Spending hours each day with family, avoiding expensive daycare costs or simply working poolside with a laptop are dreams many would love to make their reality. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of working from home is having too much freedom, including the ability to shop at home. For at-home employees who lack total self-control, that freedom can destroy their savings.
This is why it’s crucial to learn how to make the right financial decisions while enjoying the opportunity to work from home.
At-Home Workers Spend More Time Online Shopping
According to a 2013 survey conducted by CouponCabin.com, an astounding 69 percent of employed U.S. adults who spend time working from home say they regularly shop online while on the clock. This is compared to 54 percent who say they shop online while at their workplace.
The survey also revealed 24 percent of respondents who worked from home spent an hour or more shopping online in an average week of telecommuting, as opposed to 13 percent who do the same in the workplace.
One reason why workers said they feel more comfortable shopping online while at home is the reduced likelihood of getting “caught.” With no boss looking over their shoulders, they are able to spend more time looking for items they’d like to buy.
In fact, 61 percent said they feel more productive when working from home, as opposed to working onsite.
No matter the reason for the increase in shopping while working from home, it’s important for workers to protect the savings they’ve gained by avoiding high gas prices, daycare costs and other traditional expenses.
How I Shop from Home without Overspending?
Interestingly, working from home is a topic I know very well. I have been working from a home office for six years and can absolutely attest to the need for extreme discipline when working on unsupervised time. As the CabinCoupon.com study noted, there is something to be said for the lack of repercussions associated with being caught shopping online while working at home.
When I worked in Corporate America, there was no way I would spend a large number of hours per week browsing the internet in any fashion — despite it being allowed — because I didn’t want to be perceived as a lazy worker.
But as a freelance writer, the only pressure I have to avoid online shopping comes from me.
As with anyone else who is lucky enough to work from home, the only way I could avoid spending myself into a financial sinkhole was learning early that creating and committing to a budget had to become a complete lifestyle. This also meant I had to place myself on a shopping schedule that wouldn’t allow me to purchase items freely just because I ran across a deal.
Avoid an Online Shopping Financial Crisis While Working From Home
There’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you’re benefiting from a work arrangement, only to realize that it’s doing more harm than good.
Here are some tips to help keep you on track:
- Set up a shopping budget: Before you think about spending a dime online, set up a section of your budget that determines how much you’re entitled to spend. When determining that amount, be sure to incorporate any taxes and shipping charges that could boost the cost of your items.
- Manage your shopping time: It’s important to budget your time as well as your money when working from home. Designate a specific period of time (ex. one hour on Monday and Friday) to search for new items then immediately stop shopping when time is up.
- Shop responsibly: One of the perks of shopping online is being able to comparison shop more effectively than when traveling from store to store. Take advantage of this perk by searching for specific products (and their generic alternatives) until you find one at the lowest price. Also, take time to figure out what items you normally purchase in stores that could be cheaper to purchase online (bulk buying programs like Amazon Subscribe and Save could be very beneficial, as well). Making these adjustments could curb the excitement of shopping online and help you save money.
- Use coupon/promo codes/daily deals sites: Shopping online offers the benefit of instant savings via coupon and promo codes. Take advantage of this perk to benefit from discounts and free shipping. Also, sign up for daily deals sites that can help you more easily locate discounts on items you’re interested in (just be careful not to go overboard).
- Visit reputable sites: One of the worst experiences an online shopper can have is purchasing an item from a site and becoming the victim of identity theft. If you want to avoid losing your hard-earned money, be sure to work with businesses that have good online reputations and are hypertext transfer protocol secure (https://).
If you know that you have the discipline to manage online shopping responsibly and can follow the above tips, you probably won’t be in danger of destroying your savings.
But if you’re worried that you may want to shop from home more than your bank account will allow, it may be a good idea to consider opting out of work from home experience (if possible) altogether.
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