Top 5 Ways Your Job Costs You Money and How to Start Saving
Sun, 11/11/2012 - 8:52pm | by Guest Contributor
This is an awfully difficult time to be out of work, and if you've managed to navigate the months of searching, interviewing, providing referrals and salary negotiations to finally land that offer you're probably jumping for joy And you should be! Having a full-time job isn't only about making money to pay the bills. It also gives your days a purpose, and can directly contribute to your self-confidence and feelings of self-worth. But what if you have to take a bit of a pay cut to land that job? You're probably still happy to have something consistent you can count on, at least until you get that first paycheck. Once you see how taxes impact the bottom line you could end up less than enthusiastic. And the problem is, taxes aren't the only thing that suck money from your monthly wages. There are several things you must spend on simply to keep that job, and with most of them you really have no choice in the matter. Recognizing those costs and finding ways to minimize them are the keys to reaping the maximum benefit from your salary. Here are the top five ways your job costs you money, and how you can start saving today.
Unless you work within walking distance of your office you'll always have commuting costs to manage. Public transportation, which can be a much cheaper option than driving yourself, can still cost you as much as $100 or more each and every month. But if you're like most people you drive yourself to work. In either case studies have shown that the average American spends over $6,000 each and every year commuting to work. And depending on where you live than number could be much higher. Many people have been forced to travel farther and farther from home to land a job, and commutes of as much as an hour are commonplace. Add in parking if your company doesn't cover that, and you've got a huge chunk of expense to contend with.
If you have children, you'll find making sure they are properly cared for to be one of your largest monthly expenses. Most two-parent households need two incomes to make ends meet, and the majority of households with young children have to pay for at least thirty-five hours of daycare each week. How much could that cost? At the low-end of the spectrum you're looking at approximately $4,500 a year. But depending on where you live that number could be upwards of $18,000. If you have pets as well they'll have to be fed and walked, though that won't be nearly as expensive.
If you have any sort of white collar office job you're going to spend on clothing. That means suits and shoes for men and skirts, blouses and the whole range of accessories for the ladies. You might have this in your wardrobe already, but if you're moving into a new position you may end up having to refill your entire closet. Depending on tastes and sales that could run you several thousand dollars.
No matter how diligent you are about saving money, at some point in the workday you'll have to eat. If you work in an urban environment, you could spend as much as $12 or $15 on lunch, and that doesn't include the morning cup of coffee or afternoon snack. And there will also be occasions when you head home too exhausted to cook dinner and pay for takeout instead, or head out for happy hour after work to network with your boss, only to spend too much at the bar.
Finally, you'll be presented with all sorts of calls for charity at work. Whether it's the co-worker whose daughter is selling cookies or the race sponsorship for a good cause, you'll find an endless parade of requests for financial support. Add on top of that the frequent birthdays, baby showers and retirement parties that must be contributed to at busy offices, and you'll find being social comes with a price tag.
So how do you save on all of these areas? It's going to take diligence and careful planning. You can pack your lunch each day to save on food costs. Try to hunt down diamonds in the rough at thrift stores instead of paying through the nose at designer boutiques. Ask your boss if you could telecommute once a week to cut down on those transportation costs. Another great option is to talk to human resources about having child care or commuting costs drawn from your paycheck pretax. You'll still have to put it out, but it will cost you less in the long run. Finally, look into accounts that will help you save for healthcare. You can find deals online that will either match funds put in or minimize the taxes you have to put out.