Why You Need to Have a Home Office
Most people don't see the need for having an office in their homes, but the truth is that without one they eventually discover that they lose control over some of the most important aspects of daily living.
Many don’t want to be bothered, don’t want to spend the money to create one or think that doing so is a waste of their time.
These are the same people who lose important paperwork, can never keep their financial information in order or have trouble remembering their appointments.
Setting up a home office is not as difficult as you may think, and while it may cost a bit to do so, the amount of money and grief that having one saves is well worth any effort or expense a person might have initially.
What a Home Office Does for You
The main purpose of a home office is to help you organize your important papers so that you can keep track of your personal and business affairs.
Thus, instead of having piles of papers thrown into a box (which makes finding anything almost impossible), you have documents neatly organized into alphabetical sections in file drawers that give you easy and fast access to them.
- Want to know what you paid for that sofa you bought last year? Look in the file marked “Furniture”.
- Want to know the phone number of a contractor who did work for you several years ago and how much he charged? Look in the file marked “Contractors”.
Most people don’t think it’s important to save this information, but it can be extremely valuable.
Below are some examples that prove this point.
Easy Access to Tax Information
People who maintain personal home offices find doing their taxes to be much easier because all of the financial information they need is right at their fingertips.
This is especially true for people who keep important information on spreadsheets and update them regularly throughout the year.
They can tell you to the penny, at the end of each year, how much they paid for health insurance, doctor visitors, prescription medications, operations and other health care costs.
They can also quickly access the interest they paid on their home mortgage, how much they gave to various charities and the amount of sales tax they paid when they purchased their new car.
Having this information at hand when figuring deductions on tax forms can save hours of labor intensive work and also guarantees that figures are accurate.
Furthermore, correct figures can help you to avoid IRS audits and, if you use the services of an accountant, can save you quite a bit of money.
Catching Medical Billing Errors
It is very common for medical facilities to make errors or charge double for services, but if you keep good records, you can prove that you don't owe them anything when problems arise.
A great example of this is when I became extremely ill in March of 1999.
As part of my testing, I was told to get my lung capacity checked at a local hospital and was told the state would pay for it.
Three years later I got a bill for $450 from that hospital. I looked into my files, recovered the notes I had saved, and then contacted the billing department of the hospital to say that I had proof that the bill had been paid.
Only then did they tell me that they had changed to a new computer program and had lost some of their information so were “testing” to see who had paid and who had not!
Once I told them I had written proof of payment, and that the payment was made by the state, there was no further discussion. I owed them nothing, and I paid them nothing!
With the cost of health care skyrocketing, any person who does not take steps to record and save his information is asking for problems down the road. Why pay twice when you only need to pay once?
Dealing With Cable Bills
Awhile back I had a big billing problem with my cable company. They wanted to charge me a considerable amount more than I had been paying in the past, and I balked. When I could not get them to lower the bill, I contacted my state senator who then contacted the FCC who then contacted the cable company.
I got a letter from the President of the cable company apologizing, lowering my costs by about $35 per month and telling me that if I had further problems to contact him directly.
The next year, the same billing problem occurred. I looked up the name of the company President, contacted the cable company, referred to the issue from the previous year and asked them if they would like me to, once again, contact the senator, the FCC and their boss. Once again, the price was reduced.
Hanging onto those papers so that I could refer to them, have the names of the contacts, etc. saved me hundreds of dollars as well as a great deal of my time.
It was the filing system in my home office that allowed this to happen.
This type of information is also good to have when dealing with the electric and water companies.
If you can prove to them that you have a history of paying a certain amount and then one month your bill spikes significantly, you have a good chance of saving a small fortune!
Money Isn’t the Only Issue
Health issues are just as important as those related to money.
It is extremely important for people to know which medications family members are allergic to, they take or have taken, how much they cost and their doses.
When you have a medical emergency, being able to easily access this information could make the difference between life and death, or at the very least between being able to get well as opposed to continuing to be horribly ill.
For example, if you are unconscious and health workers don’t know you’re on blood thinners, they might treat you in a way that would cause a life threatening bleed.
However, if someone in your family can easily access your medical files, this type of problem can be completely avoided.
People who keep home offices also can maintain medication and hospitalization records that they can easily share with new doctors. This is important to do because it helps doctors to analyze health situations and prescribe appropriate medications that will not interact with others you take.
- If you have a serious allergic reaction to some medication and are unable to speak, you don't want EMTs dosing you with it.
- If you keep an updated card in your wallet that gives them this information when you cannot, it could save your life.
Most EMTs know to check the refrigerator for something called a "vial of life". This is a small plastic bottle that holds all of your medication, doctor and allergy information. They know it's there because you stick an orange circle on your refrigerator that tells them it's there.
Keeping a productive home office that allows you to update important information like this can be a life saver.
Having Home Office Is a Smart Move
People who don’t take the time to organize and retain important information are always the ones who lose money and create all sorts of problems for themselves.
There is nothing like having a solid paper trail to document what you have, what you do and those with whom you have dealt.
I use my home office every single day to help me research situations, scan, copy, print and save important information and keep track of my comings and goings.
If you consider running your life the same way as running a business, you’ll be much more likely to be successful.
Creating a home office is a big step in the right direction towards achieving this goal.
Do you keep a home office?
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Sondra Rochelle