Can working from home reduce your home expenses?

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By Nur Fairuza Syahira

Today, almost every Malaysian is working from home in support of the government’s movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

In doing so, you might have noticed a few apparent benefits like the MCO helping to curb your spending and therefore, reduce your home expenses.

Most restaurants and eateries have either closed their doors or turn to takeaway or home delivery mode. Either way, more people are eating at home, with a substantial number cooking their own food.

In doing so, they can save quite a tidy sum, especially when compared to eating in expensive restaurants. 

Cooking in bulk

Try cooking in bulk especially for the singles. This is because cooking just for yourself is more expensive but if you cook a week’s worth of food in one shot, that makes it cheaper in terms of gas or electricity used. 

For example, cook a big pot of soup. Apportion it out and freeze what is not consumed. So that, you just need to reheat it and not have to cook a new dish which will cost you more. 

Groceries

Groceries are one of the most important things to have at home right now. Most of us are afraid and aware that we need to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, but we need food.

If you go the conventional way and shop in person, you have to be fast, and in haste, you are unable to compare prices and products. This could mean you end up with a more hefty grocery bill or end up with items you don't need. Supermarkets will put out special discounts for items that are not selling well so you might be tempted to buy them just because they are packaged nicely and displaying a huge discount.

Having a proper shopping list before you go to the store as it helps to keep you focused. 

Alternatively, shop online and have your groceries delivered. Shopping online can be cheaper but remember about the delivery fee. Some operators offer free delivery if you buy a certain amount, but that doesn't mean you have to shop to that amount just to enjoy free delivery.

Budget

Since everyone is at home, you can work out a more appropriate budget for spending with everyone's input. A better-planned budget means greater savings. And having everyone together will also mean more family bonding. 

You might also want to reassess the pocket money given to your children as a bulk of it is for food and entertainment. Since they are now confined at home, do you still need to give them the same amount?

Not driving to work is also one of the ways which can reduce your budget. You don't need to get stuck in the traffic and pay tolls too. It saves you more doesn't it?

In fact, it is found that the increased utility bills for more electricity consumed and water is less than the petrol used each month.

Thus, you can reduce energy costs by not using the air-condition. Close the doors to the other rooms when you need to turn on air-condition, as the air-condition device does not have to work harder to cool the room.

For example, when all the family members are in the living room, just use the air-conditioning unit there. Switch off the units when there is no one there. While on cooler days, use the fan particularly if you live higher up in apartments.


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