This Calculator Shows An Item’s Cost Based On Hours Of Work

Are those new shoes worth 27 hours of your time?

Spending money today is too easy—swipe, click, tap. One step easy peasy, right? But, easy go isn’t exactly easy come. When you really stop and think about each of those swipes, clicks and taps as seconds, minutes and hours spent at a job, it takes on a whole new meaning.

That’s the idea behind the Labor Cost Calculator. Every time you make a purchase, you are trading your time and labor for things. The guys at the personal finance site Frugal Fringe wanted to calculate exactly how many hours of work it takes to make every big purchase.

If you knew that new big screen television for this weekend’s Super Bowl party would require 87 hours of real, actual work (aka, more than two weeks), would you still want it? Like this impulse purchase flowchart, part of the appeal of the Labor Cost Calculator is: The more you can mull over making a purchase, the better.

The handy calculator not only takes into account your salary, but also your tax rate and hours spent commuting. So, you’ll need to do your homework before you begin inputting.

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Frugal Fringe

This might seem like a lot of work for everyday expenses, and it is. But this calculator is definitely a handy tool for any big purchase like a car.

This seemingly revolutionary idea of calculating an item’s worth in hours spent earning it isn’t new—but it is easily forgotten in the age of plastic.

Henry David Thoreau wrote “Walden” in 1854, and in it reveals this idea of the true cost of goods.

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run,” he writes.

I’m not sure if this is inspiring or depressing, but definitely worth some thought. Knowing how many articles I need to write to buy a pair of the hottest spring booties is truly valuable. That’s a whole lot of words and hours to wear on my feet.

When on the fence, a tool like this could really help make those big purchase decisions.



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