Work-related expenses revealed: Gen Y spending 150% more than Baby Boomer colleagues

Generation Y employees are spending over $200 more than the average Australian on getting ‘work ready’ each month, with costs such as travel, lunches and take away coffees proving the most expensive costs for workers.

Research from ING Direct found that Gen Y workers are spending an average $794 per month ($9,528 per year), on work-related expenses, which is considerably higher than that spent each month by their average Australian ($591) or Baby Boomer ($320) colleagues.

With the $9,528 per annum figure roughly equivalent to 11.5% of the average Australian wage, John Arnott, Executive Director of Customers at ING DIRECT, has encouraged Australians to look more closely at their expenses to find ways to save.

“We’re a nation of hard workers, but the expenses that come with going to work can add up,” he said. 

“From the cost of the daily commute, to barista coffees, take-away lunches, work-related grooming and work attire – a lot of the time we simply don’t consider the impact these expenses can have on our bank balance month-to-month.”

The research revealed that Australians spend a massive $39 billion each year on getting ‘work ready’, with travelling to and from work the biggest expense, costing $179 per month on average, followed by the amount spent on lunches ($129).

Australian workers also love to indulge their daily caffeine habits, spending an average $74 a month on coffee or energy drinks, with MIllennials particularly dependant with an average spend of almost $100.

“By being aware of how these costs can add up and taking proactive measures to switch habits, Australians can ensure they save more of their hard earned cash for themselves rather than spending it on actually going to work,” said Arnott.

“For example, use public transport to avoid tolls and parking costs, or strategically shop for work attire by hitting the shops in the sales. Simple switches can make a big difference to your bank balance each month.”

Three tips for trimming your work expenses

  • Transport - Switching to public transport instead of driving may seem like a hassle, but think of the potential savings on petrol, tolls and parking. Better yet, if you have flexible work times why not make use of the financial incentives for making your journey ‘off peak? (Hint: both the Opal network in Sydney and Myki in Melbourne offer discounts for off peak transport). You could even try a ‘$0 transport spend day’ once a week by walking/running/cycling to work if you live close enough.
  • Coffee - With Australians spending over $6.5 billion a year on their takeaway coffee habits, it’s definitely time to find some ways to cut the price of your daily fix. First of all, make sure you’re using that loyalty card - even if you’re only getting one free coffee in ten, that cappuccino you usually pay $4 for becomes $3.60. Is there a cafe a bit further down the road which does your flat white for $3.50 instead of the $4 they charge in your building? Well get some fresh air and save. To find out how much your coffee habit is really costing you, check out the Mozo vice calculator.
  • Lunch - Pack your own lunch to save big time while keeping things healthy! One big cook on a Sunday afternoon could set you up with lunches for the whole week, so you won’t have to spend at all during the week. For example, a beef stir fry with five vegies could set you back just over $20 for five lunches, compared to $15 for just one BLT at that cafe downstairs.