Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How I $aved Money and Made a little extra Cash this past week

Last week I was paid to eat, lodge and drive anywhere I needed to go. I was on travel with work. ;) A lot of my co-workers complain about losing money while on travel, but, if you play your cards right, you can actually rake in some cash.

For starters, I used a lot less gas in my own vehicle. Because I didn’t drive, that saved $30 this week. Also, my employer pays me the full per diem amount for my meals. Any money that is not spent on food can be pocketed. It isn’t a lot, but it does make the hassle of travel a little less taxing.

I traveled to a mid-sized city where the per diem rate was $44/day. My average daily food expense for the week was no more than $12. So, over the course of 4 days, I will pocket somewhere in the neighborhood of $128.

Obviously, I am trying to keep my meal prices down. Breakfast is typically provided by the hotel and most of my other meals on the road consist of items like the asian chicken salad from McD’s for lunch and then maybe a hamburger or chicken sandwich for dinner.

This is far different from most of my co-workers. For them, dinner is an event. It seems they live to eat and use the per diem meal money to splurge on a much more expensive meal. I might do that occasionally, but it certainly is not the norm.

My total savings (money not spent) for the week $30 + $128 = $158.

Wait. I almost forgot the per diem money is tax free. So, given my most recent effective tax rate of 20%, I would need to make $160 before tax to net the $128 cash. With savings like that, maybe I shouldn't be so relunctant to travel!

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