8 Incredible Job Perks That Save You Serious Money

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8 Incredible Job Perks That Save You Serious Money

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When my husband received a job offer that included free meals, snacks, and coffee, my brain immediately started calculating how much money we’d save. It took me all of 30 seconds to understand the impact that could have on our budget.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in that thought process. According to Glassdoor, 57 percent of people listed extra perks and benefits as one of their primary considerations when evaluating and accepting an offer.

Even though other companies were offering more take-home pay, this benefit, along with a few others, tipped the scales. We realized this job could help us reach financial goals we’ve been falling behind on in ways we would never have predicted.

Perks like this are becoming more common as companies are getting smarter about what employees want outside of a paycheck. And some of them can seriously boost your bottom line. Below is an analysis of just how valuable certain job perks can be. Take a look to see why an offer might earn you a lot more than a paycheck.

8 valuable job perks to look for in your next offer

Here are a few perks you might want to consider the next time you’re looking for a job.

1. Bonuses and stock

This first perk will vary based on your industry and experience level, as well as the type of company you’re joining. And it can add quite a lot to your base salary.

For example, small startups that are slim on cash might offer you stock to make up for a below-market offer. It’s not easy to evaluate this risk, though. After all, how can you tell if a company will be the next Google or Facebook, or the next startup that will dissipate into the abyss? Still, this can sweeten a lackluster offer if you’re excited about the company.

On the other hand, bonuses are cash in your pocket. (Though they are taxed at a rate of 25 percent — unless your pay is more than $1 million, at which point the bonus is subject to a 39.6 percent tax.) They can be used to bridge the gap on a not-quite-there salary.

Bonuses can include signing bonuses, performance bonuses, and even profit-sharing. But not all bonuses are a guarantee. Get what’s being offered in writing so you know for sure what you can count on and what’s conditional.

2. Childcare

Working parents bear a huge financial burden with childcare costs, which is why companies that help out with this can easily edge up against the competition.

So how much can this save you? Here’s the price of childcare on average, as taken from a 2016 report by Child Care Aware. The stats are for children in the toddler age range.

  • The annual cost of center-based care for a four-year-old in the least expensive state (Mississippi) is $3,997.
  • In the most expensive state (Massachusetts), the annual cost is $12,781.
  • That comes out to anywhere from $333 per month to $1,065 per month — for only one child.

Imagine keeping all that cash in your pocket. With companies such as Dow Jones, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential, you can, with on-site childcare for specific locations. These companies even offer subsidized childcare, such as the 20 days of backup care per year offered by Dow Jones.

What’s more, companies are becoming more generous with paid parental leave. Ikea gives employees four months of maternal and paternal leave (whether corporate or retail employees) and American Express gives up to five months. These are just two examples of a growing trend that new parents can capitalize on.

3. Fully paid health insurance

Unless you’re a freelancer, part-timer, or working for a small company, there’s a good chance your employer offers health insurance. But does your employer also pay your premium?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, annual premiums in 2017 are up to $18,764 for employers — with employees paying $5,714 of that. Since some companies will offer you insurance and pay these premiums, that can mean saving an average of about $476 per month. But who offers this generous perk?

CNBC Make It recently listed several of these companies, including Boston Consulting Group, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ZocDoc, and more. I was even lucky enough to have this benefit at one of my first post-college jobs, which bridged the gap on what was a fairly low salary compared to the cost of living in my city.

What’s more, you might find companies also offering wellness benefits in the form of a stipend or reimbursement. How you can use these benefits will depend on your company. Some will cover anything that contributes to your health and well-being, such as off-site fitness classes or even exercise equipment for your home.

4. Free food and reimbursed meals

Did I mention my husband took the offer that came with the free food? It saves us hundreds of dollars per month. But what about you?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on the cost of food in America, and here’s what they found on average.

  • Single individuals spend $4,850 on food each year.
  • Married couples come in at $7,733 per year.
  • Married couples with children spend $10,555 annually.

Here’s how that pans out for a monthly budget.

  • $404 per month for single individuals.
  • $644 per month for married couples.
  • $880 per month for married couples with children.

Assuming that the only person to benefit from the free food at an office is one person, you can estimate a savings of around $404 per month with this perk.

But how to get it? This perk is prevalent among technology companies such as Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, and even less well-known companies such as Yext.

5. Tuition Reimbursement

One of the next most valuable job perks is tuition reimbursement. According to Harvard Business Review, this attractive perk is an effective way to improve a less-than-ideal job offer.

Student loan and tuition assistance also ranked highly on the list of coveted benefits, with just under half of respondents reporting that these bonuses could nudge them toward a lower-paying job.

With the average cost of a college credit at a four-year public university coming in at $333 — and a typical requirement of three credits per course — even getting just one class reimbursed can save you almost $1,000.

