A couple of years back I wrote an article comparing the costs of different modes of commute in Edinburgh.
I was recently given a sniff of a rival job with a five figure pay rise, but it would have meant a similar length of time commuting (bike or car) with a far inferior route. I’m one of those annoying people who enjoys their job, but even if I’d been interested, it would actually have been a pay cut in true wage terms. Can you imagine trying to explain that to a recruiter?
The true wage
Take the number of hours in your contract and your salary net of tax and you have your nominal hourly wage – but that’s only half the story.
For a fair comparison you really need to account for the costs associated with a job (having to run two cars for the commute, for instance) and also the time you spend off the clock needs to be added to the hours that you’re chained to the desk (commuting, answering email out of hours, and so on).
The resulting figure is your true hourly wage, and my premise is that if you can get yourself to the point where you have a fun, healthy bike commute without traffic trouble, you can give your true wage a massive boost.
My “motor bloater” persona
In “ how I saved a house deposit cycling to work ” I calculated that the cost of running our actual car was just over £2100 a year. For my current commute of 5500 miles a year, fuel would add another £900 or so, taking us to a nice round £3k if I needed to buy another car so I could drive to work.
If I did drive then a gym membership would be essential. The majority of Scots might be bloaters, but I don’t want to be one of them! The Edinburgh Leisure option doesn’t break the bank at £560pa and is what I used to have.
I’m lucky to have no need for office clothes despite working for a high power multinational and I generally resist the expensive lunch options, so I’m going to be generous and zero those costs off against the clothes and lunch I’d be spending on anyway (even a Greggs and Starbucks add up – £5 each working day is over £1100pa). Childcare would be the other major factor for many readers, but I’m not paying for it, so I won’t include it.