For U.S. workers, getting paid has a price. A new survey from CareerBuilder sheds light on just how much money workers spend getting to and from work. According to the survey, U.S. workers spend an average of roughly $276 per month – for a grand total of $3,300 per year – on activities related to the simple act of getting to work.
More than 3,000 workers participated in the study, taking into account regular expenses such as gas, daycare, lunches out and clothing.
Daily expenses: Where do workers spend their money?
The daily commute: Not surprisingly, the vast majority of workers (84 percent) drive to work every day. Nearly half of these workers (47 percent) say they spend between $10 and $25 a week on gas, while more than a third (37 percent) spend $25 or more.
While public transportation may be better for the environment, it can still be hard on workers’ wallets. For the 7 percent of workers who take public transportation, fares cost nearly half of them $25 or more.
Daycare: Some of that gas money goes toward dropping the kids off at daycare, which comes at its own hefty price. Of the 29 percent of working parents who send their children to daycare, more than a third (36 percent) spend $500 or more on daycare each month.
Pet care: They’re certainly not as expensive as kids, but pets don’t come cheap, either. Of the 58 percent of workers who have pets, roughly a third spend $10 to $25 on pet care each week, though more than half spend less than $10.
Lunch: Roughly 1 in 4 workers do not bring their lunches to work. Of those, more than a third (37 percent) spend between $25 and $50 a week on lunch, and 1 in 10 say they spend $50 or more.
Coffee: For 1 in 2 workers, a regular caffeine fix is essential to their work routine. While the majority of these workers keep these costs down to less than $10, 1 in 4 say they spend anywhere from $10 to $25 on coffee per week.
Work attire: Looking professional comes at a cost. Nearly half of workers (47 percent) say they spend $250 or more per year on work-appropriate clothing, shoes and accessories while a quarter (24 percent) spend $500 or more, and more than 1 in 10 (13 percent) spend $750 or more.
Cutting down the cost of going to work
Knowing where your expenses go can help you plan your budget more effectively and find areas where you can cut back and save, says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources of Careerbuilder. If you want to cut back on the cost of going to work, start by making a list of your daily, weekly and monthly expenses.
“The cost of work is often what the rest of your budget is centered around. Knowing how much it amounts to can help you trim costs and make different lifestyle choices if need be.”
While things like gas and daycare are necessary, fixed expenses that employees can’t control, others can be adjusted for savings over the long term. For example, start bringing in lunch and reduce those daily Starbucks runs; see if there’s an opportunity to work from home a few times a month to save on gas; and shop for work attire on sale or at discount clothing stores, such as Marshalls or Nordstrom Rack.
Tweet at @CBforEmployers: What are your biggest daily costs when it comes to getting to and from work? How do you cut down on daily expenses?