My desk in my home office looks out over the road in front of my house. It always amazes me how much traffic goes by my window on any given day, especially since I live on a cul-de-sac. People in this neighborhood are on the go all the time. They come home and then they turn right around and go back out. I often wonder what in the world they’re doing. The best I can figure is that they don’t like to be home. They seem to be filling their lives with all sorts of “obligations” and activities that keep them running, rather than choosing a lifestyle that would allow them to just come home from work and relax at home. (I say choosing a lifestyle because many people do, in fact, choose to over-schedule themselves and their kids rather than saying, “No,” and choosing to relax).
I have to admit that I’m the opposite of these people. I enjoy staying home. I save up my errands until I have a nice long list and then go take care of it all at one time. I don’t go out just to go. I need to have a compelling reason and just running out for one thing or to cure cabin fever isn’t a reason for me to go out. Even around the holidays I stay in (thank you, online shopping), preferring to avoid the crowds and craziness.
I’ve found that in addition to creating a sense of peace and space in my life, all of this staying home has many financial benefits. Being home means I’m not out spending. It means I’m likely catching up on much needed chores, or using things I already own to their fullest. I’m also not encountering some of the hazards that are out in the world and which end up costing me money. Here are some ways that just staying at home can save you money.
This is the biggest, most obvious, and most valuable money saver about staying home. There aren’t too many things we do “out” that don’t involve spending. When you’re at home, you’re not eating out or paying big bucks at the bar, you’re not burning gas to get somewhere, you’re not tempted by sales or new stuff, and you’re not paying big bucks for movies. If you’re trying to rein in your spending, staying home is one of the best ways to start.
I choose to stay home even more in the winter to avoid the germy hordes of people. Many people still go out to restaurants and stores even when they or their kids are sick as dogs. When you stay home you limit your exposure to germs, saving you from spending on medicine and doctors’ visits, as well as losing money if you can’t go to work.
No/Low Risk of Crime
Purse snatchings, pickpocketing, identity theft and muggings happen all the time, but seem to ramp up around the holidays. Crooks know that there is likely extra money and gift cards in the wallets and purses. Credit cards are “skimmed” more often simply because there are more of them being used. Crooks know that you are probably distracted thinking of all the things you have yet to do and that you are an easier mark. They may also try to accost you in the parking lots to steal whatever it is you just bought. If you stay home, you lower your chances of being the victim of a crime or identity theft.
I got so tired of paying $10-plus for a ticket to the movies and the price of a used car for refreshments only to have some yahoo ruin the experience by texting the whole time (that screen glare is annoying, you know) or yapping on the phone, that I quit going. Now I rent whatever I want to see and I can enjoy it on my own time. I could even bypass renting a movie and watch hallmark Christmas movies online if I wanted. I can eat my own food, pause it if I need to, and rewind and watch the good parts again. Sure, I’m not getting that big screen experience, but neither am I spending a fortune just to be annoyed and disappointed.
You can play all of those games/video games, pursue those hobbies, and read all of those books you never get to. All of those things you bought but never get to read, watch, or play magically get used when you stay home. Instead of buying yet more stuff or paying for new experiences, take the time to really explore and use what you already own.
You can catch up on chores/maintenance. Spending time at home gives you a chance to catch up on all of the neglected maintenance, chores, and organization you keep putting off. Taking care of your home and belongings heads off potential problems and break-downs.
If you spend more time at home, you might find that you “need” fewer vacations, spa visits, or other relaxing activities. If you take the time to relax around your house, you can head off stress without resorting to expensive activities that you use in lieu of actually relaxing.
No Risk of Car Accidents
If you’re not out on the roads, you have less chance of being in a costly accident. (This is why auto insurers often give discounts to those who work from home or commute less than ten miles per day.) This is especially true in bad weather. Rather than heading out on a rainy or snowy day, stay home. It’s safer.
Meals made at home are often healthier than those bought at restaurants. Even if you rely on some prepackaged ingredients when you cook, you’re still likely using a fraction of the sodium and fat found in restaurant meals. Healthy eating saves you money at the doctor’s office.
Maybe it’s not strictly a money saver, but spending the day at home gives you a chance to bond with your family. Many people complain that they never spend quality time together, but some of that is because they are never home together.
If you get really bored, you can work on your skills. Learn some new software, learn a language, or practice an instrument. You can also work on crafts, or practice something artistic like painting or writing. Perfecting your work skills may mean extra money someday if you get promoted, while perfecting crafting or artistic skills may mean that you get good enough to sell your creations.
Obviously you can’t stay in forever and you probably don’t want to. Neither can you avoid things like theft or car accidents forever. At some point you have to go out. But staying home once in a while can be a rewarding experience. Instead of always wanting to be out and about, try scheduling an “at home day” at least once a month. You might find that you like it and that it saves you money.
(Photo courtesy of Mae Chevrette)