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How Much Does It Cost to Go to Work?

Topics: Data & Research
We all know that working takes a toll. We give our jobs our time, our energy, even our peace of mind when things are particularly stressful around the office. But, have you ever thought about the actual financial cost of working? We think of our jobs as being something we do to make money, but work costs us something, too.

work costs

(Photo Credit: Jake Ingle/Unsplash)

Earlier this month, CareerBuilder released the results of a new survey of more than 3,000 workers that aimed to help us all better understand the real cost of going to work every day. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that cost of living varies and so do our salaries – try using PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator to see how your area measures against the rest, especially if you’re considering a move. Despite this, it’s interesting to consider some averages. Here are a few interesting costs that stood out from the survey.

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  1. Commuting

It turns out that commuting isn’t only stressful, it’s also expensive. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they commute every day by driving to work. Among them, 37 percent said that they spend more than $25 a week on gas. Also, it’s important to note that the survey didn’t factor in other costs of keeping a car on the road like insurance, taxes, or the cost of repairs. Among those who use public transportation to commute to work, 47 percent also said they spend $25 or more each week.

  1. Food

Seventy-two percent of survey respondents said that they bring their lunch to work. Among those who purchase lunch, 50 percent said they spend more than $25 a week, and 13 percent said they spend $50 or more. Coffee is another cost. Forty-nine percent of workers said that they purchase coffee during a typical work week. Although only 28 percent admitted to spending more than $10 a week, these costs still add up.

  1. Daycare and pet care

For working parents, daycare is a huge cost. More than 1 in 3 parents spend more than $500 per month on daycare, and 10 percent spend more than $1,000. Pets are also an expense, and more than 50 percent of those surveyed have them. More than 50 percent of pet owners spend $10 or more per week to have someone help out with pets when they head to work.

  1. Dressing for work

Clothing, shoes, and accessories are another category of work costs that can add up pretty fast. These figures vary pretty widely, though. Fifty-three percent of workers said that they spend less than $250 a year on clothing, but 12 percent said they spend more than $750. If the cost of dry-cleaning had been factored in, this would’ve been even higher.

  1. The bottom line…

The study laid out some totals for workers to ponder. According to the data, the average worker spends $276 per month on these, and other, costs of working. That comes out to around $3,000 per year. And, let’s keep in mind that this figure is an average. A lot of workers are spending much more. The information contained in this report could help workers make wiser decisions, which could help them save money in the long run.

“The cost of work is often what the rest of your budget is centered around,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a press release. “Knowing how much it amounts to can help you trim costs and make different lifestyle choices if need be. You can vow to carry lunch to work every day, stop buying coffee out, look for cheaper business clothes. Managing those costs can help account for others, like commuting and childcare, which won’t subside.”

For more information, be sure to check out the full report from CareerBuilder.

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How much do you estimate it costs you to go to work every day? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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