In response to COVID-19, many companies made the transition to remote work. Whether you’re self-employed, manage a remote workforce, or are a telecommuting employee, having the proper equipment and a dedicated workspace in your home is crucial for your success.
While remote work has its perks, it can also come at greater cost to you. As you operate out of your own home, you may find that you’re paying for more equipment and supplies out-of-pocket. Fortunately, there are several ways you can cut costs without affecting your ability to work:
1. Save on Equipment
If you manage a business from home, having the proper equipment is essential for productivity and your ability to work at the same capacity as you would in-office. If you’re strategic while equipping your workspace, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Look for ways you can save on larger pieces of equipment, such as computers and printers. You might be able to find a refurbished monitor or laptop that satisfies your business needs. You may also benefit from a no-cost printer program that includes servicing, maintenance, and repair at no extra cost to you, or by avoiding big-box retailers for your office supplies needs. Take time to shop around, so you can ensure you’re not paying more than necessary.
2. Finance Your Non-Negotiables
Some significant expenses like a computer, phone line, video camera, and reliable internet service are unavoidable, especially if you telecommute or rely on technology to perform your job effectively. While these may become costly, there are still ways to cover their costs in a financially responsible manner.
Check with your employer to see if they offer any assistance in purchasing equipment, and look for opportunities to bundle services when you can. If you find that you require more than you’re able to afford upfront, you can alleviate some of the initial costs by tapping into your home’s equity for more substantial expenses (or opening a line of credit for smaller ones). Doing so would allow you to save money upfront and spread the costs evenly over time while still ensuring you have the tools you need to work effectively.
3. Furnish On A Budget
As you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time in your office, you’ll want to make sure it’s outfitted with ample lighting, tasteful decor, and comfortable seating. The cost of furnishing a home office can add up quickly, which is why you’ll want to seek ways to save money wherever possible.
Instead of purchasing new furniture right away, take time to survey your home for any items you can repurpose for your office space. You may be able to find spare desks or lamps tucked away in your attic or basement. For any items you don’t already have, consider checking out garage sales, online marketplaces, thrift stores, and store clearances before heading to the store. These pieces are often more affordable and can add a sophisticated touch to your workspace.
4. Buy in Bulk
Many retailers offer discounts when customers buy in bulk. If you anticipate running through a lot of supplies while home, you may want to consider stocking up on essentials like paper, pens, and staples. Not only will this give you the convenience of having these items on-hand, but you could also save a few dollars by ordering in larger quantities.
Before shopping for supplies, determine whether it makes sense to buy certain items in bulk. For instance, while you may frequently need to replace paper clips and printer paper, it might not make sense to buy perishable items like printer cartridges in bulk, as these can expire. Instead, you may want to consider automating delivery, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad on your shelf.
5. Claim Tax Deductions
If you use your home office regularly and solely for business purposes, you may qualify for a home office tax deduction. This would allow you to write off rent, utilities, taxes, repairs, and maintenance related to your home office, putting money back into your pocket come tax season.
You should note that you can no longer claim the home office deduction if you are an employee. However, if you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, you may still qualify for certain tax deductions. Regardless of your employment status, a home office may still be worth putting money toward, especially if plans to return to the office are still uncertain.
A home office doesn’t have to break the bank. With these tips, you can create a workspace that accommodates both your budget and business needs.
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