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Costs of work

Think about all the costs that will change when you start work. You can do a better-off calculation to find out if your salary will be greater than your current income but you also need to remember to factor in other associated costs to working.

If you are currently on benefits and going back to work after having children, having a long period off or returning part time it is worth finding out how this will affect your benefits. The impact will depend on the benefit you are on. Try our searchable directory for help on this.

Money isn’t the only thing to consider when decided if a job is right for you. It might bring experience that could later result in a promotion or pay rise and should improve your confidence. However, knowing how you will manage your finances has been shown to reduce stress and improve wellbeing, both of which are essential for staying well and in work.

Travel costs

These could be bus or train fees, or petrol money. Depending on what time you work, you may have to travel at peak times, which is significantly more expensive. Savings can often be made by buying travel cards – the bigger the period you can buy for the greater the savings. However, this means an upfront cost. Is this something you can afford, or do you need to work for a while to save? If you have or need a car or motorbike, don’t forget other running costs like maintenance and repair, insurance and tax.


Clothing and shoes

What is the dress code for your new workplace? If there is a uniform or you need to buy tools you might be entitled to tax relief, see for more details

Charity Shops and ebay are a good source of second hand clothes.



Depending on the age of your child you might be entitled to free childcare if they are under school age.

For further local information and to help you find local Ofsted-registered provision, click on the district you live in:




You might also be entitled to tax credits:


Some employers have a childcare voucher scheme where the cost of childcare vouchers comes out of your salary before tax is added, saving you money on the amount of tax you pay.

There is a calculator here to work out if you are better off using this scheme or tax credits for your childcare.

When your child starts school, remember you need to think about childcare costs to cover holidays as well as before and after school depending on your working day. You can only use childcare vouchers in Ofsted registered holiday clubs. It can be hard to find holiday clubs, but word of mouth, checking local sports clubs and colleges can help. Generally there are early bird discounts so it is worth booking into clubs early.


Other costs and budgeting

Think about other cost impacts of returning to work.

Buying sandwiches everyday can easily add up to over £700 a year. For example, a homemade tuna sandwich could cost 50p or less, and a shop one anything between £1.50-£3.00, that’s up to 6 times as much. Making a packed lunch will save money but take time.

Having less time can also be more expensive for household meal times. Planning ahead to avoid buying convenience food at local shops can make a big difference to your outgoings. Batch-cooking and freezing some spare portions is one way you can save money with less time.

Use this detailed budget planner to help you work out your additional costs and make sure you will be able to manage.

You can also do a better off calculation – this will help you check that you really will be better off working.

Turn 2 Us have a comprehensive benefits calculator

Search the directory to find local support around managing your money and returning to work.

Plus once you start always check your tax code carefully to make sure you are not paying more tax than you should. Try the Money Saving Expert tax code calculator.



If you are reading this because you are facing redundancy there is helpful and detailed support available from the Money Advice Service.

Advice guide from Citizens Advice also provides useful information about how redundancy pay is calculated, your rights and where to get independent advice about how to manage your redundancy pay

There is further information from the government website is a free legal service for those going through redundancy.  It does however provide links to services that are charged for e.g. private careers counselling services.