We pretty much take it as read that by “spending a day at home” we’ll be saving money. Nothing to be spent running the car, or taking public transport, no buying anything, no grabbing the occasional snack from the supermarket – it’s the obvious way to avoid spending. What’s more, as working from home becomes increasingly common, it’s something we are getting more used to doing - spending time at home is no longer something we like to do, it's something we have to do. But how expensive is it just to stay in our own house? Are our employers taking advantage of us by making us spend more on our workspaces than they would have to? Are we fooling ourselves into thinking that spending the day at home we can make a major saving? After all, most day-to-day activities have some cost. Here’s how much some common day-to-day activities cost, starting from when we get up to when we go to sleep. There are a few surprises!



Notes on calculation

Cost £

Cost $

Getting up




Taking a shower

8 minute hot power shower
Washing and conditioning hair


$0.60 $0.12

Wet shaving

Basin of water
Single use razor
Shaving gel

£0.01 £0.14

$0.01 $0.22 $0.12

Dry shaving




Using toilet

Includes a single flush
8 sheets of toilet paper


$0.01 $0.03

Brushing teeth

Includes running tap for 2 minutes



Drying hair with dryer

Not strictly necessary for spending a day at home, but put in for completeness  - 2 minutes (men), 10 minutes (women)

£0.01 (m)£0.04 (w)


Make up

Not strictly necessary for spending a day at home, but put in for completeness – assumes lipstick, blusher and mascara

£0.19 – £0.50

$0.30 -$0.75

All day costs




Heating the house all day (winter) for 12 hours

Set temperature of 20C or 70F

£5.00 approx


Air conditioning house all day (summer) for 12 hours

Assumes a temperature of 20C or 70F and individual room A/C units

£2.40 per room approx


Lighting costs, per room (summer)

Lights on early morning / late evening, total 3 hours, 100W total lighting per room



Lighting costs, per room (winter

Lights on most of the day (total 10 hours) 100W total lighting per room







Breakfast cereal

Cost of typical cereal, milk and sugar




Cost of bread and toaster use



Piece of fruit

Banana, apple or orange



Tea / coffee

Includes boiling a kettle



Daytime activities




Mobile phone use

Ten 4 minute calls using (typical pay as you go service)



Land line use

Based on ten 4 minute calls using typical package



Computer use

On all day



Washing clothes

Assumes 1 load of laundry



Drying clothes

Assumes 1 load of laundry dried in dryer




For2 hours



Read book

 Does not matter as to the subject, type or variety - it's free!



Sleeping / resting

 Again, it doesn't matter where you are, doing nothing is always cost free - and it's good for you.



Mowing lawn

Electric mower being used for 15 minutes




This doesn't include the cost of plants but just some general maintenance







Ham sandwich

On sliced white /wholemeal bread



Cheese sandwich

On sliced white /wholemeal bread



Salad sandwich

On sliced white /wholemeal bread



Egg sandwich

On sliced white /wholemeal bread



Bag of crisps / potato chips

From family pack




Apple / banana




Cereal bar




Nice ice cream



Evening meal




Healthy / diet option

Home cooked chicken breast and salad



Family option

Home cooked meatloaf / beef stew / meat & 2 veg



Gourmet option

Home cooked Thai curry / nice steak dinner



Takeaway option

Curry / Thai / Chinese delivered



Soft drink

Coke / Lemonade / fizzy water



2 bottles of beer

Bottled beer



½ bottle wine

House wine / supermarket wine







Evening activity




TV / video use

Assumes watching for 3 hours



Read book












Relaxing bath

Stay in until the water gets tepid, about 40 minutes



Brush teeth




Have sex

1 condom



Charge phone overnight





(*) Add £100,000 ($200,000) if pregnancy results

From this it is possible to conclude that in order to have a thrifty day at home:

It is better to take a long bath than a shower
Don’t bother to shave or wear makeup
Use clothing to regulate temperature
Eat healthy stuff, don't drink or get takeouts
Read a book, sleep, do some exercise or go on line
Don’t phone people
Don’t get pregnant

None of which is exactly rocket science, but now you can prove it.

(Please note that this is a very general study and individual cases may well vary from the figures listed above. The dollar cost has been calculated by multiplying the British Pound cost by the current exchange rate of 1.56 dollars to the pound - so if you in the US find that your costs are actually less than what people in the UK pay, you can feel suitably joyful.)