I don’t know about you, but I normally try to avoid paying tolls whenever I am driving anywhere. The only exception I make is if there is going to be a significant time saving by doing so. So recently my wife and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and to get to the restaurant that we had selected the most obvious route was to cross a toll bridge. We could have gone a different way, but it would have taken us about 20 minutes more and because I value my time, I decided that paying the toll was the best option for us.


Traveling to Work

Because we don’t cross this toll bridge all that often I didn’t bother to look at the prices before we left and was happy enough to pay the toll on the internet once we got home. As it turns out the toll was $4.47 each way. Considering the amount of time that we were going to save by using the bridge, I was OK with spending the money. I did however start to think about all the people who use that toll bridge every single day to get to and from work and if they ever thought about how much money a year it is costing them.

Traveling to work in a car is expensive enough with your fuel, registration and car maintenance costs – but add in tolls and potentially parking and you are starting to lose some serious coin…Whenever I feel like there is a lot of money at stake I often decide to do the math – so I did.

Lets say you have a full time job and use the toll bridge 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year to get to work.

  • 5 x 52 = 260 days
  • 260 days x $4.47 = $1,162.20 (one way)
  • $1,162.20 x 2 = $2,324.40 (both ways)

An incredible $2,324 a year on getting to and from work – that’s a lot of money just to cross some water.


Work Parking

Then I started to think about parking. I am fortunate enough not to have to pay for parking at my workplace, but many people are not that lucky. I took a look at the standard parking rates on the local council website. To my surprise anywhere surrounding the city will cost you between $25 and $60 a day. Lets say that you manage to get one of the cheap street parking spots at $25 a day.

  • 5 x 52 = 260 days
  • 260 days x $25 = $6,500

You would want to be making some good money to be spending $6,500 a year on parking!


Average Australian Wage

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average Australian wage was about $69,000 per annum in 2011. So that means that if you’re Mr. Joe Average and you decide to use the toll bridge and to also park your car on the street,  you are going to be spending $8,824.40 of your after tax dollars in just getting to and from work.

If we take the local Australian tax rates into consideration – Mr Joe Average takes home $55,028 in after tax income a year. He spends $8,824 or 16% of his total wage just being able to get to and from work. Incredible!


Reader Question

Do you think the average person considers how much it will cost to get to and from work? Would you consider it before taking a job somewhere?