When looking for an employer or while at your current employer there is value spent at looking into your full benefits package. There are the obvious benefits, health insurance, 401(K) matching (which isn’t a benefit unless you take part in it… so get on that if you haven’t!), paid time off, etc. However, there are other benefits that some employers have that may have been mentioned in an interview and you forgot to sign up for, such as discounted gym membership, discounts on computer purchases via the IT department, etc. There are also some unwritten fringe benefits that you can use to your advantage.
Each one of my jobs, and if you have read my blog for a while you know that I currently have four of them, has a unique benefit that I am reluctant to give up. Other than my paychecks, which pay off my standard expenses and investment accounts, I consider these benefits to be a legitimate part of why I do each of these jobs. Each one saves me money or provides with an opportunity. Let me go through each for you.
- My Career: My company is great, it has great people and great benefits. One of those benefits is that I receive SmartBenefits. For those not in DC, this is basically a monthly credit to my Metro card. My commute from home to work costs $9 a day roundtrip. An average month will have about 22 workdays, that is close to $200. Now, the SmartBenefits won’t cover all of that. But I did mention the people at my company for a reason. There are other people at the company that only use 25% of their SmartBenefits (and if you don’t use them, you lose them). A few individuals have offered to switch cards with me from time to time so I can use their benefits up. This is creating maximum utility for all parties involved (I owe the people that have allowed me to use their cards a drink and dinner). I now pay $0 to commute to and from work. Oh, I should mention that the benefits I receive here are pre-tax, please add another 30% to the monthly benefit. Monthly savings: $200 post tax.
- My Concierge Job: This job is customer service based, therefore it offers two unique benefits, networking, and free time. While I have additional tasks, my primary role in this position is to be polite, courteous and friendly with residents in the building. That often times comes with conversation. A lot of resident’s have become friends and some have created networking opportunities. Additionally, when its slow (first thing in the morning) there are no people around, and this provides with me with an opportunity to read, write or do research. I even can do work for my career to get ahead for the next week. Monthly Savings: $0, Return on Investment for my Future: Unknown.
- Dominos Pizza:Another customer service job that offers multiple benefits outside of the paycheck. I have made friends with some of the guys that work with me, and we have a lot of fun when on the clock. It becomes “guy-time” where we talk about sports and a host of other things. The only difference in “guy-time” is that we are holding pizzas instead of beers, and hopping into our car every few minutes. Another benefit, like most retail establishments is the discounts. Yeah, Dominos may not be healthy, but please tell me you wouldn’t eat a large pizza over the course of a weekend if it was only $5. This job keeps my weekend food costs down which can surely be expensive if I ate out a lot. Monthly Savings: Estimated $150.
- Scorekeeping: My last position is as a scorekeeper for the hockey league that I play in. This job is ultra flexible and allows me two great benefits. One, I get to scout a lot of different players throughout the league. This can be valuable information for when I play a specific team, or I could find a guy that may be willing to join my team and improve our roster. Either way, this is a win-win. Also, I don’t get a paycheck here, I get league credit. My league credit is tax-free and allows for me to play hockey for free (which is hard to do in the DC area). Yearly Savings: $1300.
Above are the side-benefits to all of my jobs. Please leave a comment and tell me what the benefits are at your work place that go above and beyond the paycheck?