Is Your Job Costing You Too Much Money?

When you're considering a job offer, you can't help but factor in salary. Money matters, unless you have a sizable nest egg that lets you spend without care. That is not the case for most workers.

Instead, you have to consider the cost of your rent or mortgage, student loans, monthly bills, food and other expenses. A dream job can quickly lose its glimmer when you realize it doesn't pay nearly enough to survive.

But do you continue to examine your expenses once you've accepted the job? If you're strapped for cash on a regular basis, have you resigned yourself to thinking you need to earn more? Well, until that happens, you might want to examine what your job is costing you, not paying you. Many workers forget the indirect expenses of work, such as wardrobe, transportation and food. If you can cut down or make alternative arrangements, you might be able to boost your bank account even without a pay raise.

Here are six ways your job might be costing you:

1. Clothing and dry cleaning

Whether you wear suits or jeans, clothes cost money and you have to replace your work attire regularly. If you have to wear dress clothes, the upfront cost is already steep, but then you're stuck taking them to the cleaners every week. Or you have to buy enough clothes to go to the cleaners less frequently. Either way, you're stuck shelling out cash.

2. Transportation

Unless you can work from home or walk to work, getting to your workplace probably costs you money. Public transportation is usually cheaper than driving, but it often takes longer, so it costs you time.

But if you're driving, don't just look at the price of gas, which definitely puts a dent in your pocket. The back-and-forth of everyday commuting puts more miles on your car, which translates into more maintenance and eventually a need to replace the car sooner than if you worked close to home. And if you have to pay tolls, that's yet another expense to consider.

3. Food

One of the easiest ways to save money during the week is to pack your lunch. Unfortunately, life often interrupts the best-laid plans and you end up going out for lunch, which means you spend a few dollars here, a few dollars there, and by the end of the week you've spent 50 bucks on lunches alone. For many workers, job-related activities take up more than 40 hours each week. From the time you leave in the morning to the time you return home, you might have been gone for 12 hours, and that means you probably don't have time or energy to cook dinner. Therefore, you'll be picking up food on the way home.

4. Child care

If you have children, you know how expensive child care is. The cost depends on many factors, such as the child's age and how long the care is for, but it's never cheap. Several studies have shown that many working parents spend most of their paychecks on child care, and sometimes parents who work part-time end up losing money. Unless you have an on-site day care that saves you money or can arrange a more affordable deal with a friend or relative to care for your child, this expense is one you can't avoid.

5. Housekeeping

OK, many people consider housekeeping a luxury, and that's fair. However, if your job takes up so much of your time between hours worked and the commute that you're gone 75 hours each week, you're not left with much free time. Therefore, you might feel inclined to have someone clean your house while you're working so you can enjoy yourself when you get home. A job that takes up less of your time would allow you to do chores without feeling like you're wasting your few hours of freedom.

6. Cell phone and entertainment

If you have to use your cell phone for work, your company might cover the cost. Not all companies do, however, and employees are stuck paying for expensive smart phones out of their own pockets because they're expected to be on call every day. They need to be able to access e-mail and send documents at a moment's notice, and these phones and their service plans are expensive.

Some jobs also involve entertaining clients. Again, many companies provide expense accounts, but not all of them do. If you get stuck taking clients to lunch or drinks on a regular basis, that cost adds up, especially if you're driving them around yourself. Just be certain that you're earning more from their business than you're spending.

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