You made the move to work remotely and now you're looking to save money while working from home. There's a lot of information out there on how moving to the home office can save you money. Like commuting expenses and child care, but can you even save even more money? Yes you can!
If you are working from home you probably have your own business. And every dollar you save is a dollar in your pocket or money you can put back into your business. In this article I list 5 big tips on things I do to save money for my remote business.
1) Review Your Online Subscriptions:
While working from home and running an Internet business it's easy to sign up for online tools, courses, and services. A lot of these are very useful, but over time you may have some you no longer use. Or there may be a better tool that is cheaper or free. $10 a month doesn't sound like a lot. But $10 a month for 12 months adds up. And if you have a couple of services you no longer use or need you can save yourself $240 a year.
This is called Monthly Recurring Charges or MRC. So how much are you spending every month for tools and services you no longer use or need?
I recommend you review your online expenses at least once a year. Do it now, well once you finish reading this article, then pick a date every year to do it. I like just before the start of the new year.
Step 1 – So how to get started on reviewing your monthly recurring online expenses?
- Print out your PayPal, Visa card, and bank statements.
- Circle all of your recurring monthly business expenses.
- Go through the list and cancel any free trials that have switched to a monthly fee that you don't use.
- Go through the list and cancel anything that you haven't used in a few months.
- Go through the list again and look at each business transaction, do you really need this? Is there a cheaper or free way to do this?
One thing to note – if you cancel a service you may lose access to the data or information. So a good idea to back everything up and check with their terms and conditions. We just cancelled an online course that was costing $100 a month. Before cancelling we checked and we still have access to all the online material, but no access to the weekly forums and discussion groups.
Step 2 – So what other kind of online services should you look at canceling?
Here's a few things I've done to save money when working from home:
- I was using an online backup service to save my photos. I had them on my hard drive and in the cloud. This made my precious memories very safe. Over time as I added more photos and increased the online storage I was paying more than $20 per month. For less than $100 I purchased a USB drive and saved $240 per year. This was a good saving.
- I really like PicMonkey and signed up for the monthly service. I noticed after a few months I wasn't using it very much and cancelled it.
- When I was recently looking for a job I signed up for a free month of LinkedIn JobSeeker. It was a good service for me and helpful in my job search. But once I found a new job I cancelled it.
- I really like SEO MOZ and found it fun and useful to use. But it's $100 per month. I decided if I can't find a way to pay for it in 2 months I will cancel it. Well, it's cancelled.
- For our Internet business we had 4 different hosting companies. The thinking was if we had issues with one we could switch to one of the other companies. After ten years of no issues with Dreamhost and Dathorn, I cancelled the other two companies. It was a bit of work to move the sites to the other domains, but saving $25 per month was worth it.
Step 3 – Review your yearly recurring expenses before it's too late
Some recurring expenses renew on a yearly basis. More than once I forgot to cancel a service before the anniversary date. So make sure you do the following:
- Put a reminder in your calendar a few weeks before your yearly subscriptions renews. This gives you time to review the expense and cancel it if you want to. My wife save $100 a month on an online course that she was no longer using, but it was about to renew.
- See if you can get out of a recurring expense early and get a partial refund.
- If you have a monthly online service or tool you really like, see if you can convert it to a yearly. You can usually get one or two months for free.
Here's some of my favorite online tools and services: remote office tools I use
Remember, if you cancel something you decide really need, you can always sign up for it again.
2) Review Your Cable TV and Internet Access
Here's a couple of things you can do to reduce the cost of your Cable TV and Internet access fees:
- I mostly watch sports on TV and during the summer months I'm outside and don't watch a lot of TV. To save money I put my cable TV on hold for the summer. This saves me 3 to 4 months of cable TV charges.
- Right now we have an ultra fast Internet connection. Which is great for the Internet business, but I'm looking at reducing the speed to save some money working from home. My plan is to reduce the speed to the next package and see if I notice a difference. If I don't, i might reduce it again.
3) Review Your Mobile fees:
We have a family mobile plan and I also had a separate mobile plan for my business. I use to do a lot more traveling for a customer and I was able to expense my monthly mobile bill. It made a lot of sense to keep the bills separate. Once I stopped working for that customer it didn't make sense to pay an extra $50 a month for the mobile business plan. I cancelled it and joined the family mobile plan. A nice simple way to save $50 a month.
4) Review Your Coffee Shop Expenses:
It can get lonely working from home. I always enjoy getting out of the home office and heading to a coffee shop to do some work. And it is easy to get an expensive latte and treat at the coffee shop. Here's a good place to save some money working remotely. Instead of getting the expensive drink every time, save it as a treat, and get a regular coffee or tea.
Does the coffee shop give a free beverage after you purchase a few. This is a good way to your expensive treat for free after you've purchased 5 to 10 beverages.
I recently looked at doing some work at my local Regus offices. In my area they offer three levels of service: your own office, daily cubicle, and co-working areas. I mostly work from home and wasn't looking for an office or cubicle. The co-working space looked interesting. This would get me out of the home office and meeting people at Regus. It was $50 a month and included free coffee. So if I go there often enough the monthly fee will pay for the coffee.
And a nice perk is that you can rent a meeting room for a few hours or a day if you need it. This is nice if you want to meet a customer and want something more private than a coffee shop.
Looking for a remote work space other than a coffee shop? Check out my article on my top 6 places to work remotely
5) Watch Your Food Expenses:
Since you're working from home you should be able to save money on food for breakfast and lunch. But are you? Here's a few things that I like to do to save money while working from home:
- Eat the leftovers in your fridge.
- Make extra food at dinner and save the leftovers for lunch.
- Plan your shopping trips and get food you can make for breakfast and lunch.
- Don't go out for lunch too often. In the office you have lots of excuses: I didn't have time to make my lunch, everyone else is going for lunch, etc. No excuse when you are working from home.
Summary On How To Save Money While Working From Home:
By following these tips I think you can save yourself $100 a month. I'm saving over $100 a month by just reducing my online subscriptions and online tools. And I'm still paying for a few that I really like and are useful.
In writing this article I saved myself $15 a month. I was checking my website hosting fees and noticed I was being charged for site backups that I no longer need. This is because I'm using BackupBuddy to backup my sites.
Just remember that for every $10 you save a month, you are saving $120 a year. Which is pretty cool!
Do you have ideas to reduce your monthly recurring charges?