Saving Money By Going Remote

Much ink has been spilled on the topic of whether telecommuting setups can save employers money.

But, what about employees?

This BusinessInsider employee purports to have saved $6,000 in seven months – all attributable to (1) working from home full time and (2) relocating from NYC to California.

Location-independent employees can accrue the most savings on two fronts: commuting costs, and rent. Let’s break them both down:

Commuting Costs.

This one’s obvious.

A 2015 study conducted by Citi’s ThankYou Premier Commuter Index found that the average American employee spends $2,600 annually on their daily commute, or an average of $10/day. That amounts to:

  • Approximately one and a half Goyard tote bags
  • 247 regular-sized poke bowls at Pokeworks
  • 8 months of Elite membership (including unlimited rides) at Swerve
  • One month’s rent for the average Manhattan studio apartment
  • This portable army darkroom
  • Approximately one Bitcoin (at the time of this article)

In New York, an unlimited 30-day MetroCard costs $121 and a one-way ticket costs $2.75. Here are some other stats:

  • Commuter costs alone (10x a week, twice a day, Monday through Friday for a total of 40 subway rides a month) will set a straphanger back $27.50/week, or $110/month.
  • If you buy the unlimited monthly for $121, you won’t break even until you hit 44 subway rides in a month – that’s only four more rides on top of your 40 commuter rides per month.

A telecommuter may struggle to hit 44 rides unless he spends a lot of time outside of the home.


Because you no longer must concern yourself with living in a neighborhood that’s convenient to your office, you are free to live anywhere you want. New Yorkers can save as much as $1,077/month by moving one subway stop away.

The average one-bedroom apartment near the 68th Street subway stop is $3,595, whereas its counterpart near the 77th Street subway stop – even when accounting for the new 2nd Avenue Subway – is $2,518.

If you’re willing to give an outer borough some love, you might save even more – the average one-bedroom in Astoria, Queens as of April 2017 was $2,102.

Want to live in New York? You’ll pay for this view

The real cost savings kick in if our employer does not have any restrictions on the states in which we can live. Here’s a RentCafe comparison of average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in various American cities, focusing on professional-friendly neighborhoods:

This survey does not take into consideration square footage, or state and local income taxes. Residents of Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not have to pay any form of state income tax, whereas Tennessee and New Hampshire only tax dividend and interest income. California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Oregon are the states with the highest income tax rates.

A Floridian’s total tax burden is 7.4% of income, compared to 11.7% for New Yorkers

With respect to total tax burden (including property taxes and sales taxes), the states whose residents pay the least (as a proportion of their income) are as follows:

  • Alaska at 6.4% of income
  • Nevada at 6.6% of income
  • Wyoming at 7% of income
  • Florida at 7.4% of income
  • New Hampshire at 7.6% of income

In contrast, these states hit taxpayers the hardest:

  • New Jersey at 11.8% of income
  • New York at 11.7% of income
  • Connecticut at 11.1% of income
  • Maryland at 10.8% of income
  • Hawaii at 10.6% of income

One of the greatest perks of many work-from-home setups is the ability to choose where you live. Being able to pick a location that suits your budgetary preferences and lifestyle can go a long way to increasing your job satisfaction and overall happiness.



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