by a.b.

So this week marks my first week back to work. For those of you just tuning in, a move to Portland, OR has had me on unemployment since June, panicking that it would run out in December, and now working in an administrative capacity for the first time in over three years. (Thank goodness Microsoft doesn’t change their shortcuts!)

In between panic attacks, what struck me the most is how much it costs to work. I understand more now why some mothers choose to stay home for financial reasons. If I had to pay for daycare on top of daily expenses, my time would be better spent cutting expenses at home!

The commute is the real killer. I can choose to pay for a daily bus pass at $4.75 and spend an extra 2 hours commuting, or I could choose to pay for gas and parking fees at $9 a day. There’s another possibility I’m exploring, parking in a free parking lot and taking the MAX line. I’d only pay for gas with an extra one hour in commute time.

I also underestimated food and drink costs. My schedule bridges right over lunch time, but my office doesn’t have a refrigerator or water cooler. I’m bringing my own filtered water, an electric teakettle, and looking into small snacks like granola bars. If I wasn’t doing this I’d be spending an additional $3-7 per day.

I work for four hours a day, but am spending the proceeds from about 1-1.5 hour(s) of work everyday. Luckily, after the holiday season, my husband’s schedule will match mine again and we can share commuting and commute costs.

I’m happy to be back at work, but wish I didn’t have to pay for the privilege.

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