A blog about spending wisely in your twenties, with advice on everything from cooking to saving money on gas; how to teach yourself to save money instead of spending it, traveling without breaking the bank, and much more.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A MacBook Air Is Going to Cost Me Four and Half Months of Wages

I've touched on this before, in my article about spending $37 on a latte, and in my last post; my favorite way to control major impulse purchases is calculating just how many hours I'll have to work to pay for whatever it is I want.

I make $11.75 an hour, which after taxes and deductions is effectively $10.00 an hour. The luxury good that I currently covet the most is the new Star Trek: TNG entire series DVD set, which runs about $300 - $400. Now, I have a deep abiding fangirl love of Star Trek, but I don't love it enough to spend an entire week's wages on owning the entire series, especially since a year's worth of Netflix is $116.28 - a mere day or two of work.

Newly released CDs are about $10 (usually more), and there are very few artists that I love enough to spend an hour and half on. The same goes for DVDs, or video games. A tank of gas for my car is about $40 now. That's a half a day of work, and if that's not incentive to find ways to keep my gas mileage down, I don't know what is.

Even those of us with jobs we enjoy would probably rather have our days to ourselves than a timeclock to punch. When you consider purchases in terms of how many hours you've worked, many of your most coveted items lose their luster, and finding ways to cut down on your absolutely necessary expenses suddenly has a tangible trade off.

So the next time you're in Target/Best Buy/The Apple Store, hell, even Goodwill considering an impulse purchase, think to yourself two things: (1) Do I really need this? Or do I just want it? (2) If I just want it, is it really worth X hours of work?


Anonymous said...

The DVD set for "TNG" has, like, zero bonus features... There... Purchase averted...

klm said...

And, soon enough the TNG set will appear in the usual cheap places for used stuff.