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Simple Ways to Set Up a Home Office on a Budget

What you'll learn: How to set up your home office cheaply

EXPECTED READ TIME: 5 MINUTES

Whether you’ve gone freelance or are working from home full time, having a comfortable and usable space is key to remaining productive. Setting up your work from home office doesn’t need to cost an inordinate amount of money.

How to Start Your Home Office on a Budget

As long as you craft a plan, budget, and savings strategy to purchase what you need, you’ll be able to easily set up a home office on a budget. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find the best space in your home for an office
  • Make a list of office items you need
  • Set up a work from home office budget
  • Research places to get the best deals
  • Consider some fun extras

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do to create a space suited to your needs.

Find the Best Space in Your Home for an Office

Figuring out where your work from home office space will be can help you decide on the type of equipment you need and ensures that you can work without interruption.

Best rooms for a home office:

  • Spare bedroom
  • Finished basement
  • Loft
  • Dining Room
  • Den

Ideally, you would have a space that offers plenty of natural light to keep you awake and little foot traffic to keep you free of distractions. If that’s not available, get creative — consider purchasing a room divider to physically separate your space, or try setting up in an unused closet.

Once you have your space, look around your home to see if you have furniture and equipment you can use in your new space.    

Make a List of Office Items You Need

Before purchasing anything, create a list of the bare essentials you’ll need for your work from home office. Here’s a general list of items you’ll want to have:

  • Desk: This is a given since you want a place where you can work. The size and type you’ll need will depend on your space and how complicated the setup needs to be. For instance, if you need three monitors, your desk will be larger than someone who uses a small laptop.
  • Electronics: Most remote jobs will require a laptop or desktop computer. Additional items include a printer, scanner, lighting, and other specialized equipment depending on your industry.
  • Chair: Using a comfortable chair, perhaps one that’s ergonomic, will ensure you stay comfortable all day.
  • Office Supplies: It’s useful to be realistic about what you need because you can easily go over budget. Items you may need include notepads, pens, and file folders.
  • Shelf: If you have physical items you need nearby for work, like books and paperwork, a shelf is a handy item.
  • Internet: Pick a reliable high-speed internet connection so you’re not spending too much time waiting to download files or to prevent lagging speeds during video conferences.

Set Up a Home Office Budget

If you’re going to set up a home office on a budget, the most important part, of course, is your budget. The first place to look is your household budget — how much can you afford to reasonably spend in the next few weeks on home office items? Since you’re working from home, your transportation budget may have gone way down or you’re spending less on dining out during lunch. Comb your budget for expenses that have been reduced and funnel the extra to what you need to work from home.

Even if your employer offers you a stipend to furnish your new space, you want to come up with a budget so you don’t go over.

Once you come up with a number and a list of things you need, look up how much these items will cost. Also, consider which items you want to prioritize and devote a higher percentage of your budget to. For example, having high-speed internet may be more important than purchasing a designer desk, therefore it’s probably a good idea to spend less on the latter.

Research Places to Get the Best Deals

There are plenty of ways to have a home office on a budget while still being able to purchase high-quality pieces for your home office. Other than repurposing items you have around the home, look for used items online or in your local area. There are specialized retailers selling gently used or refurbished items at a fraction of their regular price. You may also be able to score open box items — new items where the packaging may be damaged or opened — for a deep discount.

There’s also nothing wrong with asking friends, neighbors, and family whether they have any furniture or equipment they’re willing to sell or give away. Places like NextDoor.com and your local Facebook Marketplace are also goldmines for free items.

Other tips include waiting for sales if you don’t need the item right away, negotiating with your phone or internet service, and resisting the temptation to purchase designer items.

Consider Some Fun Extras

You know you need the essentials, but if your space doesn’t feel like you, it will be hard to reach full productivity. If there’s wiggle room in the budget, purchase items to decorate your space with — such as frames, artwork, desk toys, etc. If it makes your work day shine brighter, it’s worth the added cost.

Best Way to Pay for Your Home Office

One easy way to cover the cost of your new home office furniture and supplies is to use a rewards credit card. Using a cash back rewards card to buy your items would allow you to get a small percentage back from your purchases. This may help you keep enough money left over for the fun extras to decorate your space.

With so many people now working from home, setting up a home office on a budget is easier than ever.

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