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While I do work as a contractor (with the dream of being a full-time content creator), I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my career. When starting out in my professional career, I had to set up a set of criteria that would allow me to cut cost. The biggest cost savings I recommend is taking advantage of job perks.
Ideal For: Anyone that’s frugal or needs to save money.
Relevant Industries: Primarily White-Collar jobs.
Practical Use: Job Hunting
Regardless of if you are a college graduate, someone with a skilled trade or someone that is finding a new job, perks are a big deal.
It still could be a while before we land a job that pays well enough to not live paycheck to paycheck, that doesn’t mean aren’t in control of our destiny.
1. Make Use of The Office Free Coffee
While the ‘free coffee’ perk is primarily catered to an office setting. The biggest daily savings I have is when I travel to my workspace. I use the house coffee supplied by the employer. It adds up
Assume you spend $3 per day every day at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
1 coffee a day for 5 days a week. That’s $15 per week.
4 weeks per month. That’s $60 per month.
12 months per year. That’s $720 spent on coffee that you didn’t need to.
That’s not even counting any coffee you might brew yourself in the morning. Take advantage of your coffee habit at your work.
Even if you make $25K/year starting out. Say you keep $20,000 after taxes for the year. Coffee alone can attribute almost 4% of your take home.
For those wanting your 5% a year raise or trying no negotiate that extra 5% in salary, you effectively got it back.
Average Saved: $720/year
2. Eat Them Free Snacks
“Wow Mr. Debt To Dough, this is so generic!”. Look, as more companies become more employee friendly and there are more jobs than people, free snacks can add up big time.
I’ll use a practical example:
My first “career” job started out at $8.25 an hour. After taxes, I was taking home about $1,000 home per month. Just enough to pay rent, bills, and my student loans.
The company offered “free snacks” perks as a way to empower employees.
For me, free snacks = free breakfast & lunch. This was the most abused job perk that saved me soooo much money (and yes, I still do this to this date).
Imagine: Swap out bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, cereal that you would normally eat for breakfast. Now swap out your sandwiches, takeout, or any fast food you might order for lunch daily.
- Breakfast money saved: $20/week
- Lunch money saved: $40/week
Weekly, this is $60 saved, and that’s probably on the low end if you think about it. Your food budget will primarily consist of dinner. Now we are talking. Over a year you can save over $3,000 alone by choosing a company that offers free unlimited snacks.
Is it healthy? Probably not. But when you are living paycheck to paycheck or need the money, this is a pretty damn good sacrifice. Most of life’s decisions have some sort of trade-off. You in this case you give up our choice of food over saving money.
Average Saved: $3,000/year
3. Sign Up For Company Health Insurance For Super Cheap (or Free)
Regardless of your opinion on Obamacare (AKA: Affordable Care Act), paying for insurance can be pretty steep. I would say for the most part we are relatively healthy and don’t really opt to go to the doctor frequently.
But paying for insurance can still put a dent in your wallet. More and more companies (outside of the tech space) are offering to pay 80% or more of your health insurance.
Some companies like Zappos offer to pay 100% insurance and even offer your spouse to be included for pretty cheap as well.
Health Insurance alone can cost hundreds of dollars each month.
When scoping out your next company, ask about their insurance benefits.
Even if you end up paying $80/month in insurance for your company, this beats paying hundreds more monthly on your own.
Monthly savings can easily be $200+ with a total of $2,500-$5,000 per year. Heck, big companies on average pay $10,000 each year for health insurance for each employee.
PROTIP: If you are at a negotiation point on salary for a job, you might be able to come out ahead by suggesting better health care. If you pay nothing at all for insurance, you are effectively earning an extra $5,000+ in your pocket every year.
Average Saved: $3,500/year
4. Actively Pursuit Remote Working (If it’s applicable, obviously).
I’ll chalk this up into a “Net Positive” if you have a job that requires you to drive 30 minutes+ to work or you pay for parking.
More tech jobs offer the amazing job perk of flexibility with remote work. Now, remote working isn’t for everyone. But, if you are able to handle working from home, you save BIG on both time and money.
If you have a fully remote job, you save about 45-60 minutes on commuting per day. Let’s assume that you take up about 1 gallon of gas per day if you travel 15+ miles per trip per day.
- 1 gallon of gas is about $3.25 -> 5 Gallons per work week = $16.25 in gas
- That’s $65 in gas per month and $720 in gas per year just commuting. I know people who spend $200/month on gas, so I’m being very tight with spending in this example.
There is also parking if you live in a big city. Monthly cost can vary between $25 per month all the way to $500+, according to cityobservatory.org. I’m going to say that average parking is $50/month in the big city, and I’m pretty sure this is on the lower-end. So you can save another $600/year in parking.
It All Adds Up
I like to think of job hunting very similarly to ‘table selection’ in poker. You want to set yourself up for success by doing your due diligence on your opponents. If the poker table looks super tough and the conditions don’t meet your needs to be profitable, you go to another table.
Your next job is no different. Don’t be shortsighted and think that earning an extra $1-2K more a year is worth it when you could effectively be making more at a better company long-term by reading the situation correctly with the right job perks.
All the tips provided here can save you $3,000-$10,000 a year in spending. All of that money could be used to pay down debts, loans, or even to invest in yourself.
It was one of the ways I was able to pay down my student loans. Hopefully, I was able to help out! If this article provided any sort of value please share it!