For remote workers, some expenses are 'tough to cut'

'But it's a trade-off most are very happy with,' one expert says

For remote workers, some expenses are 'tough to cut'

Despite saving money on their daily commute, work-from-home employees are spending more on other essentials because of their new set-up.

Telecommuting costs workers an additional US$108 on average, according to a new survey from CreditCards.com. “But it’s a trade-off most are very happy with,” said Ted Rossman, industry analyst for the financial data website.

READ MORE: Is your company shifting to remote work permanently?

“Most workers seem content to skip the commute and potentially work in their pyjamas, even if it means spending more on food and utilities,” Rossman said.

According to the survey, the spending habits of WFH employees have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers report spending an average of:

  • $182 more per month on groceries
  • $121 more per month on utilities

On the other hand, they are saving money in other areas:

  • $34 on average saved on child care
  • $33 on gas/public transit
  • $27 on restaurants/takeaways

Across age groups, millennials have found themselves spending an average of $208 more per month during the pandemic, compared with their older colleagues. Generation X and Baby Boomers have seen average monthly savings of $2 and $24, respectively, in this period.

Employees who care for children under 18 also spend $173 more per month compared with non-parents who shell out a monthly average of $103 extra.

READ MORE: Remote work: Are employees struggling to adapt?

Personal finance expert Holly Johnson, who shared her insights in the analysis, said such increases are inevitable given how stay-at-home orders forced the household to take shelter in one place.

“We definitely go through a lot more groceries with everyone at home all day,” Johnson said.

But while household expenses have increased during the outbreak, most workers say they are willing to find a middle ground. Post-pandemic, four in five employees (82%) would like to continue working from home for at least two days per week, the study found.

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