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What's the real cost of going to work?


Typical morning: Wake up for work. Post #IWokeUpLikeThis selfie on Instagram. Put on your best "It's Monday and I'm late" outfit. Frantically search for keys. Get into your car. Wait impatiently at the Starbucks drive-thru. Rinse and repeat for the next four days.

Did you know? Simply by performing your daily morning rituals, you may be causing your paycheck to take a serious hit.

But how big of a hit, exactly?

According to a new CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 workers, $276 is the average amount of money people spend simply to go to work each month. That's a whopping total of around $3,300 per year. Similarly, the act of finding a new position often requires more than grit and determination; it requires a financial investment as well. One in 5 workers (19 percent) in the survey said it cost them money to find a job. Of these workers, (27 percent) said it cost them $200 or more.

And let's not forget those costs associated with the workday itself: Snacks, lunches out, impulse cupcake buys, the workout membership to that gym downstairs to work off all those cupcake impulse buys… those costs can all add up to a rather expensive job, indeed.

"The cost of work is often what the rest of your budget is centered around," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "Knowing how much it amounts to can help you trim costs and make different lifestyle choices if need be. You can vow to carry lunch to work every day, stop buying coffee out, look for cheaper business clothes. Managing those costs can help account for others, like commuting and childcare, which won't subside."

How Much is Too Much? Breaking Down Everyday Work-Related Expenses


The majority of workers (84 percent) typically commute to work by driving. Thirty-seven percent of these employees spend $25 or more a week on gas, while the majority (63 percent) spend less than $25 on gas a week:

  • Less than $10: 17 percent
  • $10 to less than $25: 47 percent
  • $25 to less than $50: 30 percent
  • $50 or more: 7 percent

Public Transportation

Of those that take public transportation (7 percent), nearly half (47 percent) spend $25 or more on fare per week:

  • Less than $10: 19 percent
  • $10 to less than $25: 34 percent
  • $25 to less than $50: 33 percent
  • $50 or more: 14 percent


While most workers (72 percent) say they bring their lunch to work, half of employees that buy their lunch (50 percent) spend $25 or more on lunch per week:

  • Less than $10: 19 percent
  • $10 to less than $25: 31 percent
  • $25 to less than $50: 37 percent
  • $50 or more 13 percent


Among working parents with children 18 years old and younger living at home with them, 29 percent say they spend money on daycare. Of these working parents who spend money on daycare, more than 1 in 3 (36 percent) spend $500 or more per month:

  • Less than $250: 31 percent
  • $250 to $499: 32 percent
  • $500 to less than $1,000: 26 percent
  • $1,000 or more: 10 percent


Half of workers (49 percent) buy coffee during a typical work week. Of these workers, the spend is:

  • Less than $10: 71 percent
  • $10 to less than $25: 25 percent
  • $25 or more: 3 percent

Clothing, Shoes and Accessories

When asked how much they spend on clothing, shoes and accessories for work in a given year, nearly half (47 percent) of employees spend $250 or more; nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) spend $500 or more; and more than 1 in 10 (13 percent) spend $750 or more:

  • Less than $250: 53 percent
  • $250 to $499: 24 percent
  • $500 to $749: 11 percent
  • $750 to $999: 5 percent

Costs to FInd a Job

Eighty-one percent of workers say they did not incur any costs the last time they looked for a new job; but, of those who did incur costs, many (27 percent) have had to spend $200 or more to purchase items, including:

  • Clothing: 68 percent
  • Transportation: 49 percent
  • Printing (resumes, cover letters, etc.): 44 percent
  • Travel: 40 percent

(Picture Source: Internet)

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