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How Much Money Do You Really Make?

Updated on February 27, 2009
shawna.wilson profile image

Shawna is a working wife and mom with a passion for achieving financial freedom. Her family is on track to be completely debt free by 2018!

How much of your paycheck goes toward job related expenses each month?
How much of your paycheck goes toward job related expenses each month?

I got my first job when I was sixteen years old. I worked at a Hallmark shop and was thrilled to find out I'd be earning a whopping $5.15 per hour! Wow, things sure have changed since then. Everyone makes a certain amount of money for the work they perform. You might be delighted with a new job offer that pays $20.00 per hour. Before you get too excited, do some math to find out how much you'll actually be bringing home after taxes and job related expenses. The most common job related expenses include money spent on transportation, childcare, clothing, and food. These factors can whittle your hourly rate down to a fraction of where it started.

Not all jobs pay by the hour. Salaried employees are paid the same amount each paycheck, regardless of the number of hours put in. Contract workers often get paid a lump sum after the completion of a project. Bloggers get paid by advertisers depending on the amount of traffic generated by their website. Even if you aren't compensated by the hour, it is easy to calculate your true hourly rate. Whether you are a teenager making $8 per hour at a sandwich shop or an experienced consultant bringing in $100 per hour, your hourly rate may not be what it seems. Would you like to know what your profits are after taking out taxes and work related expenses? Click here to find out!

Realizing your true hourly income might seem a bit discouraging at first, but there are benefits to knowing how much you're actually bringing home. Knowing your actual hourly rate allows you to increase the accuracy of your family budget. It can also keep you from overspending. If you seem to run out of money at the end of every month, it could be because you think you're making more than you actually are. Making a savings plan for something specific is much easier if you know exactly how much money you'll have left over each month. You'll also know exactly how many hours of work it will take to earn enough money for your purchase.

If you'd like to increase your hourly wage without actually getting a raise, do so by lowering your work related expenses. Everyone's work expenses are different. One family may have three kids in daycare and a ten mile commute while another family has no children but drives 40 miles each way. One or more of the following tips may help you reduce your job expenses.


  • Use public transportation instead of driving your own car.
  • Carpool with a friend or neighbor to lower spending on gas and maintenance.
  • Find out if your employer will allow you to work from home at least one day per week.
  • If you pay for parking, shop around for a cheaper garage or lot close to where you work.
  • Shop around for auto insurance. Get a few quotes and see if there is a better option available than the premiums you're paying now.
  • Keep your vehicle well maintained.

Resources for Choosing a Childcare Provider


  • Comparison shop daycare centers. Daycare rates vary widely from one facility to the next.
  • Consider switching from a daycare center to a private in home daycare. In home care is usually much less expensive. Make sure to check references before making a switch.
  • Find out if it is possible to work four ten hour shifts instead of five eight hour shifts to save one day of childcare expenses per week.
  • Ask close family members if they are willing to take care of your kids while you work.
  • Exchange or share childcare with another family.



  • Avoid eating out at restaurants. Instead, cook meals at home.
  • When you make a meal, double it, and freeze half for another night when you don't feel like cooking.
  • Save money at the grocery store by shopping the weekly sales, planning your meals ahead of time, and taking a list with you to the store.
  • Bring your lunch to work rather than eating out.
  • Limit your stops at the gourmet coffee shop on the way to work.


  • Select work clothes that can be laundered at home to eliminate dry cleaning expenses.
  • If you are required to buy uniforms for work, find out if your employer offers a uniform allowance or any type of reimbursement for uniforms you purchase.
  • If your clothes usually require altering, learn how to do it yourself. Hemming pants is a simple project that doesn't require a professional seamstress.
  • Buy classic wardrobe pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfit possibilities
  • Shop for gently used business clothing at consignment shops and garage sales or on Craigslist and Ebay.

Knowing your true hourly wage will allow you to budget and spend your money more wisely. Find out exactly how much money you really make and use the results to improve your current financial situation. Good luck!


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    • shawna.wilson profile image

      shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks Clara!

    • Clara Ghomes profile image

      Clara Ghomes 8 years ago

      Interesting Hub.Easy tips to make money more wisely and to improve current financial situation.

    • shawna.wilson profile image

      shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona

      earnestshub-I'm sure my adsense pay rate would be even less...I've earned about $50 in 7 months. Oh well. I enjoy hubbing, and that's what matters :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Good hub Shawna, I just worked out that adsense makes me 0.001 cent for about 8 hours work.

      I wish I hadn't done the math. By retirement age I should be making enough money to pay for a glass of water once a week. Woopee!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      These are great tips. Some I was doing and not thinking of how much it helped me out.

      You have great ideas to help save money! Thank you.

    • budwood profile image

      budwood 9 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Wow! $5.15 per hour.  What a deal.  When I was first hired, the guy who did the hiring called the state employment agency and I heard him say, "That high?; O.K., I guess we can do that".  Then he turned to me and said, "O.K., you start tomorrow at 45 cents an hour".

      It didn't seem appropriate at that time to figure my real wage! But that was a good lesson; I've mostly worked for myself during my career.

    • shawna.wilson profile image

      shawna.wilson 9 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for reading Lea^!

    • Lea^ profile image

      Lea Smith 9 years ago

      Easy read and some good tips -- Thanks, Shawna