How Working Can Cost You Money

Does working full time actually cost you money? The answer is, it sure can. It all depends on your mindset. Nine reasons your job could be costing you money:

  1. Lifestyle choices. Time is of course, money. And gas, and wear and tear on your car and repairs and the list goes on and on. So, yes, a commute can be costly. A former colleague of mine lives in a beach front community. She adores where she lives yet to make a living she must commute into Silicon Valley which is a 90 minute commute each way. Every single day, five days a week. That’s a lot of wear and tear on the car, money for gas to say nothing of the pure exhaustion. I have to ask myself, how much does my friend really get to enjoy that beachy lifestyle swears by? My guess is she is spending most of her time, exhausted, in her car. In addition, she is constantly struggling financially. In order to afford that pricy (also tiny and always in need of repairs) home, she needs to continue to work far away in high tech where the salaries are higher. Seems that all her money goes to supporting a lifestyle she rarely gets to enjoy. Something to think about. And speaking of lifestyle, consider yours when it comes to having pets. They cost. I’ve blogged about the cost of pets before and this when nobody loves their animals more than I do but if you can’t afford them, then don’t get any more. Another reason my beach front friend struggles financially is that she has many pets which she hardly ever sees because of her time consuming commute. Even so, she ends up paying huge sums of money for a sickly couple of cats and dogs. I am not saying she should give up her beloved animals, quite the contrary. She made a commitment to her animals and needs to see it through. All I am saying is that with her current lifestyle she shouldn’t get any more pets as the pets she has age and pass away.
  2. Relationship issues. A relationship is full of compromises until it isn’t. Take benefits for example. I have a friend who is stuck in a miserable job based on the fact that her husband insists on working at a very small company that is often in financial trouble and constantly seems to be cutting benefits to the bone. My friend had to pick up the slack and feels she must stay in a job she hates and a commute she hates and all because they need the benefits. Her husband works in IT and can get a job at most any company for far more money and benefits. I call that selfish and all because he’s comfortable where he is at and too lazy or unwilling to look for another job. Another friend’s husband has not worked in decades while she continues to toil away well past a time when she could have retired and all because he expects a certain lifestyle. I understand to each his own when it comes to relationships but on some level, you have to look at how it is costing you to stay in a one-sided relationship.
  3. Dining out. So many people I know insist on going out four or more nights a week and all because they work. I call foul here too. Spend an hour or two on the weekends preparing meals. Working is no excuse to eat out all the time.
  4. Home chores. I know someone who refuses to do any housework yet only works part time. This person’s belief was that if they work hard housework should be paid for. If you are frugal and able bodied, then there is no reason to not do your own housework, at least the basics. Working is no excuse to be lazy or a slob.
  5. Lunching. Don’t. Take leftovers and brown bag it. Eating out adds up and is not justifiable even though you work full time. If you spend just $10 a day eating lunch out, that adds up to more than $2,500 a year, money better spent in your bank account or going on a vacation you surely deserve.
  6. Clothing. You need work clothes to be sure but you don’t need new outfits every month or even every season. Keeping up means spending too much. Check out my blog series on frugal fashion for tips on how to save money and still be fashionable.
  7. Keeping Up. Don’t. If you have to present yourself as living a life of pricy vacations, expensive cars and brag-worthy material purchases, then you are in the wrong job or at least working at the wrong company. I once had an entire team working for me that certainly all made less money than I did yet each and everyone of them spent money like crazy trying to impress the brass and position themselves as somehow more important than they ever could be. In the end, we are all expendable so bragging about that $20K trip and a new SVU isn’t going to save your job or get you a promotion. Nor are those $2,000 designer shoes going to make the right kind of impression. How people can spend like money like crazy while panicking over the power being turned off is just nuts. Take care of your financial business and stop trying to mortgage your future to convince people you are something you are not.
  8. Convenience. I understand that we who work full time are not available a certain number of hours a day so spare time is at a premium but that is still no excuse to pay for every convenience out there. Pick your perks carefully and ask yourself if you really need to pay to have someone iron your shirts every single week when you could be doing it while watching your favorite show. Just a thought.
  9. Going out. I think smoozing multiple nights a week with people you already spend your days with, paying for booze that you don’t need to be drinking and snacks that just add calories, is a waste. In some professions one might argue, this might hurt your chances for advancement but ask yourself, as a frugal person with goals, do you really need to be going out multiple nights a week after working all day? In the vast majority of cases, I think not. Your time is far better spent at home saving money and eating in.


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