Have you heard of the corporate executives who earn millions each year? Of course you have. We all have. Occasionally we even have someone tell us what their salaries run per hour. With figures like $1000 an hour to $30,000 an hour being bantered about these days, one should conclude that every minute of every hour adds up when you’re paid well.
What most of us never stop to figure out is that our time, as average wage earners, can be just as valuable to us if looked at properly. We often see our money as the so-called money experts tell us we should be seeing it. But the truth is, taking a look at our nickels and dimes in a different light can bring about great changes in monetary perception, and hopefully real dollar changes in our wallets.
For and example, have you ever thought of how much you earn on an hourly basis when you take five seconds to pick up a dropped coin? OK. Figure that a penny picked up off the floor every five seconds is worth six cents a minute, or $7.20 an hour. Not that much, but more than minimum wage in most states.
Now try it with a nickel and we have $36 an hour, for the five seconds of work to bend over and pick up a coin. Skip up to a quarter and your five seconds is now worth an extrapolated $180 an hour. Not bad for a few seconds of effort. But really, it’s ridiculous to think that we could earn a living picking up loose change, and it’s merely an exercise in thinking about our finances in differently.
Let’s deal with one of the biggest pitfalls and traps that young people fall into when buying goods and services. When a salesman tells them that an added feature to their purchase will only cost about a dollar a day, few consumers will stop to think about the total amount they are dealing with. Okay, that’s a dollar a day, or thirty dollars a month, or $360 a year. And that may not include multiple years (two or more) and any interested compounded for financing the extra features. Depending on the interest rate, an added dollar-a-day feature to a car could easily total several thousand dollars over the life of the loan. The same thinking can be applied to any hard goods or services that have options to purchase.
You say so what! It’s still just a dollar a day. But let’s re-invest that dollar in something else . . . like gasoline for one week every month to get you to and from work. Or an extra $30 a month added to your credit card payment so that it will be paid down in twenty months instead of five or six years. Or a modest, but nice evening out with your significant other. Maybe even movie tickets – with snacks! Do the math, do the math, do the math. And if you feel intimidated doing the math in front of a salesperson, or the salesperson is pressuring you to make an instant decision, (“This deal’s only good today…”) then walk out and make the decision later. Any sales staff using those tactics today will not hesitate to manipulate you in a different manner tomorrow.
Always figure the long-term costs when making a purchase, or the long-tem savings when needing to cut back. For example, look at the cost of magazine subscriptions. Most households have several delivered along with newspapers. If they aren’t being read, then get rid of them. Depending on the publication it could save twenty-five to thirty dollars a year, per magazine. Okay, again, it’s not much unless you apply it to another tank of gas, an evening out, or that water bill that’s overdue. Maybe you’d rather apply your recovered cash toward a nice gift for your spouse or children’s birthday. Play the what-if game with your finances. You’ll be surprised what thoughts come into your head about savings, and financed extras.
And one last thing. Remember the lowly penny we began with? The one that I’ve seen people toss in the trash because they aren’t worth anything? Well, an empty two liter beverage bottle holds about $32 of pennies, or movie tickets and snacks, or a utility payment, or an extra credit card payment, or . . . . . etc. Need I say more? It pays to think outside the box . . . er . . . structured loan.