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Working from home costing Americans more money

Groceries, increased utilities and buying new office supplies is forcing more people to dig deeper into their wallets.
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:54 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Having a home office was once a luxury, now it’s essential for many working or learning from home. For the Smith family, they’ve reorganized part of their home to make space for learning and working virtually.

“Initially my husband and I were both virtual or both...now the kids are learning from home,” said Elizabeth Smith.

“I mean, we’re lucky, we’ve been able to access all of our equipment from the office, so we brought it all home. But, we had to buy a desk, buy office chairs. We have a little closet off of our kitchen that we’ve turned into a space for [my son] Henry.”

A study from CreditCards.com said on average, people working from home are spending $108 more per month. The biggest expense is more groceries and using more utilities.

John Vandergriff with Blue Ridge Wealth Planners said even though you think you’re saving money on things like gas and dry cleaning, you’re probably spending it elsewhere. he said don’t expect to get paid back for those expenses when it comes to taxes.

"With the recent tax law changes, those deductions for unreimbursed expenses go away. Sometimes you do get a tax reduction if you are working from home, but a lot of the time that requires you to be a self-employed worker. So, there’s not as much leniency,' he said.

Vandergriff suggested revisiting your budget to make room for new expenses.

“We know that budgets need to evolve ... you always want to be more conservative about what’s coming in and see what you can cut down on at this time.”

If you don’t have a budget start by determining your income. Be sure to take into account any unexpected income you have received, like government stimulus payments. Then track your expenses. “Keep a detailed log of what you are spending money on now that you are working from home and how your spending habits have changed since the pandemic began,” he said.

Don’t forget to save. He said to be sure to set aside money from each paycheck, even if it is just a small amount.

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