We have a guest post from Tara Wagner. The Frugal Diva just wanted to add that this goes for Work-At-Home Dads, also.
One of the biggest perks of working from home is that you keep more of what you earn—spending less on gas, and having more free time to focus on what’s most important. With a few simple life-hacks, you can make your home office even more cost-effective. Here are some of the simplest ways for work-at-home moms to save around the house.
1. Get a desktop computer
Especially if your business is 100% online, a desktop will give you the best bang for your buck versus a laptop or tablet. Laptops are much more expensive up-front, and because the parts are so compact and specialized, they also cost more to repair or upgrade.
In most cases, when your laptop gets too old to get the job done, you simply have to replace it—but desktops are built to upgrade. In many cases, it can mean the difference between buying a $30 stick of RAM, or an $800 replacement laptop.
2. Consolidate your shopping
If you go shopping every other day, it’s easy to lose all the time and money you save by working from home. Whenever possible, plan a mid-week shopping trip to take care of all your errands, with a firm list and a budget. When most people go out “just to pick up a few things”, they usually end up getting a few more things—and when you do it several times a week, those extra impulse purchases really add up. By planning your shopping and getting it done all at once, you’ll save time, conserve gas, and stay disciplined.
3. Delegate to the cloud whenever possible
Work-at-home moms know that time is money—and when your attention is pulled in a dozen different directions, it’s important to make your work time as efficient as you can. Fortunately, there’s an unprecedented market for free small-business tech that entrepreneurs and telecommuters can take advantage of.
Services like Dropbox can handle your storage needs; Mint can help keep your finances in order, while cloud inbox services like Rackspace help you manage correspondence. By outsourcing your menial work to the cloud, you’ll save more money than you would be doing-it-yourself—and you’ll have more free time to get your most profitable work done.
4. Use localized heating and cooling
People who spend most of their time at home tend to spend more money on heating and cooling—but you can significantly cut your bills by using a space heater or fan near your desk while keeping the rest of your home at a more cost-effective temperature. This is especially helpful if you spend time alone at home during the school day—if you only need one room for most of the day, why spend the money on the rest of the house?
5. Separate business and family expenses
Your business needs some level of funding to grow, but if you don’t have an independent budget to move things along, it can be easy to invest more than you can afford, or fail to take advantage of good opportunities when times get tight. Check out software like Quickbooks to keep your business and home finances separate—and while you’re at it, keep your home budget up to date too!
Tara Wagner is a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She’s fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.