The cost of work: forking out for food, fares and footwear
No matter what industry you work in, it’s fair to say that our jobs take up a considerable amount of our time and energy. But did you know that they also take up a considerable amount of our monthly outgoings?
Research from Santander has revealed that the average full-time worker spends 12% of their disposable income on work-related expenses. That’s a grand total of £66.9bn being spent across the UK – an eye-watering figure.
This sum incorporates a huge range of costs such as getting to and from work, uniforms, food and childcare. The amount you’re likely to pay unsurprisingly varies depending on your location, with Londoners shelling out an average of £3,561 annually while those from Birmingham are spending approximately £1,668.
No such thing as a free lunch
The research found that an average of £410 a year is spent on lunches, which is a cost many would face whether they had a job or not. It also found that an average of £83 is spent on clothes for work – but I think that sounds a little off. After all, if you need a new suit and a pair of shoes every year, you’re looking at well over a £100.
But then we have the high-impact costs of working. Apparently, driving to work costs UK workers £829 a year in petrol, without counting parking fees or congestion charges. Public transport could save you money, but might still set you back £782 a year. My commute from leafy Surrey into central London is roughly 10% of my gross salary, and has increased further thanks to the hikes in train fares at the beginning of January.
The survey also found that one in five workers has to pay for childcare as well: around £3,632 a year on average. Throw in the cost of ad-hoc work phone calls, stationery, and equipment – and you can add another £187 a year to your bill.
We’re a nation wrapped up in our work – and our latest Which? Consumer Tracker shows that one in three are finding it difficult to live on their current income. Have you made any lifestyle changes to manage your work-related outgoings?
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