Several years ago, I read a book about personal finances. One of its main ideas was that we should figure the cost of an item not in dollars, but in the number of hours we work to acquire that item. In other words, if something costs $50, and you make $5 an hour, it costs you 10 hours of work to purchase that item. Of course, if you make $25 an hour, it only costs you two hours. It puts things on a rather personal and ACCURATE cost basis. I’ve tended to look at things from that angle ever since.
A case in point was our lunch today. We went to a well-known and popular restaurant that we go to on occasion. The cost there is more than a fast-food joint, so we don’t go there frequently, but ever so often, we like to splurge. Normally, it has cost me about three hours of labor for my wife and I to dine there, and that included the tip. Today, the cost was four hours (again, with the tip), despite getting the same meals that we usually get. I hadn’t looked at the prices when we ordered, so I was a bit surprised, though not shocked.
I realize that prices are going up on EVERYTHING these days, and that the restaurant may have simply adjusted their prices as needed to stay in business. I also realize that their own greed could have played in the higher price to some degree, as well, though it wouldn’t be provable. I know, too, that the rise in poultry prices, due to current disease problems, will cause a rise in other the cost of other meats as consumers switch to those other sources of protein. However, there are other restaurants that haven’t yet raised their prices to that degree.
All in all, I felt that the cost of our meals had exceeded my willingness to pay. I had to pay for today’s meal, of course, but I have a choice to make the next time I feel like dining there. Will we go to a less expensive restaurant, or will we simply choose to eat at home. Since my wife likes a break in the kitchen on weekends, I suspect that I already know the answer, but it’s a decision, nonetheless.
So what would YOU do? Is there a “test” that you use to decide when your willingness to pay has been misused or abused, or that something is simply beyond your means? © 2015