employees who routinely drive to work, buy lunch and canít
get by without a cup of coffee, work-related spending
can add up to a tidy sum.
a money coach, I talk to scores of people about their
monthly budgets, and one of the things Iíve learned is
that most individuals, and couples, too, tend to vastly
underestimate their living expenses, including the true
cost of doing something as basic as going to work each
day," said Lynnette Khalfani Cox, founder of AskThe
MoneyCoach.com, based in Mountainside, N.J.
typical workday is loaded with so many fixed expenses
and small, insignificant purchases that Accounting
Principals, a workplace consulting firm based in
Jacksonville, Fla., endeavored to estimate what it
described as the "true cost" of holding down a
average, according to their calculations, working
Americans spend the most money each week on gasoline and
transportation ($67); followed by lunch ($29); and
coffee ($10). This suggests that in a given year,
Americans are likely to spend $3,484 on gas; $1,508 on
lunch and $520 on coffee.
survey found that men are less price-conscious than
women when it comes to work-related spending.
percent of men spend more than $100 a week getting to
and from work, compared with only 4 percent of women.
Men also spend more on lunch, where they are much more
likely than women to spend between $21 and $40 per week
(42 percent vs. 24 percent).
believes even if most workers know how much they spend
each month on gasoline commuting to work, most are
hard-pressed for details on exactly how much having a
car really costs.
all, it not just about gas when you have to drive back
and forth to work on a daily basis," Cox said.
"Itís also about parking fees, tolls and routine
care like oil changes ó not to mention car inspections
and depreciation on your vehicle. All these costs can
really add up, so itís important to have a realistic
picture of your spending."
she said, getting to work is just part of the financial
battle. There are other costs to factor into the cost of
you have young kids or even school-aged children, what
about day-care expenses or after-care school costs you
may be paying just so you can have your kids someplace
safe while you work?"
many professionals ó such as lawyers, salespeople or
executives ó feel like they have to "look the
part" at work. These people tend to drive fancier
cars or buy higher-price clothes, designer goods,
jewelry and accessories to project a certain image to
clients and higher-ups in management.
thereís always the potluck events or going-away
parties for retirees, holiday gift exchanges, Girl Scout
cookies, and so on.
of these costs may seem like the price of going to work
and, to a certain extent, they are," Cox said.
"But I would caution people against automatically
buying into the concept that they absolutely must spend
money they are doling out in some areas. That simply isnít
point is to be budget-conscious about your work-related
costs because every dollar you spend just to get to the
job or perform there, is taking away funds from other
goals you might want to achieve, such as saving more
money or better planning for retirement."