How Many Hours Will You Need to Work to Afford That Expensive Thing You Want?

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Whether it’s a new car, a home renovation project, or a European vacation, many of us know the feeling of wanting something we can’t afford. After figuring out how much your dream purchase will cost you, this online calculator will translate that dollar amount into hours spent working.

As Business Insider reports, the calculator requires six numbers from its users: annual gross salary, top marginal federal tax rate, top marginal state and local tax rates, total hours worked per year, total hours spent commuting per year, and the cost of your expenditure.

You may not know all that information off-hand, but luckily there are plenty of resources online to help you figure it out. Annual gross salary should be easy enough to input—it’s your yearly salary before taxes are taken out. Your top marginal federal tax rate can be looked up at based on your income and marital status. Top marginal state and local tax rates vary based on your address, and these can also be found at Add them together to get a single figure.

Next, enter the total number of hours you work per year (the standard for full-time employees is 2087 hours) and your total hours spent traveling to and from work annually (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends 216.7 hours a year commuting).

Before you’re ready to submit, you need to calculate the cost of what it is you're saving up for. With that bit of information, you can enter the data and see what the labor cost calculator comes up with.

Let's say you’re single, live in Brooklyn, get paid $50,000 year, work full-time, and commute an average number of hours. According to the calculator, it would take you 78.79 hours to earn the money you need to take a $1000 vacation.

Being able to translate money into labor hours is a helpful way to look at big expenses. But that’s just one step towards meeting your savings goals—strategies like kicking expensive habits and putting away a certain cut of your paycheck each month can also be useful.

[h/t Business Insider]