You have a job to make money and provide for your family, but the simple act of going to work might cost you thousands of dollars every single year.
How much you’re spending just to go to work
A CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 private sector workers found that people spend an average $276 a month to go to work, which is about $3,300 a year. Expenses include things like driving, public transportation, coffee, lunch, day care, pet care and clothing.
Here’s a closer look at how much people are spending in these categories:
Nearly 85% of workers from the study get to work by driving, which means they’ll probably have to fill up the gas tank weekly. The good news is that gas prices are nowhere near record highs. Most workers surveyed are spending less than $25 a week on gas. If you live nearby your office, you can consider walking or biking to save money. Carpooling is another solid option.
- Less than $10: 17%
- $10 to less than $25: 47%
- $25 to less than $50: 30%
- $50 or more: 7%
Public transportation (weekly)
If you’re not driving, walking or biking to work, then you’re probably taking public transportation. The study found nearly half of those who take a train or bus to work spend $25 or more on fares each week, which is equal to what many pay for gas. But keep in mind that public transportation is common in bigger cities, and sometimes it can eliminate the need for a car altogether.
- Less than $10: 19%
- $10 to less than $25: 34%
- $25 to less than $50: 33%
- $50 or more: 14%
The CareerBuilder study found that 72% of workers said they bring their lunch to the office, but half of those who buy lunch spend $25 or more a week. You can save money in this category by doing weekly meal planning and keeping snacks in your desk drawer to avoid trips to the vending machine.
- Less than $10: 19%
- $10 to less than $25: 31%
- $25 to less than $50: 37%
- $50 or more 13%
Day care (monthly)
Nearly 30% of working parents with children living at home said they spend money on day care every month, according to the survey. And these costs can be very high! More than a third reported spending $500 or more per month to have someone else watch their kids.
- Less than $250: 31%
- $250 to $499: 32%
- $500 to less than $1,000: 26%
- $1,000 or more: 10%
Pet care (weekly)
More than half of pet owners surveyed spend $10 or less per week on pet care. But for people who spend more, maybe a trusted family member, friend or neighbor can help pick up some of the dog walking duties. If they have a pet of their own, you can always offer to help them out in return.
- Less than $10: 52%
- $10 to less than $25: 33%
- $25 to less than $50: 12%
- $50 or more: 3%
Read more: Is pet insurance worth the price?
Nearly half of those who took the CareerBuilder survey said they visit a coffee shop during a typical work week. To save yourself a few bucks, buy your favorite brand of coffee at the grocery store, brew it at home and take it to work in a travel mug. If you must visit a coffee shop, look for discounted gift cards on sites like Raise.com and download your store’s app for coupons.
- Less than $10: 71%
- $10 to less than $25: 25%
- $25 or more: 3%
Clothing, shoes and accessories (yearly)
Unless you have the luxury of working from home, you’ll have to get dressed to go to work. In the study, 47% of people said they spend $250 or more a year on clothing. To stretch your dollar further, look for clearance sales on timeless and classic pieces that will last a long time.
- Less than $250: 53%
- $250 to $499: 24%
- $500 to $749: 11%
- $750 to $999: 5%
- $1,000 to $1,499: 4%
- $1,500 to $1,999: 1%
- $2,000 or more: 2%
Read more: 9 tricks to slash spending on clothes
Calculate your number
How much are you spending to go to work? Remember, the study’s average was $276 a month or $3,300 a year. Once you add up your work-related expenses, subtract that total from your earnings to see how much of an impact it makes.
5 basic money rules you can live by forever