Working from home can be the ideal situation for a mom with small children at home. It’s the perfect way to earn money for the household while also staying connected to your family. There are some benefits and drawbacks financially to working from home — make sure you keep these in mind as you plan your work situation.
1. Obviously, the first benefit to working from home is the money! A working mother adds income to the family budget, often relieving some financial stress on the household. As a working mom, you aren’t forced to rely solely on the income of your spouse, which can also make you feel more confident in your ability to provide for your children. It also means you won’t feel guilty about spending money on yourself occasionally!
2. As a work-at-home mom, you can reduce, or even eliminate, the need to pay for childcare. When your kiddos are younger, you may need to invest in a few hours per week of dedicated childcare so you can get some work done. However, as your kids get older, your need to pay for childcare diminishes until it vanishes. My children are now school-age, so I work primarily when they’re at school, but they can also entertain themselves if I need to work in my office for a couple of hours after they get home.
3. You’ll save money on those work lunches and office baby showers. Working outside of the home often means lunches out if you’re not diligent about taking your lunch. Even when you do brown-bag-it, there are still lots of opportunities to indulge for the sake of company. There are also other situations that arise that could part you from your hard-earned cash — office baby showers, coworker birthdays, Secret Santa swaps. All those temptations are greatly reduced when you work from home. It’s still fun to meet clients or business acquaintances for coffee or lunch occasionally, but working from home can save you a bundle on the obligatory outings you would otherwise prefer to skip!
4. You can save money on commuting. Gas, tolls and car maintenance can add up fast! If you’re in an urban area, maybe you spent precious money on cabs, buses or subways to get to work. Working from home means those costs are greatly reduced or eliminated completely!
5. For the most part, working from home also means you can downsize your professional wardrobe. Sure, you’ll still want to keep a few professional outfits for meetings with clients, coworkers or business acquaintances. Usually though, you can stay in your comfy casual (inexpensive) clothes while you work from home, and leave the expensive duds and dry cleaning bills for when they’re really needed.
1. You’ll need to provide your own supplies. Depending on what you do, that could be anything from a computer to paper clips. As a writer, I have to provide my own computer, software, Internet access, printer and office supplies. A cake decorator may need to provide her own cake pans and decorating tools. A seamstress will need her own sewing machine, material, and supplies. For whatever job it is that you specialize in, you’ll need to provide your own equipment, tools and consumable supplies.
2. If it breaks, it’s on you to fix it. No more IT department! If something isn’t working, you’ll need to be able to fix it yourself or pay for someone else to do it.
3. You’ll need a dedicated place to work, whether that’s a separate home office or a desk in your bedroom. You’ll need to set aside space in your home and outfit it to be your workplace. That may mean spending a little cash to get the space workable, as well as paying for the electricity, water, Internet connection, and other needs of your home office space.
4. Unless you’re covered under a spouse’s company health plan, you may need to arrange and pay for your own medical, dental and vision plans. You’ll also need to plan your own retirement savings.
5. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to make arrangements to cover and pay self-employment taxes, which often need to be paid in advance. Check with your accountant or tax professional to determine your situation.