How Much Money is My Job Costing Me?!

This post is inspired by a new follower of mine; Steve from ThinkSaveRetire. More specifically, it’s inspired by this recent post of his.

After a brief hiatus, my worst self-employment nightmare came true a couple of months ago. I went back to my work at my dead-end job but this time it was at a different banking center. Instead of a 3-minute commute, my new center would take me about 30 minutes to get to. Yay.

I liked that my new center was so far away. It felt like I was in exile. I was far away from all the old bullshit; shitty co-workers, shitty leaders, and shitty customers. It was a fresh start.

I was fortunate to have kept my old pay but I knew my new (longer) commute would take some money out of my pocket. But a job was better than no job, right?

The exact amount was something that I never calculated. I didn’t want to. But I should have. I should see how much my job is costing me so I can see what kind of salary I really need to look for when I quit my job.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Transportation: I can’t remember the exact blog post, but I remember Mr. Money Mustache saying that it costs around 50 cents per mile to drive your car between gas, wear and tear, maintenance, and what not. My round-trip commute to work is about 25 miles. Multiply that by 6 (I usually work 6 days a week,) by 2 (for each week a paycheck consists of) and you get 300 miles. Multiply 300 (miles) X .50 (cost to drive a car per mile) and that costs me $150 a paycheck. Holy shit. I don’t even want to think about how much it costs my co-workers who commute a total of 3 hours each work day! This isn’t something that I’ll have to worry about each paycheck, but costly repairs on my car will come soon enough.

Food: As much as we try to avoid eating out for lunch during the work week, something usually comes up. To simplify things, let’s just say I eat out once a week and spend $10 each time so that’s $20 a paycheck. I usually pick up a Red Bull or Monster on Fridays because it’s our long day. (8 am – 6 pm is a bitch!) That’s $6 a paycheck just on energy drinks. I know they’re not good for me but I can’t manage the day without it.

Unwind and Decompress: My wife also works at the same bank I do (but at a different location) so we both have long days on Fridays. We try really hard to make something quick and easy for dinner but it’s a lot easier just to eat out somewhere because we’re exhausted and we “deserve” it for surviving another long work week! That’s roughly $60 a paycheck to simplify things.

Wardrobe: I despise wearing a shirt and tie but it’s required for my role. I try to avoid clothes shopping as much as possible but I have to break down and buy work clothes from time-to-time. Let’s just say I spend $10 a paycheck on work clothes. I also get a haircut about every 4 weeks so that’s about $9 a paycheck for simplicity’s sake.

Away Time: If we didn’t have the location-specific jobs that we have, we probably wouldn’t have the house that we have now and we wouldn’t be living in Florida. We’d downsize in a heartbeat and be content living in a 1-bedroom apartment somewhere in Europe. It’s difficult to figure out an exact number but let’s just say I’d save $100 a paycheck if we rented an apartment in Europe and didn’t have a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, etc. Hell, if we lived in Europe we definitely wouldn’t keep both of our cars so we’d save even more money!

The Catch-All: There’s probably something I missed so let’s just add $20 a paycheck here to cover anything else.

The Damage: All of the above expenses add up to $375 a paycheck. ($150 for a car, $20 for lunch, $6 for energy drinks, $60 for Friday night dinner, $10 for work clothes, $9 for a haircut, $100 for staying in our house instead of moving to Europe, and $20 to cover anything else.)

If I divide that $375/80 (hours I work each paycheck), that means roughly $4.69/hour is going towards job-related expenses. That sucks.

But it’s also a little relieving. I now know what kind of salary range I’d need in a new gig to be able to have the same sort of quality of life that my current one provides me.

But better yet, it means that I don’t have to make as much money when I finally make the jump to being a writer because I’ll (hopefully) be working from home.

No more commuting, no more eating out for lunch, no more energy drinks, no more fancy wardrobes, and it means it would make things a lot easier when we want to explore moving to Europe.

These are the kind of expenses that you don’t really think about when it comes to your job. You probably only think about your income but that’s only half the story.

You should give this a try yourself to get the full story. It really opened my eyes and it will do the same for you. How much do you really make?