Setting Up A Home Office on A Budget

Getting into the mindset of working for yourself is equal parts terror and excitement.

You have a great business idea, you’re sick of your current job, and you just can’t wait to get working from your home office, right?

But you also need to consider all the things every home office should have.

We’re going to take a look at how you can get all the equipment you need, so that begs the question “How much does it cost to set up a home office?”

You can set yourself up with a basic home office for as little as $200, but a more realistic budget is $500 – $800.

But let’s take a look at how much you need to spend and on what.

We’ll operate on the assumption that you want to set up a home office, but you can only spare around $200.

Sound impossible?

It’s not, and here’s your breakdown of costs.

Low Budget Home Office Setup Cost

Office essentialsPrice
Dell OptiPlex 9020, 8GB RAM + 20-inch screen, keyboard and mouse$160 – $185
Libre Office/Open Office Free

In terms of office productivity software, I knew a lot of you were bound to be thinking that the standard Microsoft products are too expensive for you.

So I put together a whole list of Microsoft Office 365 alternatives for you.

Libre Office and Apache Open Office are just two examples of what’s available in terms of free office software.

You can source used desks and chairs from local thrift or charity stores, check with family members,  call centers, or people clearing out their homes.

Okay, you’re not going to be sitting on a Herman Miller chair, but you will have an office chair of your own.

If you feel that thrift stores/flea markets are “beneath you” then running your own business probably isn’t a good idea.

My favourite place for picking up great used furniture for a work from home setup is call centers – they regularly dispose of desks and chairs because they have scratches or stains.

This Dell OptiPlex 9020 has a Quad Core i5, so you could use it for some basic gaming but it’s also more than powerful enough for any day-to-day office work tasks you care to throw at it.

Based on the above, you can get everything you need for about $200.

Medium Budget Home Office Setup Cost

Office essentialsPrice
48-inch wood desk$100
Height adjustable mesh chair$80
Dell Intel i5, 8GB RAM + 22-inch screen$450
Noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones$60
Bluetooth adapter for PC$10
HP Deskjet 4155$50
Office 365 License$9 per month

Next up is an office setup suitable for anyone who has a budget of around $800.

We’ve moved past freebies here and straight onto paid solutions and products.

Like a really good desk, with enough space for a dual-monitor setup.

The PC is a far more current model, with tons of RAM and a decent processor for most uses.

And you’ll need a comfortable chair to sit in – ideally one with a high back.

You can get a new inkjet printer for about $50, but pay attention to how much replacement cartridges cost.

And finally, you can get the full Microsoft Office suite for $9 per month

Deluxe Home Office Setup Cost

Seville Classics motorized standing desk$500
Duramont high-backed office chair$250
Dell XPS i9, 32GB RAM, SSD, 2 x 24-inch screens$2,000
Sony noise-cancelling headphones$350
Bluetooth PC adapter$10
Canon colour laser printer$50
Office 365 membership$9 per month
Co-working space$350 per month

A standing desk is something I want to add to my own home office as soon as I can – I’ve heard nothing but good reports from people using them.

Motorized versions are ideal – you simply push buttons to raise or lower it.

After that, every other item on the list is just a massive upgrade on previously listed equipment, based on the theory that you have an unlimited budget.

You can mix and match items from the above budgets to your heart’s content.

I just wanted to show you what’s possible with a little bit of research combined with lateral thinking.

3 Tips To Make The Most of Your Home Office Budget

Here are a few pointers to help you keep your costs down while getting things done.

1 – Be realistic about what you can spend

Don’t spend money you can’t afford, no matter what

Putting yourself in debt to a “deluxe” home office is a dumb idea because you’ll be stressed out of your mind trying to figure out how to make enough money to repay the debt.

So if all you can afford is an ancient laptop and your kitchen table, then that’s all you should spend.

2 – Don’t be afraid to buy used

There’s a weird stigma attached to buying used or second-hand items, or at least there is for some people.

A “used” desk can mean literally junk, but it can also mean a desk with a few scratches or stains on it.

The same rule applies to second-hand computer equipment – it could be either an old family PC that’s been beaten to hell or ex-government/office equipment that’s pretty much brand new.

Every single one of my PCs for the last 8 years has been a refurbished ex-office model.

Not because I’m cheap, but simply because I don’t see the point in paying $1,000 for a PC that’s 15% faster than a $200 PC.

3 – Luxury doesn’t equal productivity

This is a myth I’ll take pleasure in busting – having the “best” equipment doesn’t make you better at your job.

What I mean by that is an expensive laptop and a luxurious hardwood desk won’t make you more productive.

You don’t need a massive oak desk, a co-working space, or a laptop worth more than a small car to run a successful business.

I have a friend who started his business empire from a local library.

Most of the successful entrepreneurs you look up to or admire come from very humble beginnings, especially the guys who are honest about it.

Wrapping things up

So there you have it – setting up a home office, with all your “must have” office accessories, doesn’t need to cost thousands of dollars.

Your home office budget shouldn’t require remortgaging your home or selling a kidney.

Your office setup cost can be as little as $150 and then you can upgrade your office equipment and computer as you make more money.

Your drive and ambition to succeed are always going to trump a flashy laptop or a vintage oak desk.