Currently, I am working out of my home office. I often daydream about getting one of those big corporate jobs, using my degree and abilities to the full. I know I would definitely get higher pay by working outside the home, but would it really be more money in my pocket?

There are some additional expenses to consider. For starters, as I’m working from home we only have one car. Obviously, I would have some huge initial costs for getting back into the ‘real’ workforce. Let’s examine how costs associated with working at a corporate office compare to those of working from home, along with any benefits.

First, make a list of all the categories associated to having a job outside the home.

Initial Expenses:

  • Second Car
  • Professional Wardrobe

Annual Expenses:

  • Car- gas
  • Car- maintenance
  • Car- insurance
  • Car- tag
  • Wardrobe
  • Time spent in traffic
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches

Next, we’ll calculate exactly how many days I’d be working so we can plan on car expenses accurately. Let’s assume I’d actually work 245 days (52 weeks x 5 days/wk – 2 weeks vacation) out of the year and have 245 days a year worth of travel expenses. For the additional car expenses, starting with gas consumption, I’m assuming 20 mpg, as that is the rate for our current car. Average expense to drive 25 miles would be $4.30/day or $1,053 annually.

For car maintenance, oil changes every 3,000 miles, or every 4 months would be another $25 or $100 annually. Say for tune-ups $45, brakes $90, wheel alignments $50 and tires $400, that’s an additional $585 a year.

A car insurance annual premium typically runs us $900 a year ($75/mo.)

Renewing our car tag is another $100 a year.

So far just the additional car expenses would average $2,738 a year.

If I had this big time corporate job, I would need a professional wardrobe, which is not required by my job now. Let’s account about $300 if I were to buy new shoes or clothes where I’d spend about $25 a month.

Plus, if I’m driving to work I’m going to be tempted on those rushed morning to grab a coffee on the commute to work. If I did this only two days a week that works out to $6/wk ($312/yr). I’m also more likely to eat lunch out, maybe three times a week at $5/day amounts to $15/wk ($780/yr). Just additional breakfasts and lunches on a yearly basis would come to $1,092!

Where I live, a typical traffic commute is going to be about an hour each way. I’d be losing two hours of my family time sitting in the car plus there is additional stress for driving in traffic. I’ll need to come up with a value of what my time is worth. My opportunity cost of those two hours if spent at home, would equate to having household chores accomplished sooner thus freeing up more time to be with my husband, more down time from work in the evenings, no stress from driving. I’d say that’s worth at least a value of $15/hr. Again, for me, those two hours hold a value of $30. Another way to look at, would you take a $30/day pay cut to be able to spend two extra hours at home for your leisure? Or is that extra $30 worth the hassle of having to wait in traffic and not get home before 7pm? Thirty dollars a day for 245 of work comes to be $7,350.

Let’s look at this list again with the expenses associated with them:

  • Car- gas $1053
  • Car- maintenance $685
  • Car- insurance $900
  • Car- tag $100
  • Wardrobe $300
  • Time spent in traffic/away from home $7,350
  • Breakfasts $312
  • Lunches $780

Total $11,480.

I would have to find a job opportunity that is willing to pay me about $11,500 extra a year to make it worthwhile for me to sit in traffic and drive to a corporate job downtown. For my current situation, I’m better off staying at home, stopping the clock at 5pm, stress free, and available to spend time with my family while it’s still daylight out.