As my final day at my “real” job grows ever closer, I’ve started reflecting in detail on the numerous changes that are going to happen in my life. In essence, most of the routines of my normal day are going out the window and I’ll be forced to find new grooves. This led me to consider the many ways that these routine changes will save our family money.
Reduced breakfast costs I eat breakfast at work about three days a week, simply because I run out of time to take care of it at home. A work breakfast, usually consisting of something from the coffee shop near the office, usually runs $6 or so. These three breakfasts will be replaced by oatmeal or fruit – a cost of $0.50 or so. Thus, each week, I’ll save about $16. Annual savings: $832
Reduced gasoline usage My daily commute ate about a gallon and a quarter of gas and put about thirty miles on my vehicle. If you just figure in the cost of gas and oil changes, this commute costs about $4 a day, day in and day out. I might make such a similar trip once a week now in an effort to do research, so my weekly cost will go down about … $16 again. Annual savings: $832
Reduced lunch costs I eat out for lunch with coworkers on average three days a week, with the other two weeks being leftovers. The average lunch costs about $10 with drinks and such included. Since I’ll be at home, I’ll instead eat simple meals at home or leftovers, probably costing about $1 a pop. That adds up to $27 in savings a week. Annual savings: $1,404
Reduced daycare costs While I haven’t figured out my final schedule yet, I’m quite sure the costs of daycare will go down significantly. Even if it drops just $50 a week for my two children, that still adds up. We normally take them to daycare about 45 weeks out of the year, so that really adds up. Annual savings: $2,250
Reduced incidental spending Perhaps once a week, I’ll wind up spending money on something incidental that I don’t need, simply because I wind up there. I’ll buy a schedule book at Office Depot, a used DS game, or something like that. These often happen as I’m out to lunch with a coworker who needs to stop for something on the way back. Let’s figure that I would spend $10 three times a week. That goes away, saving $30 a week. Annual savings: $1,560
Drastically reduced clothes expenses I don’t need to dress nearly as well on a daily basis, as I can just wear old t-shirts around the house. This means less annual clothes expenses – a reduction I would estimate at $300. Annual savings: $300
Reduced eating expenses When both my wife and I were working out of the home five days a week, we would often eat out or eat take-out once a week or so, and we’d often have an overpriced prepackaged meal once a week or so, too. Compared to the cost of preparing the food myself, each meal cost us $5 overall in extra costs on average, totaling up to $10 a week. Annual savings: $520
Eliminated extra travel expenses I had to travel about once every three months for my job. The reimbursement policy was rather stingy, I would often pick up a souvenir (like a local food or something like that) for my wife and my kids. Each trip easily cost me an extra $100 beyond what I would normally spend. Annual savings: $400
Reduced entertainment expenses Perhaps once every month, I would be involved in some sort of office-related social event, usually costing $15-20 total (or so). Annual savings: $240
The best part is that these are after-tax savings. Each month, the expenses of my job (and there’s nothing really extraordinary here) were eating just about $700 out of my post-tax income – my real paycheck. Those expenses simply disappear – and knowing that eases at least some of the fear of making that leap.
If you’re considering making such a leap, run through this exercise. Knowing that just the normal changes in my routine will save that much money on my living expenses (about six months’ worth of mortgage payments, for example) just reinforces the other positive qualities of this transition.