Do you know how much time your stuff costs?

time and money cost of stuff
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Have you ever considered how many hours a week (or month) you have to work to cover your rent or car payment?  Any idea how many cubicle hours you had to put into acquiring the last purse you bought or the shoes you’re wearing?

Here’s some easy math (because that’s the only math I can do).  Let’s say you make 100K per year.  That’s $8,333 per month, $2083 per week, and approximately $52 per hour based on a 40 hour work week (less if you include unpaid overtime and commute time).
stuff costs time

So if you’re making $50 an hour and your car payment is $400 a month, your car is costing you one full day of work per month, not to mention gas, maintenance and insurance (so let’s say, 2 full days).  That might sound reasonable for your car, but what about the purse you bought?  Or the shoes, the massage and the cute, dry-clean only sweater from J Crew?  Was that worth the 2 or 3 days of work?

It might be.

I’m not suggesting you should feel bad about your purchases, I just want you to feel something about them before you make them.  To me, a pair of Lululemon leggings is well worth an hour of work based on my rate, because I wear them constantly, they make me happy, and I’m always dressed appropriately for a hike or a workout.  Some women focus on wearing outfits that transition from day to night, I focus on outfits that transition from work to yoga mat.

It’s all a matter of priorities.

But when I look at this equation, I’m less inclined to order wine with dinner (2 glasses can easily equate to half an hour of work) or a new pair of jeans (<— because #torturetowear)

jeans are prison for your legs

The point is to think about your purchases in the context of how much of your life you need to invest in the process of acquiring them, and then in some cases, the cost to maintain it once you’ve bought it.  It’s an interesting exercise to consider the next time you’re cruising the Banana Republic website for (yet another) pair of ill-fitting dress pants (does anyone else think BR’s pants have gone downhill in the past few years?).

I love thinking about purchasing in the context of time.  It’s a handy framework that forces me to evaluate how important each thing I bring into my life actually is.  That way, I can clearly define whether or not something is a “hell yes”, a “hell no” or maybe a “hell, not right now at the current per hour rate I’m making”.

Consider this another handy tool in your “live your best life” toolbox, particularly if you’re feeling short on time or money to do the things you truly want to do in life.
Now over to you.  Have you ever given thought to the time invested in the things you’ve bought?  This became painfully clear to me when I started giving a bunch of stuff away.  I realized how hard it was to sell my things and in some cases, even give them away.  I had a $120 juicer that I literally couldn’t give away to my friends.  That was just over an hour of work invested into the purchase price, and nobody wanted it?  That was an eye-opener, for sure!

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