With this saving tip you prevent stupid impulse purchases

Ezra Finch
3 min readApr 8, 2022

Be honest: how many things have you bought in your life that weren’t really worth it? An easy way to prevent large impulse purchases in the future is exactly that: calculate whether that new sweater or that new game is worth it. You do this by calculating how many hours you have to work to pay for your new purchase. Chances are that you can estimate that much better whether you really think it’s worth it.

Calculating how many hours you have to work to pay for something gives you a much better idea of how much something actually costs. It makes you more aware of your spending.

Wait three weeks with major purchases

In any case, it’s a good idea to think twice before throwing something in your basket instead of making impulse purchases. Another frequently heard tip for saving and saving is to wait three weeks with your purchase. See something you do want? Write it down and see if you still want it after three weeks. You will see that you have put most products out of your head after three weeks.

But you can also take it a step more seriously and calculate how many hours you have to work for the purchase. That has the same effect: consciously think about whether you really want this product, instead of just throwing it in your basket.

To apply this saving tip for impulse purchases, it is useful to calculate your average hourly wage. If you also have to do that all the way in the store, the step is probably too big and you throw the product in your basket anyway. Once you know your average hourly wage, all you have to do is divide the purchase price by your hourly wage. Et voila, you have to work that many hours to pay for your new sweater (which you don’t actually need anyway).

Calculate your net salary

To calculate your average hourly wage, you will first have to calculate your hours worked per month. Do this for the number of hours you work x 52 (weeks in a year). If you work 40 hours a week, you end up with 2,080 hours a year. If you really want to take it seriously, calculate now how many holiday hours you have per year.

For example, do you have 25 vacation days and do you work eight hours a day? Then you have a total of 200 vacation hours. So you actually work 1,880 hours per year (2,080–200 holiday hours). So per month you arrive at 156.66 hours worked (1,880 divided by 12 months).

There is one last step to arrive at a net hourly wage. Suppose you receive a net amount of EUR 2,500 into your account every month. Your net hourly wage is then: 2,500 divided by the 156.66 hours worked = 15.96.

The next time you are in the (online) store and want to make an impulse purchase of 100 euros, first divide that amount by 15.96. To buy that product you will have to toil for more than six hours. Is that really worth it? Is the answer yes? Go for it . Are you in doubt? Then it is best to postpone the purchase and see if you still feel that way in three weeks.