbags can make a serious dent in our bank balances. Research suggests that men spend an average of £500 a year on clothes to wear to work. While women, who tend to experience more pressure in the workplace to have a diverse wardrobe, spend an average of £1,500 a year.

    Taking this pressure away not only helps workers to save the pennies, but also makes for a healthier environment too. Fast fashion and the garment industry are the world’s second largest water polluters, accounting for 20% of toxic water and 10% of all carbon emissions. While some of us may like to dress nicely during the day to help build a routine, cutting down on corporate clobber helps both our planet and our bank balances.

  3. Coffees, snacks and lunches

    Throughout the working day, it’s nice to pop away from our desks to indulge in a coffee or head out for a meal deal.

    But have you ever wondered how much this could be costing you?

    It’s found that the average UK employee will spend £6.08 each working day on lunch alone. Over a few weeks, this figure can add up and can make those homemade lunches seem a lot more desirable.

    While we can still order takeaway lunches or pick up sandwiches at the supermarket, eating from home is often cheaper and more fulfilling. It could even help you to feel a little lighter and your purse a little heavier.

  4. After-work drinks

    The after-work pint might not be the staple of British corporate culture it once was. But it can sometimes feel like an obligation.

    Across the UK, 15% of employees feel pressured to join in for a swift one, even if they don’t really want to. But the unwritten rules of getting in a round can leave a sobering dent in your bank balance. It has been found that us Brits spend an average of £292.32 each year on work drinks, parties and nights out.

    Now that we can’t go to the pubs and clubs anymore it’s undoubtedly sad, but perhaps we can take some small solace in the savings we’ll make away from the work drinks.

  5. Office gifts and cards

    Have you ever found yourself at a loss for what to write in a colleague’s retirement card or scrabbling around for a respectable amount of change to give towards a present?

    Cards and gifts for our co-workers can really eat into our income. One study found that each year we’ll spend £555.98 on cards and gifts for co-workers.

    While we’re on lockdown, some people have instead been creating fun videos to send friends and co-workers on their birthday. While we face a global pandemic, kind thoughts and words become more important than novelty mugs or gift cards. As time goes on and things slowly start to go back to normal, perhaps we’ll come to find that these expenses will become unnecessary – both for our friends and for our bank balances.

What to do with the savings?

Nobody knows what’s around the corner or how long working from home will last.

Now you might be spending a little more on food shopping and running the house, but it’s surprising how much money you could be saving each week without even realising.

If you’re finding you have a little spare cash over at the end of the month, it can be tempting to spend it. But now could be the time to use it wisely. You could use this as an opportunity to pay off those outstanding debts and start building a savings pot. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re unsure if a course of action is right for you, please seek advice.

Try our budget calculator to see how much you could afford to save

Find out more about savings

Hannah Duncan is an investment writer, and founder of Hannah Duncan Investment Content, with years of experience producing content for global leaders in finance and retail.

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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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