Making Money Off Company Time

So last week I was in Chicago for a training conference, learning how to work the $150K instrument my boss bought for me earlier this year.

When I’ve gone on a trip like this before, I’ve gotten reimbursed based on the receipts that I turned in as long as they were under the per diem rate. So if I spent $140 on food, then I got $140 back.

However, at my new University my per diem is just GIVEN to me – no matter how much I spent. So I get $61/day FLAT – no matter how much I spend. So for the 5 days at the conference I get reimbursed 5x$61 – or $305. However, I had to fess up on my form that my lunches were provided, so I will definitely get less than $61/day – probably around $35-45/day.

So let’s “lowball” it at say 5x$35, of $175. Then I get one dinner covered on Sunday night and breakfast on Saturday coming back. I’m guessing I’ll end up getting about $200 food reimbursement.

Oh, by the way, I only spent $125 on food while I was there. So I’ll make at least $50-75 on food reimbursement.

I also get reimbursed 55cents per mile that I drove – and the trip was 490 miles round trip. That’s $269.50 reimbursement for travel. Oh yes, I only spent $43 on gas. So I’ll make around $226 on gas remibursement.

I’ll also get reimbursed for the hotel, but that will be for the exact amount.

My costs:                                             My reimbursement:

Hotel –          $460                                                         $460

Food –           $125                                                       ~$200

Gas-               $43                                                            $269

Boarding-    $140


Total –          $768                                                          $929

Money Made: ~$161

That’s right, I’ll end up making $161 out of this trip when I take the money I’ll get reimbursed and subtract it from the expenses I incurred.

I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the extra money. I’m thinking I’ll put it in the emergency fund or onto the credit card debt. But making some extra cash for doing my job is a pretty nice perk I think. =)

**Also, I just cashed in for $10 at doing surveys. I’m excited – this makes $16.40 that I’ve made from doing surveys in my spare time while watching TV. =D

10 thoughts on “Making Money Off Company Time

  1. I’m not trying to sound judge-y, but that sounds a little unethical to me. I would probably do the same thing in the situation (and I’m sure your colleagues would as well), but it feels like you are taking advantage of company policy. How do you feel about it?

    1. Well, considering this is how reimbursement is for the entirety of the University, I don’t feel bad at all. I came in with my receipts ready to get reimbursed for exactly what I spent and they told me I didn’t need them – so what more can I do at that point?.

      The 55cents per mile on the car is to cover not only gas but also wear and tear since I was using my own vehicle.

      Also, they base their reimbursement schedule on the per diem rates set by the US government for the cost of eating in that specific location.

      So it isn’t unethical since I came in prepared to get reimbursed for exactly what I spent and they told that wasn’t the policy for the University. Thus I’m now excited about the extra money that I’ll be getting.

      I could have been a REAL sleaze ball and not told them that I had lunch provided, since there was no way for them to know that, but I’m generally an ethical person and thus told them this.

  2. Nicely worked out!!

    Of course they have a budget for their reimbursements. Imagine if they didn’t and they reimbursed you back only what you paid for? Some people would rack up much more in food knowing it was on the company dollar.

    1. I’m pretty sure for the per diem that this is exactly the logic. =)

      However, I don’t think they realized that I’m a frugal girl and can’t spend more than $15 per meal even if I tried. However, the professors are also subject to the per diem and MAN would then probably have a hard time spending UNDER the rate since they’re all kinda of used to going out, entertaining, “drinks on me” type attitude. Okay… maybe just a few of them. 😉

  3. My mom works for the BC government and her reimbursements work similarly. The way their system is set up, she also makes money when she drives to conferences and what not.

    I would suggest to put the extra funds into your emergency fund until you have $1000 or so in there, then I would put it towards that c/c debt. Unless of course you have other, more pressing, needs.

    1. Well, I paid for the hotel out of the emergency fund, so once that gets put back (plus another $40 that I “borrowed” for boarding) then I’ll have $1,000.

      My goal for my E-fund is $1,200 this year – which at my rate of savings I’ll get by December 1st – so I’m thinking debt is the right place to put it. I like the idea of getting my E-fund fully funded, but I don’t think it needs to be do ASAP.

      Another idea is just to use this extra money towards Christmas this year. Between that and my Swagbucks money I’ll be able to have a VERY nice Christmas for no cost at all to me.

  4. For several years, my travel expenses were reimbursed too, and I made a lot of money on the mileage (kilometers for us) calculations. It helped with all car related expenses, and I never felt guilty.

    You can also use 50% of the extra money towards one thing, and 50% towards debt. I do that a lot when I’m unsure how to use “windfall” money, that way I don’t feel guilty!

  5. Technically the per mile reimbursement also pays for wear and tear on your car. Things like oil changes, tires, wiper blades, not to mention creeping towards those bigger repairs as you put more miles on it.

    Still, nice job on the food. Assuming you kept breakfast to <$5 a day, they basically allocated you $30 a day for dinner, which is pretty much eating like a queen if you spend it all.

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