In other words, you’re looking at an average of $333 per month saved on a three-month course. And that assumes you’re paying in cash. You can just imagine the real savings if this means taking out fewer student loans, which come stacked with interest charges.

CNBC Make It lists a variety of companies that offer this benefit, from AT&T to Best Buy and more. And, living up to its name, Study.com offers tuition reimbursement as well. Study.com PR employee Chandni Brunamonti says the company provides “free college courses and lifelong learning on the site” to both employees and their families.

6. Student loan repayment

If you already finished college and have no desire to go back, you can still get help with your education costs. That’s because companies are starting to offer student loan repayment. Even Congress is even trying to help along this initiative with tax breaks for such programs.

Although only a handful of companies offer student loan repayment, those that do tend to give the benefit in a lump sum amount at the end of the year (or pay it directly to the student loan servicer). Pricewaterhouse Coopers, for example, gives its employees $1,200 per year, or what amounts to an additional $100 per month toward student loans.

When you consider what that could mean to your overall debt repayment, consider the time this will shave off of your total repayment and the decreased amount of total debt paid. You can try this extra payment student loan calculator to see what this would save you over the life of your loans.

7. Free access to a gym and fitness classes

It’s not easy to stay in shape when working long hours and sitting all day. That could be one reason companies offer free access to gyms and even fitness classes and personal trainers.

Advertising giant Ogilvy has free fitness and nutrition classes, while Reebok employees can take part in the uber-expensive fitness craze Crossfit, which can cost upwards of $150 or more. Many other companies have on-site gyms and even yoga and meditation classes.

If you look at the Bloomberg’s report on the average cost of a gym membership, that’s only a $54 savings per month. But Bloomberg goes on to highlight the cost of a personal trainer on average — $55 per session — and small group training sessions — $35 per class.

If you were to take one such class on your own per week, that’s approximately $274 saved per month.

8. Travel perks

Although many jobs require travel, some companies are starting to offer free travel on your terms as a perk.

Sarah Nelson, customer service manager at Staylisted, was recently gifted an Alaskan cruise as a surprise from her boss. Nelson talks about the impact this has had on her work. “A surprise gesture of appreciation of that magnitude is awe-inspiring and makes it that much more meaningful.”

And it led to some pretty impressive photography, as well. Nelson grabbed the snap below of Tracy’s Arm Fjord while on her all-expenses-paid cruise.

Image credit: Sarah Nelson

Nelson isn’t the only one being offered free travel. Another great example is one offered by design and branding agency thinkPARALLAX.

Besides health insurance, public transportation reimbursement, and a dog-friendly office, the agency also has something called PARALLAXploration, which is a program that gives employees $1,500 per year to travel somewhere and, according to communication strategist Shannon Valdes, “get inspired.”

Additional job perks that can add value to your paycheck

Believe it or not, what’s listed above doesn’t even run the gamut of the types of perks you might see in an offer nowadays. Companies are going so far now as to help you freeze your eggs, pay for an adoption, pay for pet insurance, and more.

It’s important to note that there are other benefits offered, for which you’d need to contribute. Although they require your contribution, they can provide a great deal of value to your overall financial plan. These include health savings accounts (HSA), flexible spending accounts (FSA), and 401(k) and 403(b) plans with an employer match.

HSAs and FSAs can be used to add money from your paycheck (pre-tax) towards a healthcare-focused savings account. This can come in handy when you have to make copays or pay a deductible.

Plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s help you save for retirement out of your pay, also pre-tax. And if you have an employer match, your company will add to what you save. Not contributing from your paycheck the percentage your employer matches would be leaving free money on the table.

Typically, you might see an employer match of approximately four percent of your salary. But credit union USAA blows that average out of the water with its generous eight percent match.

What to do when evaluating offers

Although it’s important to negotiate a salary before taking an offer, you might not be able to negotiate for perks that don’t exist in a company’s plan yet. That said, perks such as these can add a lot of value to an offer if they are on the table.

One thing to remember when evaluating offers is that some perks could sound nice but not add value to your lifestyle, such as tuition benefits after you’ve already taken all the classes you’ll ever want or fitness classes when you prefer to work out at home. Only look at the benefits you know you’ll use to come up with a dollar amount for these perks. Then you can truly understand what kind of value they’ll add to the base salary.

And if you think these perks only come with the latest and greatest technology companies, think again. As large corporations struggle against these companies to attract talent, you might see benefits such as those above popping up in unlikely places.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.

Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.

However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance:
    Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 7.979% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.470% APR to 6.990% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.470% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.30% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.

5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.29%. Variable interest rates range from 2.79%-8.39% (2.79%-8.39% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The cosigner (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a cosigner will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.

2.47% – 6.99%3Undergrad
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2.46% – 6.97%1Undergrad
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2.57% – 8.44%4Undergrad
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3.02% – 6.44%2Undergrad
& Graduate

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2.50% – 7.24%5Undergrad
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2.79% – 8.39%6Undergrad
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