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Financial Implications of Working Outside the Home

We all know there are pros and cons of working outside the home when compared to working from home or being self-employed. Things that often come to mind are issues with flexibility of your work schedule, and creating a work-life balance.

Ever since I started freelancing online, I’ve had a goal of quitting my full-time “corporate” job to work for myself as a self-employed writer (among other diverse income streams of course!). So to say the least, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the financial implications associated with self-employment vs working outside the home.

How does working outside the home affect your finances? I’m glad you asked.

Spending More

-Clothing. I know that as an office working I’m spending more on clothing than I would if I were self-employed. As long as I continue to work in an office that required business casual dress, I will have to make sure I have appropriate clothing, including things like: slacks, dress shirts, jackets, nice jeans for Fridays, a nice coat, appropriate footwear, etc. Plus, I have to maintain those things that I already own which can include special laundering instructions (dry clean only, yeah right!) and ironing/pressing for things that wrinkle. My imagined self-employment uniform of yoga pants and a t-shirt will always be the more frugal option.

-Commuting. Driving to reach my job’s location is obviously more expensive than the “commute” from my bedroom to  home office, even if I take a detour by the coffee pot in the morning. By working in an office, I am spending more on gasoline, car maintenance and other fees, and time wasted. I’m lucky, my “commute” to my office job is currently about 5-7 minutes, but that’s still time and resources saved if I only have to walk 5-7 steps instead.

-Food? I do go home for lunch most days since I live only about 5-7 minutes from my office. This allows me to be home to let my dogs out for a potty break and to have leftovers for lunch. Every once in a while I do fall victim to eating lunch out at a restaurant or fast food joint, which we all know is more expensive than eating leftovers. If I worked from home due to self-employment I could easily eat at home every day and not even be resigned to eating only leftovers or a cold sandwich.

Spending Less

– Heating and Energy. Because I work in an office instead of at home, I program my thermostat to be at a lower temperature when I’m not a home (vice-versa in the summer). This saves me quite a bit of money on my monthly energy bills. Plus, since I work at an office, I’m not at home using the electricity to power lights and my computer all day every day.

-Food? Yes, this category made both lists. I spend more on lunch by working in an office because I do get tempted to eat out now and then, but I’m sure I’d spend more on snacky foods if I worked from home. My current employer provides a few snack foods and drinks in the break room. I try not to snack all the time, but I’m sure if I worked from home I’d be more tempted to snack throughout the day since the kitchen is right around the corner from my home office.

How other financial implications can you think of from working outside the home? (Childcare is a biggie, but I don’t have to worry about that one right now.)


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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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The content on is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not financial advice and we are not certified financial advisors. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date, but it may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with companies listed on our site. We may receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services. We work hard to write authentic and accurate articles.