What would you do with an extra few thousand dollars a year? The dollar amount is only theoretical -- unless you work remotely. Let me explain.

$2,127 is the specific amount one remote worker calculated she saves annually by not having to go into an office. Those bonus dollars were a result of saved expenses, such as gas and lunches out. The amount seems a bit low to me -- I would double it, closer to $5,000. But regardless, there is one thing this tidy sum does not include: the immeasurable savings that come from workplace flexibility.

As co-founder and CEO of a remote company, I know how much this way of working helps companies and teammates alike. Aha! is a fully distributed workforce with teammates working from all over the world.

I have previously written about the positive impact remote work can bring to an organization -- including teamwork, leadership, and company culture. These may not directly impact your wallet, but that makes these benefits no less valuable or desirable.

There are countless other things you can assign a dollar amount to. For example, AAA provides a handy worksheet to figure out the cost of your per-mile driving. Multiply that by the number of miles your commute would be.

Or what about the pervasive myth of remote workers donning their PJs all day? Well, you do not need to go that far. But you can dress for success and forgo traditional business attire -- trimming hundreds of dollars off the average $1,850 people spend on new clothing and up to $1,500 on dry cleaning each year.

Figures like these are useful as a baseline when calculating your savings. But think beyond those obvious costs. Consider your unique situation and how remote work can benefit your bank account. I am talking about things that are hard or impossible to put an exact dollar amount on -- but represent real extra funds nonetheless.

Here are four ways remote work can save you money:

Stay healthy
One study found that companies cost themselves billions by not offering paid sick leave. People do not want to use up their time off, so they bring their cold or flu with them to the office and others pay the price. As a remote worker, you do not have to worry about your colleagues' germs. That means fewer trips to the doctor and fewer prescriptions and co-pays. And you can also speculate as to just how many healthful days you retain as a result -- that time is real money.

Schedule with flexibility
Sure, remote work can make scheduling appointments much more convenient. But did you stop to think how that saves you money as well? With workplace flexibility, you could pick a less popular appointment slot -- spend less time in the waiting room and in traffic. If you think about all the appointments you have (doctors, dentists, veterinarians, mechanics, even things like barbers and stylists), the savings add up fast.

Choose living costs
Taking a co-located job often means having to move to where the position is located. A remote job lets you choose wherever the cost of living is lower. That is only part of the picture, though. Perhaps not having to relocate means your partner gets to keep their job and add to the family income. Maybe you have a friend or relative nearby who can help out. There are likely many untold ways that living where you choose gives you more to spend each month.

Reclaim commute time
Not having a commute is great no matter how you look at it. Lower gas bills, less wear and tear on the car, and less aggravation. And of course more free time. But how do you spend that time? Making a healthy meal for your family rather than ordering a pizza? Maybe going for a bike ride instead. These types of things have great mental and health benefits that save you down the line.

Trying to calculate your annual savings from your remote job can be a fun exercise. But even better is realizing that whatever dollar amount you come up with likely falls short of the real total. (Not to mention that it is hard to put a price on the value of spending more time with family and friends.)

How much do you think you would save by working remotely?

Published on: May 14, 2018