Calculating the Cost of Your Job

You work to make money, but did you know your job is probably costing you? The expenses of a job will vary depending on location, industry and employer. However, if you have a job you’re probably spending more than you would otherwise. Of course this doesn’t mean you should just quit your job, but determining the cost of a potential or current job can help you adjust behaviors in order to save money or to decide whether or not it’s time to make a career change.


Transportation Costs

This includes gas, car maintenance, bus fare, and other modes of transportation. Keep track of your work-related transportation costs to determine how much you’re actually spending. You might be surprised how much it’s costing you to get to work. If you drive your own car, try carpooling with coworkers or neighbors that work in the same area. If you take another form of transportation, look into free public transportation options. You may also try biking or walking to work when possible.

Clothing and Accessories

Most employers have some sort of dress code, even if it’s lenient. If you leave your house for work, you’re probably spending more on clothing than you would otherwise. This includes dry-cleaning, uniforms, and makeup. For some, it may be easy to separate work clothes from casual clothing. Others may find their wardrobes are more flexible. Start tracking your clothing purchases including where the item will be most used (work or personal) to get a clearer picture of what you’re spending on work-related clothing and accessories.

Cut back on work related clothing costs by using interchangeable pieces that can work well with many other items. For example, a basic jacket or dark pants can be worn more than once throughout the week when paired with different accessories. See our tips for building a professional wardrobe on a budget.

Food and Entertainment

A lot of people eat out every day when at work because it’s more convenient than packing food. But these costs can add up fast, especially when eating more than one meal out per day (which is often the case when working long hours). In addition, you may be spending money on after-work drinks or snacks at the vending machine. Take Sundays to prepare food to take to work, including snacks and drinks. Socializing is considered a part of the job in many industries, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to interact with coworkers and clients. Set a spending limit per week and don’t allow yourself to go over it.


There may be people you hire to do work you would otherwise do if you weren’t working. Examples include childcare, cleaning, and yard maintenance. This will not apply to everyone, but for some it is a big part of the budget. Sometimes it’s worth the money because you’re making enough at your job to offset the costs and your free time is valuable. However, if you know you’re spending in these areas may be almost as much as you’re making (or more, as is often the case with childcare), it may be time to consider part-time or more flexible work.

Several options available for people who wish to cut down on work-related expenses. First, ask your boss if you can work remotely one or two days per week. This may not apply to every job, but most jobs don’t require that you be in a specific location during all working hours. Another idea is to try freelancing or contract work that allows for more flexibility in when, where, and how much you work. Remember, you’re working to make money – not to spend it.