Employment is a fact of life. You need to work to have money. However, there are bills and costs that come with having a full-time job that you wouldn't necessarily pay if you were unemployed. The average employee spends about $3,000 a year on costs associated with their job. But what are these expenses?
First up, you have to get to the office. In 2015, the average American spends 26.4 minutes getting to work. About thirty minutes on the road both ways. Usually, this means owning a car and paying for gas to cover the distance. Sometimes, employees pay for parking too. Car payments, vehicle maintenance and insurance are other bills associated with car ownership. In a big city or more populated area, you have the option of public transit. This can be cheaper, but can also result in longer commute times.
2. Child or pet care
So what happens at the house while you're at work all day? If you have children and/or pets, covering daycare and pet care will be another expense. And child care is a big expense for many families. About one-third of American parents say that the cost of child care has caused a financial problem for their household. It can get quite pricey. But unless you have other arrangements with family or helpful neighbors, this cost pretty much unavoidable.
Meal times are often a social hour. Lunch is no exception. Americans on average eat out for lunch twice a week, paying about $10 each time. That's $936 annually. You can pack your own lunch and bring it to the office. But sitting alone at your desk or elsewhere isn't quite the same as eating out with coworkers. Additionally, working or networking lunches can't always be avoided.
A professional environment requires professional clothing. You certainly can't walk into work in jeans and a t-shirt — unless your office has a relaxed dress code. This means you'll have to buy a work wardrobe. The average family spends $1,700 on clothes each year. Additionally, you'll probably need to buy new outfits as fashion trends change to maintain your professional image. You can often buy more affordable clothing over luxury brands. But this is pretty much an unavoidable expense.
5. Pay-in benefits
With full-time employment often comes benefits — health insurance, retirement accounts, the works. These are perks of the job, but also come with their own costs. Insurance premiums are often worth it for the coverage provided. And paying into a 401k will set up your financial future, especially if your employer matches your contributions.
6. Travel or relocation
If your job requires travel, you'll probably get paid back for any expenses incurred. But waiting for that money to be returned can often be a hassle. Any personal expenses (usually food) incurred while traveling are often not reimbursed at all. Another hefty expense could be relocation. Let's say you're switching branches to work in a new city or starting a new job entirely. Not many employers these days will cover the cost of relocation. All those moving expenses have to come out of your pocket.