It Costs Money to Work

The average amount of money people spend to go to work each month is $276, or around $3,300 per year, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

Breaking down the work expenses, the survey finds the majority of workers (84%) typically commute to work by driving. Thirty-seven percent of these employees spend $25 or more a week on gas, while the majority (63%) spend less than $25 on gas a week. Of those that take public transportation (7%), nearly half (47%) spend $25 or more on fare per week.

While most workers (72%) say they bring their lunch to work, half of employees that buy their lunch (50%) spend $25 or more on it a week. Half of workers (49%) buy coffee during a typical work week. One-quarter of them spend from $10 up to $25 on coffee each week.

Among working parents with children 18 years old and younger living at home with them, 29% say they spend money on daycare per month. Of these working parents who spend money on daycare, more than one-third (36%) spend $500 or more per month on daycare Fifty-eight percent of workers say they have a pet. Of these, more than half spend less than $10 per week on pet care.

When asked how much they spend on clothing, shoes and accessories for work in a given year, nearly half (47%) spend $250 or more; 24% spend $500 or more; and 13% spend $750 or more.

NEXT: It also costs money to get a job

Slightly more than eight in 10 workers (81%) say they did not incur any costs the last time they looked for a new job; but, of those who did incur costs, 27% had to spend $200 or more on items such as:

  • Clothing: 68%;
  • Transportation: 49%;
  • Printing (resumes, cover letters, etc.): 44%;
  • Travel: 40%;
  • Networking events: 7%;
  • Computer hardware/software: 6%; and
  • Recruiters: 5%.

When asked what they spent the most money on during their job search, most employees who incurred costs said clothes, followed by transportation and travel:

  • Clothing: 39%;
  • Transportation: 22%;
  • Travel: 21%;
  • Printing (resumes, cover letters, etc.): 7%;
  • Recruiters: 1%;
  • Computer hardware/software: 1%; and
  • Networking events: Less than 1%.
The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,031 workers ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 10 and March 17, 2016.