In life, most things are about money. In an ideal world, our finances wouldn’t be the driving force. We would embark on careers because of passion, and embrace each day. In truth, though, those of us with families have no choice but to focus on our earning potential. As such, we take jobs that may not be the dream, and always work hard to progress.
Often, though, our efforts seem to have no real impact. No matter how hard we work, money is always a struggle. If this sounds familiar to you, it may be time to consider exactly how far your money’s really going. It may be that your lifestyle is improving with your earnings, thus leaving you struggling. Or, it may be that you’re spending without realizing.
This is something many of us are guilty of, and that spending often occurs in places we would never expect. In some cases, our jobs end up costing us, as well as allowing us to earn. How? Well, we often spend a fair amount of money when we’re working. In some instances, this is necessary. But, if you start spending out too much, your job may stop being worthwhile. If you’re still unsure of how, read on to find out the job-related expenses you may not have considered.
The commute is the big one for most people. With 86% of Americans embarking on a commute to work, it’s no wonder that this is where a lot of our money goes. With the average journey taking 26 minutes both ways, this can quickly drain your finances.
There are apparent expenses, such as fuel and car maintenance. Even those who opt to use public transport face costs for season tickets. And, of course, there are the risks involved in both. If you drive to work, you face risk of injury, which could cost you a whole world of expense. You’d need to cover lost wages, medical bills and even insurance. If someone else was in the wrong, you do have the choice of contacting an injury firm and seeking compensation. Bear in mind, though, that you will have to front the costs before proceedings start. With public transport, there is less risk of an accident like this. But, you easily stand to lose a day’s wages if trains or buses are cancelled.
And, let’s not forget that we don’t get paid for our commute times. As such, a commute of twenty or more means at least forty minutes a day of unpaid time.
The chances are that you also need to eat at some stage during your workday. This is an area which gobbles vast amounts of money. The majority of us either buy packaged sandwiches or spend a large sums on cooked meals. After all, it’s lovely to treat yourself in the middle of all that hard work. And, if your colleagues are all heading to a classy restaurant, you’re hardly going to say no.
But, perhaps you should. Consider that an average restaurant meal costs around $12.75. If you ate out that way for every day of the week, that’s $63.75. That’s a massive amount in itself. In fact, for many, that’s a whole day’s worth of work. But, things get worse when you consider that, over the course of the year, you face spending $765! That’s only if you ate restaurant-style each day, of course, but more of us do this than we’d care to admit. And, while packaged sandwiches and such are cheaper, they can still set us back a fair amount. When you look at it this way, you could ask yourself whether your job is really worth your time? After all, you’re spending a considerable part of a month’s wages on food each year.
The obvious way around this would be to bring packed lunches. Sure, it’ll be difficult when everyone heads out for those classy meals, but your finances will thank you for it. On top of which, once you start staying in the office, you may notice that more people take their own than you’d realized. While packed lunches do still cost, the expense is less than a drop in the ocean compared to what you were paying. Even better, lunches like these don’t have to be boring. Forget the same sandwiches each day. You could take along pasta salads, soups, and even leftovers from the night before if you fancy. To ensure you don’t slip out of the loop, take yourself off to lunch with the others once a month or so. That way, the expense will be much easier to justify.
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We all want to look our best when it comes to work. After all, failure to take care of our appearance could lead to loss of our jobs. Plus, looking professional puts you in the right frame of mind each day. As such, we all shop for the smartest, highest quality clothes. And, the majority of us wash and iron after one wear, to ensure we stay looking fresh.
Take a moment to step back, though, and think about how much you’re spending on uniform. The chances are that it’s more than you would care to admit. If you buy the highest quality pieces, it probably isn’t unusual to spend a week’s wages or more on each outfit. So, you have to ask yourself, what am I working for? This is where the vicious cycle makes itself most known. You’re buying clothes to impress at work, but you could argue that you’re working to afford those clothes. On top of which, dry cleaning costs and the expense of laundry detergents are sure to set you back a fair amount.
With that in mind, it’s worth saving where you can here. Let go of your need to have the best, and accept that cheaper options may serve as well. It’s also worth shopping second hand where you can. There are some fantastic pieces, just waiting for you to discover them.