Not too long ago, telecommuting wasn’t a reality for most people. Today it’s a different story. According to recent statistics, over 1.7 million paid employees work from home at least once a week.
Each year, more companies are offering remote working options to their staff. Managers say it cuts costs and creates a more loyal workforce. Employees say telecommuting offers more personal freedom and better work-life balance. But there are also very real financial benefits for employees who work from home, which is especially great news for those who are just starting their careers.
The first few years of independence can push your budget to the limit. All the costs associated with living on your own can overtake your income, leaving little to put towards paying down your existing debt load. That’s a concern for those are struggling to just meet minimum payments on student debt, credit card balances, a vehicle loan and/or a line of credit. One big advantage of telecommuting: it offers unique opportunities to trim your expenses and pay off your personal debt more quickly.
A recent study from the University of Guelph says that the average resident of Southern Ontario saves a whopping $12,000 each year by working from home just three days per week. That's a lot of money that can be used on debt reduction and household expenses. You may or may not save this much if you telecommute. Nevertheless, if you were to use just a portion of what you do save to pay off your debt, you’re further ahead than if you were joining the throngs of commuters in cars, buses and trains every day.
Transportation: The time and cost of commuting to work have never been so high. This is especially a concern for Canadians who work in large urban centres. Living in a community outside of a big city is almost always more affordable. Of course, the further you commute, the more money you will save on the days that you work from home.
Food and drink: How many times each week do you go out for lunch or buy a coffee? You’ll start to feel relief from your personal debt not doing this quite as often. It’s easier to eat healthy and on a budget from home — and coffee made at home is a fraction of the cost of going to a café.
Clothing: Many people are forced to spend money on clothing that they may only wear to work, and don’t reflect their personal taste. By paring down your professional wardrobe, you can shave hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from your clothing budget. And if you’ve been charging those items to your credit card, you’ll avoid a lot of unwanted personal debt.
Time is money: How long does it take you to get ready for work every morning? How long is your commute to and from your workplace each day? Don’t underestimate the value of your time. The hours you spend preparing and commuting for work can be better spent. The millennial side-hustle is a very real thing, and that’s much easier to do if you have more free hours. Extra income can mean less debt.
Personal finance blogger Shannon McClay is a big fan of the side hustle. In this podcast she talks to David Carlson about ways to make extra money “on the side.”
More affordable housing options: Full-time telecommuters get an extra bonus if their employer is situated in a large city: the ability to buy a home in a less expensive market. A smaller mortgage could allow you to manage your personal debt more easily, give you a lower minimum monthly payment and set goals for the future.
Many companies know that offering their employees the option of working from home can create a happier, more loyal workforce. And with all the personal and financial benefits, it is easy to see why more millennials prefer it.
If you think you could do your job from the comfort of home, talk to your employer to see if you could share in the benefits (companies save money on office space and get increased productivity). Choosing telecommuting over traditional commuting could mean you’ll be paying off your personal debt load much sooner than you thought.
Is owning your own home more affordable because of your work-from-home job? Tell us your story on Facebook or Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #Telecommuting
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