How To Save Money While Working From Home

By Sally Hurley, CEO, VIPdesk

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How to help your team realize extra savings while working remotely

In the 7th blog in our series about remote work, we’ll give you some ideas about helping your team realize additional savings while working from home. Even though some regions of the country are opening up, many are still under a stay-at-home order. Some companies are continuing to ask their teams to work virtually.

Our industry, outsourced customer service, is often associated with centralized call centers. Many of today’s businesses are working to shift to a virtual model like ours. When you consider this workforce is hourly and that many households currently have at least one person out of work, we thought it would be helpful to offer some tips that will save them some money.

Working remotely comes with some obvious advantages. For example, you’ll save money because gas isn’t required to drive to the office or call center. There’s no need for dry cleaning, eating meals out or, parking fees. All of these help your cash flow, not to mention the unpaid time to travel to and from the office each day. Equally important is the reduced carbon footprint and environmental impact on our communities.

Our remote workforce has been in operation since 2001. When new team members join our company, we work through onboarding with them and share tips for effective home office set-up. We talk about having the right office equipment, effective meeting habits and best practices. Finally, we share savings tips to ensure team members work in the most productive yet efficient manner possible.

Save Energy Costs Working from Home

  • Turn Off Your Computers/Unused Electronics. Did you know that leaving your computer on overnight can add hundreds of dollars a year in unnecessary energy consumption? Depending on how many computers you have in your home, this could be a huge savings opportunity. Do not just log off all those plugged in devices. Turn them off and/or unplug as well as DVRs, stereos and coffeemakers.
  • Use Smart Powerstrips for electronics. Can you believe that up to 75% of electricity used is while the item is turned off? One easy way to fix this, is to plug your electronics into smart powerstrips that are easily accessible and turn them off when you are done for the day. Remember to also enable “sleep mode” on your devices saving even more energy.
  • Turn Down AC/Heating System. Now that you are working from home, you may be adjusting the thermostat more frequently. A smart thermostat will enable you to time your usage to maximize efficient heating and cooling.
  • Replace Incandescent Bulbs. It only takes a few seconds to conserve energy: just remember to always turn off your lights when you leave a room. Better yet, switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs and save up to $75 each year.
  • Run Full Loads of Laundry. While some of us right now may have more assistance to help with this chore, make sure you run full loads. Use cold water when you can as 90% of the energy used by washing machines is for heating water. This can help save up $124 a year.

Cancel Recurring Services

  • Subscriptions. We all probably have subscriptions to services we no longer use. Go through your monthly credit card statement to flush out those “onesy/twosy” low-cost services that add up to a chunk of change. While many of us subscribe to different audio-video platforms while at home right now (Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, Audible), are you using them all? If you’re paying for three different video streaming platforms, keep the one you use the most and cut the other two. Eliminating these expenses doesn’t have to be permanent but could free up some much-needed cash in the meantime. Note: a lot of these services are offering free 30-day trials you can take advantage of as well.
  • Gym memberships. Although most gyms suspended billing while they are closed, it is important to check that your gym is not charging you. There are many free online fitness classes being offered via YouTube and other websites.

Check Cell Phone Plans

  • Cell phones. You might save on your cell phone plan right now. If you have additional family members who are home all the time, do you need the large data plan right now?

Review Your Auto Insurance

  • Auto Insurance Premium Refund. While you may have always worked at home, do you have another driver in the household? Many auto insurers are already cutting premiums. If you haven’t been offered a discount yet, call your provider, explain that you have a driver who is driving less or no longer commuting. Ask for a cheaper policy since there is now a lower risk with the cost to insure dropping dramatically. Contact your insurance company or visit its website to see if you can make the adjustment yourself. How much you’ll save depends on a variety of factors, and you’ll have to switch back once those additional drivers start driving more. (Note: USAA, Allstate and American Family Insurance say they’ll begin refunding premiums due to a decline in driving. The two companies say they’ll give back a total of $800 million to their customers. State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Allstate and Geico also confirmed they will start partially refund premiums.)

Ordering Takeout and Groceries

  • Takeout Tips. While all of us want to support the local restaurant businesses in our communities, ordering takeout and using delivery options can add up if you are doing it frequently. The tips and delivery fees grow quickly. Curbside pick-up can help you save on delivery fees. Perhaps make a plan to order out once or twice a week instead. When it comes to grocery shopping, many of us may have family members home all day now and who keep raiding the pantry (read: kids!!!). Keep your grocery bill low by being mindful of what you’re putting in your cart. Buy what you will need for weekly meals and stick to snacks that will keep everyone satisfied between meals.
  • Delivery Services. There are some great grocery options with discounts right now. Here are a few of them:
    • The Fruit Guys. They deliver organic fruit and veggies harvested from local farms. I signed up for this and it comes every other week. Right now, they are offering 15% off.
    • Giovanni’s Fish Market. You can order fresh seafood delivered overnight. I order enough quantity to freeze for future meals. Right now, they are offering free overnight shipping if you place a larger order.
    • Grocery Delivery. Many options exist from Peapod to Instacart to Amazon Fresh. If you can snag a wider delivery time range, you can save on delivery fees. Many places like Target also offer curbside pick-up.

If you found this helpful, we also want to remind you that we’ve published a whole series on work from home tips. Here you’ll find “5 Proven Tips To Set Up a Remote Workforce Successfully.”  You can read “5 Best Communication Practices for a Remote Workforce” here. And finally, you will discover “10 Tips for Remote Workers To Keep Their Sanity” here. 

~ VIPdesk ~

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