Let’s look at some numbers. Yawn, right? But bear with me. This isn’t number crunching for the sake of number crunching.
You’re a salaried office worker making $40,000 per year. In blue-collar speak, this equates to about $19.23 per hour.
You decide to spend $12 going out to lunch one day. Given the above salary, you’re exchanging roughly .624 hours of work for a portobello sandwich and chips. Not totally unreasonable.
But that’s not the whole story. If you’re making $40,000 per year gross, you have to account for taxes and all deductions from your check. After federal taxes, state taxes, social security, and Medicare, you’re really only making about $33,000 a year.
In hypothetical land, you get paid weekly and have to fork over $75 per paycheck for your healthcare premium post-tax.
Your studio apartment is 16 miles away from the office. That means it costs you roughly $4,784 per year for the pleasure of driving to and from your job. (This is based upon the government’s standard mileage rate of 57.5 cents per mile.)
Now, you’ve also been shamed into coming in a half hour early and staying a half hour late each day. So, instead of a standard eight-hour work day, you work nine hours.
It’s actually more than that. You get home and your boss is texting and emailing you. Just to fall asleep at night, you spend time running through all the things you have to do the next day. This takes up about a half hour of your headspace five days a week.
So, now you’re actually working nine-and-a-half hours per day. (You probably skip lunch a lot, too, but we’ll leave that out for now.)
You have a dress code at work, right? You need appropriate clothes. You may pay for dry cleaning. You may pay for haircuts to look presentable on the job. Let’s say this averages out to a cost of about $40 per month.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Run the numbers. You’re really only making about $9.65 per hour.
So, your lunch out represents roughly 1.24 hours of work, because you really only make $23,836 per year and work 47.5 hours per week.
So, you want to buy a $4,000 T.V. Is it worth 414.5 hours of effort (and most likely pain)?
Frugal Tip: Don’t open the oven door to check on your food’s progress. Use the oven light and save some money.