Working from home is one of our long-term plans for my career. I telecommute for a company now, but hope to eventually combine writing and teaching in the future to shift those work-at-home hours from company time to my time.
For five of the past seven years, I have telecommuted from home as a nurse. I had never planned on doing so, and I never dreamed it was possible in my profession, yet here I am. I have found that it suits me, and it suits our family. It especially suits our pocketbooks.
Now, it’s not for everybody. I am an introverted person. I enjoy sitting in my silent home, and spending my lunch break reading quietly or catching up on Hulu. I have a private kitchen, private bathroom, and my husband has custom-built a treadmill desk for me. The time I am not wasting on my commute, I am spending exercising, baking bread, creating healthy meals, and walking my child to the school bus stop.
This year, we have set things up to save as much gas and commuting time as possible. I only work 1-2 days per week at most. Last year, my son went to a private school 20 minutes away, and I had to transport back and forth every day. This year, we moved to public school, and he rides the bus.
I am required to have child care on days I work ( I truly can’t watch my kids and do my work!), so my girls go to a sitter two blocks away some days, and my mother will come up and watch them on other days. My daughter goes to 3 day a week preschool a mile away, and on nice days I am not working we will walk to and from preschool.
When I worked in the office, I used to spend $240/month on gas in our SUV. Last year, when I worked from home and transported my son to school and the girls to day care, I spent $175/month on gas for our minivan. Since I dropped to part-time in May, and rearranged schools, I am now spending about $40/month on gas.
On September 9th, I filled up my tank. It had been 2 weeks since I had last filled it. In August, I spent about $80 in gas, but we were still within summer vacation territory, with its requisite trips to amusement parks and camp. We have now settled into our school-year rhythm, and I find I am driving very little. In fact, I have half of that tank from September 9th still sitting in my van! If we keep this up, I will probably save at least $1600 this year over last year.
I’m not sure how we will handle the walk to preschool in the winter. I now own a coat and pair of boots from L.L.Bean, and if it was just the preschooler, I’d probably make her walk with me. I can’t carry the toddler the whole way in the snow though (arthritis), so we will probably be driving if the sidewalks aren’t clear.
This set-up is so nice, that we are pretty content living in this neighborhood until the toddler finishes preschool. That gives us about 3 years to save for our round Hobbit Hole. And those gas savings? If we keep it up, over the next 3 years, those savings of $4800 will comprise a full 6% of our new build $80,000 down payment, without any extra pain on our part.