If you spend a ton of money at one store, you might want to think about taking a job at that store and using the employee discount to offset your spending. I have a friend who did this when he was remodeling his house. He took a job at a local home improvement store and was able to get his materials at forty percent off. Even though he spent most of his wages at the store, the job allowed him to renovate his home without taking out any loans or raiding his savings account.
Another woman I know makes money in her spare time with her crafting and sewing projects. She decided to take a part time job at a craft store so she could get her materials at a discount. This improved the profit margin of her craft venture since she was no longer paying full price for the materials. Any money left over from her job is plowed into her business in other ways.
In addition to the discount, a job at your favorite retailer or working with people who share your interests may reduce your other expenses. For example, the friend who was renovating his home met several skilled people at the home improvement place who were willing to provide some labor for him for free or at reduced rates because he was a friend. The crafty woman met several people who taught her new techniques and gave her ideas for expanding her business.
Even a job at a less specialized retailer can help you save money. Working at Wal-Mart or Target, for example, can save you money on everything from groceries to electronics. Restaurants not only provide discounts, many provide free meals if you’re on shift and some will let employees take home the leftover food or produce that can’t be saved at the end of the day. If you like what they serve, you can cut your grocery bill. If you have a family to feed and clothe, these savings can add up. Some stores, such as Disney, provide other perks like theme park tickets. If you’re planning a trip, that can save you a fortune.
Here are some things to consider if you want to take a job for the discount:
You’re most likely not going to make enough to live on: Taking a job for the discount works best if you have another source of income, say from a spouse, another job, or a business you run. Most part time retail (and many full time) jobs don’t pay enough to live on, even with the discount.
Consider what might eat up your savings: Is the commute long? Do you have to buy special clothes? Will you have to get childcare? A twenty percent discount on merchandise may not save you much if you’re driving an hour each way to get to the job or if you’re having to pay for daycare every day.
Are you disciplined? I know too many people who took retail jobs for the discount to help their families budgets and then proceeded to blow all of their wages and then some on stuff that they didn’t need. They loaded their houses with knick-knacks, Beanie Babies, and all sorts of things other than what they needed and took the job for in the first place. You have to be disciplined enough to buy what you need and can use and leave the rest.
Make sure the discount is enough: Some employers give as little as five percent. Others give as much as fifty percent. Five percent might not make the job worth it to you, but twenty might. If the discount is a make or break factor, know what you’ll get before you accept the job.
Think about what other benefits you might get: Will you meet people who share your interests? Can you further a business you own? Will you meet possible contacts? Can you find people who can help you with a project? Those things aren’t money, but they are perks that can save you money in unexpected ways.
Will you be paid enough to make it worthwhile? It’s rare that the discount will save you enough to make the job worthwhile on its own. Will you be paid enough otherwise to make it worth your time and sweat? If the pay isn’t enough, you have to ask yourself if the discount it really worth it.
Will you enjoy the work? If you’re not going to enjoy the work, don’t bother to take the job. You’ll likely end up quitting before you get to use any of your perks and that will leave a bad mark on your resume. There’s a big difference between shopping or eating somewhere and working there. Make sure you will enjoy the work.
Taking a job for the employee discount can save you some money. If it pays well, you may also make a little money, too, above what you plow back into the store. It’s hard work but if you find yourself spending all of your money at one retailer, you might want to consider just working there.