How much does your job cost you?

Published:
02 February 2012
Topic:
News,Insurance,Car

We are all used to the taxman taking a chunk of our annual salary, but new research by Guardian Jobs has revealed that, while at work, we're eating our way through thousands of pounds each year in expensive sandwiches and coffees.

And, we could be needlessly throwing away even more money on the daily commute.

Here we take a look at how much our working week costs us and how to keep these costs down.

The daily commute

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 70% of UK workers living outside London drive to work and these commuters are being hit hard by the rising price of petrol which has gone up by 51.4% in the last five years.

In addition, the AA's latest report on motoring costs shows that the total standing costs (insurance, road tax etc.) and running costs of the average car is 68.62 pence per mile. So, even just a short commute of a 10-mile round trip each day will cost in the region of £1,585 per year*.

You can cut down your motoring costs by using MoneySupermarket to find the cheapest deal on your car insurance; this alone could save you up to £400 a year.

While 70% of commuters outside the city take the car to work, only 35% of London workers drive to and from their jobs.

Almost 40% of those with jobs in London prefer to use the train and the Tube network for their daily commute, but this does not necessarily cut down on their travelling costs as the price of an average annual peak-time train pass with underground travel is £6,000.

A good way to cut down on commuting costs is to car share with any colleagues that may live in the same area as you. Even if you only do this once or twice a week, the savings will soon add up. You may also be able to cut out the added expense of parking if your employer offers free parking facilities for workers who car share.

If you live local to work, why not walk or cycle there, saving on the cost of public transport, fuel and parking? If your employer has joined the government's Cycle to Work scheme, you can even claim the back the VAT on a bicycle you purchase for the purpose of getting to work.

If walking or cycling all of the way to work is impossible, maybe just part of the way is possible?

The morning coffee

If you're one of those people who can't function without a morning coffee, you could be needlessly parting with hundreds of pounds each year.

And you won't be the only one as it's estimated that around 70million cups of coffee are consumed in the UK every day.

Using the data provided by Guardian Jobs, the average price of a medium cup of Americano coffee from a chain such as Starbuck's or Costa is £2.05. This means buying just one of these each working day will set you back £437.55 over the course of the year.

Compare that to the cost of instant coffee, which works out at roughly seven pence per cup or just over £16 over the course of the year, and you could save yourself more than £420.

If you're not a fan of instant coffee then you could make your morning coffee using ground coffee beans in a cafetière as this will set you back less than £30 over the course of the year, even factoring in the cost of the machine.

If you simply must have freshly ground beans then you could buy a good coffee grinder and espresso machine and still save yourself around £300 per year.

MoneySupermarket's shopping channel currently has the DeLonghi KG49 coffee grinder for £19.99 and the DeLonghi EC220CD  espresso machine for £79.99, both of which have excellent customer reviews and work out cheaper than buying a takeaway cup every day.

Of course, you could even take the even simpler and healthier step of cutting out the morning coffee altogether.

The lunchtime sandwich

There's no such thing as a free lunch, apparently, but that doesn't mean that you have to pay through the nose for a lunchtime sandwich.

Working on the figures supplied by Guardian Jobs, the average cost of a ready-made tuna sandwich is £1.93, which works out a £445.83 per year if you have one every day you're at work.

But making a tuna sandwich at home, working on the assumption that this will contain two slices of bread, half a tin of tuna and a squirt of mayonnaise, will set you back just £0.84 or £194.04 over the course of the year.

However, although it could be slightly more expensive, you may want to change the sandwich filling occasionally throughout the year.

How much can you save?

This all depends of your personal circumstances and the lengths you are prepared to go to. For example, some people may think nothing of a 20-minute walk to work while a two-minute walk will have others reaching for the car keys.

So, if you save £400 by switching your car insurance provider with MoneySupermarket; a further £437.55 by sacrificing your morning coffee; and pocket an extra £251 just by swapping shop-bought sandwiches for ones made at home, you could be looking at a total annual saving of more than £1,000 - not to be sniffed out in these times of austerity.

That has to be food for thought!

*Figures based upon a five-day working week, minus 21 days' annual leave and eight public holidays.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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Les Roberts

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Senior writer

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