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Updating Real Earnings Analysis

Last October, I wrote about my “real earnings” at the part-time hospital job. Since it was PRN (meaning “as needed”), I wasn’t able to come up with a real hourly wage, but I was able to figure out the basics of what I had to subtract. Now that I’ve been at my new job for 6 months, I thought I’d look back over my costs of working and see what’s changed.

The cost of commuting has slightly increased (though now I’m using SmartBenefits, which means it’s pre-tax) as I now have to commute at rush hour both ways. This comes to $3.90/day for the metro. Add in about $0.50 in gas to and from the metro station, or $0.45 each way if I’m taking the bus. This is less if Micah’s working, because then the trip is part of his commute and we can apply half to his cost of working.

The time cost has decreased a little, from 45 minutes each way to a little over a half-hour. As a plus, I spend 10 minutes of that each way walking, which is better for my health. Because I ride the metro/bus/car and then walk, I’m not going to count the time as a real cost. Instead, it gives me chances to sit in silence, read, talk with Micah, and then exercise. My commute is often good me-time.

In both cases, the wardrobe cost is about the same as I have a similar dress code–though I work more hours at this job than at my two part-time jobs, so the clothes probably get worn out faster. Perhaps after a year, I’ll have more of an idea of the cost.

While I’m eating lunch at work now, this hasn’t worked out into higher food costs as I always brown-bag. Because I’m no longer PRN, I may be eating fewer snacks to keep me going until I get home–though our grocery spending hasn’t really changed.

All in all, my real earnings have skyrocketed because I am always getting 8 hours of work to make up for the costs, instead of 1 or 4 or 5, and the costs have stayed about the same. Has it cut into my ability to earn money on the side? A little, but I find that I’m enjoying the consulting far more now that I’m not trying to make it a main staple of income that makes up for my earnings at the other jobs.

Have you looked at the real earnings of your job? Is the cost of working there worthwhile? Are there ways you can cut down on that cost?


MoneyFunk June 16, 2009 at 9:22 am

Ah, I will have to figure out the real calculations. But with my modest salary, I believe (as I once calculated it before) benefit from about… only 1/2 of it. Sad, sad truth. That is why I need to become really financial saavy and make my money work to its best advantage. 🙂

MoneyFunk’s last blog post: Where’s your Basil?

Cath Lawson June 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Hi MM – I’m pleased you’re enjoying your new job and that it’s working out well for you financially.

I’ve always enjoyed being self employed and I’m not ready to have folk working for me again just yet. But I do get lonely working alone and I have considered a part-time job.

But when I crunch the numbers it just doesn’t seem worthwhile for me. If you’re not working a full day, the travel costs really do eat into your salary. And as you mentioned, there’s also the travel time “costs” to consider.

Another problem is, since I began reading your blog, I’ve learned to live so frugally that I guess I’m not motivated enough to increase my income.

Cath Lawson’s last blog post: Would You Jump Off A Cliff To Find Out?

Funny about Money June 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm

The university has been steadily cutting my salary since February.

Yesterday I did a little number-crunching and discovered that SS plus a 5% drawdown of retirement savings will produce a net that’s HIGHER than what I was at the Great Desert University before the furloughs. Higher still when you delete the commute, which today — because I drove — cost about $6 round trip. It’s $2.75 r.t. on the train. But still…$13.75 a week.

Funny about Money’s last blog post: Support Iranian voters

Kristia June 20, 2009 at 10:54 pm

After reading this article I will take a closer look at my part time income, work commute and related costs. Thanks!

Kristia’s last blog post: Just Say Thank You

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