I love working from home. It kind of is the dream. The work from home pros outweigh the cons.
I am a freelance writer and designer working from home. Plus I pick up photography gigs and work at a local boutique for my side hustles. It’s the perfect mix of projects. With a mix of projects, I also have found that I am spending my money in a whole new mixture of ways. I share a few work from home pros and cons in the way of spending below.
I’m spending less on things as well- here are the details on that.
5 Things I Spend Money On Working From Home
Even with the perfect mix of projects, I spend the majority of my time working from home. I have found less stress and more flexibility. I also spend way more on certain things. Some of these things I had thought about ahead of time. Some of them were a shock.
1. Health insurance
Finding affordable health insurance was the first thing I looked into when I was making the switch out of education. I’m not going to lie, for those who are self-employed insurance can be a little bit of a train wreck. As in it can actually wreck your finances. I was offered COBRA, which was going to be about $900 or so a month. Then I looked into Applecare, which is a state health plan. That was going to be about $1200-$1700 a month. This is for one single person!
Finally, I used eHealth website to find affordable plans in my state. This is how I found my current health insurance plan. It’s part of a EPO, which is an Exclusive Provider Organization. It means I can’t go see anyone out-of-network without a penalty (and possibly no coverage). Thankfully it’s the exact same EPO I had as a teacher so I already know where to go and can keep my same doctors.
It costs me $319 per month. It’s actually close to what was taken out of my paycheck as a teacher. The plan has a little less coverage and a high deductible. I’m hoping that being vegan and working out keep me from having to use it. I knew I would spend more on health insurance at the start. It’s definitely a work from home con, but one I can live with for now.
2. Working from home means home improvement is a must
Guess what all that time spent at home did? Had me obsessing about the house. This was a work from home pro (or maybe con) that I didn’t see coming. I found I was fixing little things here and there. Touching up paint, hanging photos, and generally investing more time and energy into the space around me.
It has cost me some money. It looks great. It’s been totally worth it to take pride in the space I’m working and living in.
3. Working from home needs efficiency, which means better tech
When I was teaching and freelancing as a side hustle, I had the luxury of free subscriptions to Adobe and other creative tools. That’s no longer the case. Now I pay monthly fees for the Adobe Suite, a monthly cloud storage fee for my numerous projects, and a monthly fee for a few new business tools like Quickbooks.
I take these fees out of my paycheck before I even see the money. I also take out 35% for taxes and business savings so I can be prepared for whatever comes my way. It makes my take-home pay look much lower, but I would prefer it this way as I build a strong base for my business.
In addition to fees for services I use, I have spent some serious money on new tech. I bought my new Macbook right before I quit. Then I bought a new monitor, a standing desk, a keyboard, and a mouse. Again, I had all of those items from work, but now I needed to own them. The positive in this scenario is that I can write off these items in my taxes. For the tech, I know it was a long term investment that I won’t need to repeat every year. (hopefully)
4. Student Loan Payments
That’s right. I’m upping the student loan payment game. I switched to a new job path that no longer has me eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). I thought I could really stick it out for a time, but ten years in public service was too long for me.
Charles and I made the decision that we would be paying them off instead of waiting for forgiveness. So now, I make extra payments to my student loans.
Is it just me, or does working for yourself also make you a bit paranoid about saving? My savings has really kicked it up a notch since working from home. And I’m not just talking about taxes.
I forced myself to save money before. I mean- I made it happen. It was automated and mandatory. Now it seems mandatory on a personal level. Like those people who say they are natural savers…I mean now maybe I know what it’s like. I want to save! Do I save out of fear that my income fluctuates? Probably. Is this a bad thing? Nope.
P.S. Update for those following from the first post on what costs me more- I upped my Retirement saving again- finally!
The most shocking working from home pro
I thought I would for SURE spend more money going out. I was 100% convinced I would need to reign it in. Maybe it was even a part of the reason that had me starting spending reports. I made socializing a priority. But you know what? I haven’t been spending more on it. I would even go so far as to say I’ve spent less!!
It was shocking for me. My freelancer side hustles of working at the boutique has brought me so much social life. I go out with friends just about the same as I did before. We do the same things like hiking, kayaking or exploring. Lots of free things and grabbing a good drink sometimes.
What about you? Do you spend more or less on things now that you work from home? What are some work from home pros and cons. Are you considering the work from home shift?
I enjoyed reading your blog post. I haven’t been keeping up with your blog, so you having left your job and working at home is new to me. I knew that’s where you were headed, and I see you’ve done it! I”m glad to hear that working at home is working for you, and that you also spend less on a few things. 🙂
I also appreciate you sharing your numbers on health care. I’ll be “work optional” one day and it’s just nice to know what people do for what to me is the most expensive and important cost–health care.
Finally, I’d love to learn more details about why and how you left. As you may remember, I’m an educator as well, so I’m curious about any details you share. Julie
Healthcare can be such a pain to find when you’re self-employed or work optional. I’m glad this was helpful. 🙂