Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Costing Me HOW MUCH (!) To Work?

Today is Day 1 of working from home for me. And boy, can
I hear the crickets chirping.

I sat down this week to have a closer look at why we are not getting further ahead than I expected now that I'm back at work. I realised that there are so many work related expenses, that I considered trivial, that I didn't fully factor into my budget, thinking they would just be absorbed into the little allowance for random costs that I give myself.

I found that I am spending waaaay too much each week on "working costs". Some of those costs aren't even genuine, but they were stacking up to an expensive working week.
1. $9 parking each day. This one is fair enough, the only free parking is about 35 minutes speed walk from my work (there was a time when I actually would park there). These days that 35 minutes in the morning and afternoon is too valuable to give up, so I park in the cheapest parking I can source. 
2. $2 breakfast each day. I am a sucker for chunky toast, and even though I start each day resolved to not eat it, as soon as a bunch of people head out for a coffee run in the morning I quickly join them for the company as well as the toast.
3. Lunch. Our mornings are chaotic and crammed, with both Husband and I getting up at 5:30 and racing to have everything ready to go (x2 babies plus ourselves) by 6:30. He always ends up with lunch in his cooler bag, somehow I never do. So even though I know better, the better part of $10 flies away on local Thai, gourmet sandwiches, wraps, Subway, my options are endless.

And lets not forget the afternoon chocolate run to use up any gold coins left in my wallet on random $1 fundraising chocolates.

These are habits I had well stamped out before I went on Maternity leave (x2!), but a busy life has reintroduced them. Working 6 days a fortnight is costing $180+ out of my pay. Ouch!

What are my steps for reducing my "working" costs?

1. $27 in parking costs can be reduced to $9 by working from home. Just 2 days a week, and I'll spend my third day in the office to keep up with meetings and get some grownup time.
2. Instead of buying a cafe breakfast each morning, buying a $2 uncut loaf of bread from Coles each week will give me chunky toast each morning, including the work days I stay home. A $6 per week habit will become $2, and can be enjoyed even on days I don't need to work.
3. A $24 MINIMUM spend per week on lunch will be reduced to <$5 as I enjoy sandwiches at home. I will also be making sure I make a sandwich for myself on Friday to take to work. Even if it means staying up a little later to make it the night before.

I am committed now to reducing my "working" costs from $90+ per week, to $16 per week. There is probably an even bigger savings in petrol for working from home, but then I guess you have to offset an increase in my utilities too.

(Let's not forget my childcare costs, which thankfully are extremely reasonable thanks to a MIL who happily takes the kids x2 days per week, leaving me with only 1 day of care (x2 kids) to pay for. They get socialisation and lots of fun craft activities at daycare 1 day a week, time with family and cousins the other days.)

Hopefully once I have this under control we will start to see a bigger improvement in the money we are throwing at the things that are important to us. (Holidays, paying down the mortgage, activities with the kids).

Do you find that "working" expenses can easily reduce the benefit of earning an income? Or you've got these costs nailed?

1 comment:

  1. I'm going back to work in a couple of months after a year of mat leave so I'm glad I stumbled across your post! Thanks for sharing! Hopefully I can stick to a budget! Visiting via the Top 25 lists :)

    The Urban Ma


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