Racking up expenses for work - Metro US

Racking up expenses for work

I polled 20 to 40-somethings throughout July on what they spend on work expenses annually.

The responses indicate that most incur thousands of dollars in costs to “look the part.”

For example, a landscaper buys heavy duty boots and commutes long distances, an IT consultant might work from home and invest in a home office, and a lawyer travels often and purchases expensive suits.

Save money on commuting expenses by taking public transit, switching to an alternative fuel vehicle, or carpooling.

Transit passes are eligible for a 15 per cent tax credit at transitpass.ca.

MoneySense calculated that a couple could save almost $600 per month by moving out of the suburbs and closer to the core if they work downtown.

Not only would they pay less in car maintenance and fuel expenses by walking or biking into work, but they’d spend far less time commuting.

Work attire can be purchased at deep discounts by buying in the ‘off’ season, on sale or at outlet malls.

Often times, designer labels are more than 50 per cent off the rack.

If your suit needs tweaking, take it to a tailor and have it customized for $50.

By sticking with classic fits and fabrics, you’ll avoid premature replacement when fashion trends change.

You can spruce up nearly any outfit with an inexpensive colourful shirt or tie.

I’d recommend buying unique accessories, like broaches or bags, from local artisans.

When setting up a home office, look for clearance sales on desks and computers.

I saved $2,000 on my home office by hitting up a “going out of business” sale.

Don’t be afraid to buy book shelves, desks, chairs or electronics second hand off Kijiji or EBay.

Many home office expenses qualify for tax credits. Work expenses are largely unavoidable.

But, be savvy and frugal by spending on work items that enhance your personal brand.

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