How much do you pay to go to work?

How much do you pay to go to work?

At first it seems like the question is backwards. After all people go to work to get paid.

OK, so what if I said you can work an 8-hour day, but you are only going to get paid for 6 hours? Most people would scoff at such a preposterous offer.

Yet, I have observed many people willing doing just that.

Work does come with some expenses. You have to pay for the bus, or pay for gas for your car to get work. You may have to pay for clothes you otherwise would not buy to meet the company dress code. And depending on your situation, you may not be able to avoid paying these expenses.

On the other hand, there are costs that can be controlled. Coffee is a main one. Now, I love a cup of Starbucks as much as anyone. But a cup a day adds up quickly. Most coffee drinkers have a coffee maker at home. Most even make their own coffee on the weekends. When I ask someone why they buy their coffee everyday when they could make coffee at home, the answer is inevitably that it’s just not worth their time to make it at home. But what is your time worth? If you spend $3 a day, that is an average of $64 a month. For most people, that is anywhere from 2 to 6 hours of their pay, before taxes. When you could spend far less to make coffee at home.

A big expense is lunch. Of course, we have to eat. I certainly would never advocate skipping lunch. But how much do you spend on lunch per day? My rule of thumb is one should never spend more than they make in a ½ hour of pay. Yet I observe most people spend closer to 1 hours worth of pay. Assuming an 8-hour workday, then 1/8 of your daily day is gone just to be there for the other 7.

Before the economic downturn, I used to work in a nice office where plenty of people were making great money. I observed so many of my coworkers had little to show for their incomes at the end of the month. Every morning, they would get a cup of fancy coffee. Then they would go out to a nice lunch. Then in the afternoon, it was time for a blended juice and/or another coffee drink. And sure, $3 here, $5 there, and throwing down $15-20 for lunch seems like no big deal when you are earning a nice paycheck. But when you add it all together, the costs becomes staggering. On average, many people were spending 2 to 3 hours of their daily earnings for the right to work every day just in food and coffee. Add in gas, and clothes to meet the office dress code, and that means 1/3 to nearly ½ of their days pay was spent just to be at work.

So ask yourself, how much do you pay to go to work?
How many hours of your day do you spend just to work the rest of your day?
You may be surprised.

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