YspeopleExplore tab

Beware the hidden costs of earning money

About [email protected]

Hello, I'm Jo Williams, author of the blog . My intention is to live more simply and thoughtfully. My writings challenge the dominant paradigms of endless work, consumerism, and subsequent waste; celebrate the everyday; and share my love of the revolutionary activities of growing, making, and baking things. My hope is to influence others to make small changes in their own lives to benefit both themselves and the environment.

The new year is traditionally a time to instigate change. Thinking about working less? It costs money to earn money, and this diminishes the value of some of that work.

Have you ever noticed that is costs money to earn money?

Op shops can be a lifesaver when it comes to saving on work clothes.

Op shops can be a lifesaver when it comes to saving on work clothes. Picture: Shutterstock

My usual job is part-time. But due to some changes in the team last year, I put my hand up to work full-time for six months. I describe this to others as ‘falling on my sword’! But in reality, I really don’t mind because I’m one of those increasingly rare people who loves their work (most of the time, anyway!)

What I have learned during this time is that the more money you earn, the more you spend. Some of this is choice and some is necessity. Expenditure on clothes and food goes up. There are increased costs to run a car and more is spent on parking. My petrol costs have gone way up.

Many people comment about the extra money they spend on daily takeaway coffees and on buying, rather than taking, lunch. It’s an effort to , organise lunch and prepare something after a tiring day at work. Eating out or getting takeaways at night becomes an easy and tempting option.

I have a problem with the , and make a concerted effort to plan meals and not spend on takeaways. Infrequently, I’ll buy a chai soy latte when at work, always in a travel cup. And I’m a leftover queen when it comes to work lunches, rarely having to buy mine.

I’ve particularly noticed the need to spend more on clothes. Personally, I have an aversion to shopping, except when I’m on holidays. My dislike of shopping makes me a minimalist when it comes to clothes.

So one of the first things I found when I returned to full-time work was that I didn’t have enough in my wardrobe for a five-day-a-week professional job! I managed to pick up some extra items from an . But I did have to spend money on new clothes, as well.

Hairdressing costs increased for me. I usually do my own hair colour, which saves about $35 after product purchase. But since working full-time, I’ve mostly been getting my hairdresser to do it every six weeks. There’s just less time on the weekends for messing around putting my own colour on. And it’s more affordable to go to the hairdresser because I’m earning more!

Money has also been spent paying for someone else to do things that I would ordinarily do myself.

Mr Simply Will needed a black vest for a performance. Taking a leaf out of my book, he searched for one in an op shop. The trouble was, it was patterned with Disney characters! If I hadn’t been working full-time I would have had time to cover it myself, though probably not particularly well. Instead, we paid $60 to have it done professionally.

These are just some examples of the ways in which increased spending sits alongside full-time work. There are many more, like child care, and the costs of servicing that mortgage on the much more expensive house bought with a higher income.

We should all be much better off financially when working full-time. But the extra money earned can very easily be whittled down, making the increased days at work less worthwhile.

Less work will always mean less income. But it also means more time for other things, a more productive garden, and less spending on many things.

Perhaps in the end, it is about balancing what we need to do with what we want to do with life.

Banner 2
| Your rating
No ratings yet

Related stories

Do you have a canny tip for saving money.

Share your money-saving hacks here

Everyone loves to save a dollar or two when they can. Do you have any money-saving tips to share with your YsFriends?

9 months ago
(Money & Business)
Because you're never too old to pursue your passion.

Your midlife career-switch advice is golden

Have you started a new business or pulled off a major career switch in midlife? We'd love to hear from you.

Money Ageing
9 months ago
(Money & Business)
Rejuvenate in Retirement.

6 ways to retire from work, not life


Are you ready for The Lifestyle Change? Retirement can be a more difficult adjustment than we realise.

Money Retirement Relationships Ageing Health
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
James Packer: born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Bring back death duties for silver spooners

Why should the privileged offspring of Australia's elite inherit their billions tax-free? Let's level the playing field.

Money Business Ageing
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
Retirees have copped a rough time in recent years.

A new approach to retirement planning

I’m going to stick my neck out just a bit and say retirees have had a raw deal over the past couple of decades.

Money Retirement Ageing
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
Funeral directors prey on the vulnerable.

Funeral directors are blood-sucking leeches

Leveraging grief to up-sell expensive funerals to vulnerable families is a loathsome practise and must stop.

Money Business Family Community
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
Trickle-down economics my arse.

How big business is giving you the shaft

Are you battling to make ends meet thanks to stagnant wages and lack of jobs? Here's who's to blame.

Money Business Community Social Issues Politics
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
What impact will the eventual death of Queen Elizabeth have on us in Australia?.

What happens to us when the Queen dies?


As a part of the Commonwealth, the impact on Australia will be greater than you think.

Community Social Issues Politics Australia UK
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
Myer - no Harrods.

Good riddance to Myer's CEO!

And there are plenty more who should follow him. Don't these obscene executive salaries make you furious?

Money Business
10 months ago
(Money & Business)
New CBA CEO Matt Comyn.

Why 'banker' should start with a W

It's our fault that the big banks treat us with such contempt and arrogance. Time to hit back by taking our mortgages and...

Money Business Community
10 months ago
(Money & Business)

Message board

Derek, 6 months ago:
I am great
George, 6 months ago:
What's up Thomas?
George, 6 months ago:
Messages are now updated in real time on other browsers.
Thomas, 6 months ago:
Thomas, 7 months ago:
DJC, 7 months ago:
George, 7 months ago:
Message board active from June 2018

Have your say!

Your Great Australians

Trending stories
You could volunteer to help reintegrate elephants back into their natural environment on your next holiday to Thailand.

Top 5 volunteering adventure holidays

Are you looking for a...

(Kindness) Over 1 year ago
When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

20 mature bloggers worth following

Looking for Australian...

(Entertainment & Culture) Over 1 year ago
Embrace the uncertainties of life to enjoy the wonder.

Embrace uncertainty to really live

It's the perfect way to...

(Ys Comment) About 1 year ago
The Australian Car.

Remembering the mighty Holden EH

While the EH Holden, even...

(Pastimes) 6 months ago
Who's worse, member unions or business? Picture: Supplied.

Are unions as bad as business?

Employer unions, employee...

6 months ago
Weekly Poll
Photographic memories
It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.