Culinary Gizmodo

Cookin’ and Smiling

What is it Costing You to Work?

Did you realize that it’s actually costing you to work? I’m talking about work related expenses, such as childcare, work clothing etc. If you’re a working mom who would like to stay at home with her kids, then you have to figure out just how much money is left over after you deduct all work related expenses. That amount (and not your net salary) is what you are really contributing to the household each month. And if you wish to work at home, then you need to know just how much your home based business must bring in each month in order to break even.

The most obvious work related expense is daycare. It’s often the biggest expense to come out of the second income of a dual-income family. After-school care also falls into this category.

Transportation costs probably also take a big chunk of your income. Traveling to and from work and daycare can add up to a pretty penny. What are your work-related transportation costs for the month?

Clothing. Unless you wear some sort of ‘uniform’ to work, you will probably be spending a fair amount of money on work clothes each month. After all, you can’t turn up to a meeting with CEO’s in a faded 3 year old suit, now can you?

In addition to these obvious costs, there are also many hidden costs associated with working. Here are some of them.

Office Food.

Eating lunch out, that morning cup of coffee at Starbucks and anything else you buy to eat at work all fall into this category. For one month jot down whatever you spend on food during the course of your workday. You’ll be surprised at the amount.

Office Socializing.

Buying gifts for co-workers who are getting married, having babies, leaving, transferring to another department, retiring and so on are all part of being a caring, friendly co-worker. So are chats over coffee and occasional drinks after work. How much are you spending each month on office socializing?

Convenience Items

Frozen, microwaveable meals, prepared foods from the Deli and pre-packaged mixes are all wonderful time savers that many working moms rely heavily on. But that convenience comes at a price. In addition to these convenience meals, you are probably also even cooking take-out meals a few times a week because you’re simply too exhausted to cook.

Last minute birthday gifts, expensive cookies from the bakery for the school play and so on all fall into this category.


Shopping during lunch breaks or because you feel guilty about not spending enough time with your kids can also blow your budget.

School Lunches.

Preparing homemade lunches is often just an additional chore that working moms have no time for. How much are you paying each month for the convenience of prepared lunches?

Then there are other minor expenses that you probably never even thought of including, such as fund raisers, mlm products bought from a co-worker, or betting on who will win the latest football game.

For one month, make note of how much you spend in each of these areas. Add up all your work realted expenses and subtract that from your income. That total is how much you are contributing to the family income. Divide that by the amount of hours you worked and you will arrive at your hourly wage.

Armed with these figures you will now be able to decide if you want to continue working or not. If you want to start a home based business you will know exactly how much you need to bring in each month in order to break even. Or if you’re a stay at home mom, you’ll know by how much you need to reduce your expenses in order to make ends meet.

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Author: Kelly Aveiro
Article Source:

Tue, April 17 2012 » Random

One Response

  1. Karen Carr April 17 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    Yes, but as someone who worked for a long time and now works from home, you should also keep in mind that staying home doesn’t make you into a perfect person who will never spend money again. You’ll make new friends in the PTA, and they’ll want baby shower gifts and birthday lunches too. Volunteering with the PTA will put you under pressure to buy your share of raffle tickets. You’ll want to buy yourself a new dress sometimes, even if nobody’s going to see it but those PTA ladies and your husband. And you’ll end up taking the kids out for frozen yogurt or McDonalds once in a while, even if you’re home with them all day.
    If you don’t like to cook and wear old clothes now, you won’t like it any better when you’re staying home with the kids. And they’ll still want to go to lessons and summer camp with their friends, even if you could watch them at home.