Everyone needs to make money, right? The majority of adults in the UK are employed by someone else, although that number is changing as more and more people take on self employment. However, even though you receive a pay check every month, the actual cost of going to work can be surprisingly high! When you start a job, there are lots of additional costs to factor in, which can make a big difference to your overall budget.

Job Cost


Getting up, getting dressed, travelling to work and eating lunch out are all expenses that can quickly add up over the year, but, for some, these are all necessities in order to actually do your job. Different jobs have different demands, depending on which sector you work for, as some have more strict policies than others.


Petrol/travel costs.

Filling your car up each week with petrol, or buying a weekly ticket for the train or bus soon adds up. Even if you buy your train tickets in advance, which you should do if you know you need it every week, you are still paying a hefty sum for actually being able to get to your place of work every morning. Average monthly cost – £250.


Wear and tear on your car.

This links to the first one, but if you’re covering lots of miles each day/week to get to work, you inevitably cause some wear and tear on your vehicle. You wear down the tyres, you’re adding lots of mileage, and this has a long term effect on the efficiency of your vehicle. Average monthly cost – £40.


Childcare costs.

Those cute little darlings you’re leaving each day to work and who has someone else looking after them? Yes, that costs. A lot in some places. According to the Family and Child Care Trust:

The cost of sending a child under two to nursery part- time (25 hours) is now £115.45 per week in Britain, or £6,000 per year. Part-time care from a childminder now costs £104.06 per week or £5,400 per year.

That’s a hefty chunk of change each week, or month for having someone else look after your child. Have more than one, and you are looking at a serious percentage of your take-home pay each month go towards childcare costs. This night be higher, depending on where you live as well, especially if you live in a big city.  Average monthly cost (for one child) – £462. 


Work related clothing.


Where I work, the dress code for employees is “professional business dress” which means smart. It means having to wear suit trousers, skirts, heels (although I don’t!) and be appropriate. These are all items of clothing I would never buy if I wasn’t at work. At the end of the day, I cannot wait to get home and get changed into something more comfortable. Even if you have a business wardrobe, you still need to replace items after a while. And, these items of clothing are usually more expensive than your everyday wear. I wonder why that is? One of the best things I’ve bought is this blazer from New Look, though often smart jackets can cost a lot.   Average monthly cost – £50.


Work lunches/coffee.


Even the most organised person forgets their lunch occasionally. Or needs (?) that caffeine hit at some point during the day to continue, You might work in a place where there’s a staff canteen, or you go out for lunch with clients to talk business. You might take your lunch in every day in a nice lunchbox you’ve bought, plus take your own coffee with you in an insulated mug to save money. However, even if you only buy your lunch once a week at work, that’s about £5. Factor in one coffee, and it’s near £8. That’s just for one day. If you end up doing that three times a week, it soon adds up! Average monthly costs – £50



Turning them into annual costs, this is what you might be spending in order to go to work:

  • Commuting costs – £3,000
  • Vehicle maintenance – £480
  • Childcare – £6,000
  • Work clothing – £600
  • Food – £600

Total: £10,680


Suddenly, going to work seems to be quite an expensive option! And what about the things you can’t measure in monetary terms? What about your time? Your health and well-being? The things you miss out on? All of these things are so important, but cannot be measured by money. In fact, these things could be considered priceless, in the grand scheme of things.


When you’re working out your household budget, all of these things have to be taken into account. The expense of going to work means that your hourly rate can be quite low, once these have been factored in. In fact, many people could have a higher standard of living if they didn’t work, purely due to the fact that they wouldn’t have to spend so much money on going to work. You wouldn’t need so much income to cover all of your expenses, therefore you could work less and then your overall wellbeing might be higher. That’s why we should all be aiming for early retirement! 😉


How much does your job cost you?

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