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The Simple Dollar’s 31 Days of Finance Fixes – Day 4-6

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Yesterday, I completed Stage 1: Figuring Out Your Goals And Values of The Simple Dollar's financial fix plan. Today we'll cover Stage 2: Evaluating Your Situation.

Day 4 (The Simple Dollar's Day 4 Guide)

Finally today we get to math. I like math. So I fired up the Excel spreadsheet (saving a tree). It wasn't too tough to figure out my income. I don't get too many benefits. The only one I can think of is free lunches and dinners (dinners only when I stay late, which is probably about one day a week). Fortunately free lunches add up. Often times, I only need a small dinner after a big lunch, but I don't count this as a benefit. I put this benefit down for about $2,000 or $8 a work day for 250 work days.

The next step is to calculate expenses. As a software engineer at a start-up, there's no wardrobe requirement. I often overdress because that's what I happen to have in my closet. Without child care, meals, office supplies, or gift expenses, all I can come up with driving to work. It's about 22 miles to work, but it's all highway. I calculate that 2 gallons of gas a day (one to work and one home from it), so about $5.30 at current prices in California. That's $1,325 a year for 250 work days. Like Trent, I set the cost for maintenance as half of that gas total. That totals to $1,925 a year.

Next I subtract the two numbers. I'm not going to give the actual number, but I have to say that it's pretty good. Trent claims, "This will be sort of painful", but it's not for my situation. I think I'm just in a good spot in life with a good situation.

Day 5 (The Simple Dollar's Day 5 Guide)

"Yesterday, we calculated the actual cost of our employment over a given year - and were surprised to discover how little it actually is..." Since I'm not surprised to discover how little it is, I'm starting to wonder if I'm really the target audience for this series. I suspect that I'm not, but I'd still think I will learn a thing or two by the end of this series.

This day is pretty straight forward for me. I just need to add up my work days, and the hours I typically work (including commute). I work 240 days and about 10 hours a day for a total of 2400 hours.

Day 6 (The Simple Dollar's Day 6 Guide)

This is probably one of the simplest days from The Simple Dollar. You take Day 4 and divide it by Day 5 yielding how much you make per hour. This is the number that I can use to determine the value of something. If my number is $10 then going out to a nice dinner with my fiancée could cost me a whole day's work. That's very powerful information.  I'll be judging my future purchases  by this metric.

Posted on February 6, 2007.

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7 Responses to “The Simple Dollar’s 31 Days of Finance Fixes – Day 4-6”

  1. Trent says:

    This is really interesting and I’m enjoying the series throughly. I too found the Day 6 metric to be a pretty big shock when I calculated it, and it made me think quite a bit about what I was doing with my money and my time. That put me in a good frame of mind to make other changes.

  2. Not to nit pick, but $100 is barely a nice dinner on the peninsula. The bottle of wine can cost that much.

  3. Lazy Man says:

    I guess your idea of a nice dinner and mine are different. My fiancee and my tastes are pretty meager. A $20-30 bottle of wine is pretty good for us. After that our meals are often $25 a piece and we rarely have room for desert.

    We recently went to Blank Angus, a west coast steakhouse, and got out for around $65. It wasn’t the most romantic of dinners or anything like that, but it was better than Friday’s or Applebee’s.

  4. I totally agree at home, but I don’t know many restaurants with wine less than $30. In fact $2 Chuck is just fine with my wife and I. But then again I don’t usually order wine at the 3 restaurants you mention.

    I think the $100 figure is sans liquor then no problem.

  5. Lazy Man says:

    You’ll have to let me know where you eat. We also like Burlingame’s Il Fornaio. I think that had a $22 bottle of wine or two.

    You’d think that wine would be cheaper so close to wine country.

  6. Tonight I meet some college friends at Nectar Wine Bar in Burlingame and we went to steelhead brewery afterward. Only cost $30. I love when friends with corporate expense accounts come to town.

    Other favorites Roti Indian Bistro in Burlingame, Fish House San Mateo, Three Fish San Mateo, Desert Republic San Mateo and the list goes on….

  7. […] Lazy Man and Money discovered that maybe he wasn’t making as much money as he thought after trying out 31 Days to Fix Your Finances and figuring up his true hourly wage. […]

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