Young man shopping online


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As the saying goes, time is money. Lest you forget that old American adage while filling an online shopping cart, several popular Chrome extensions will automatically convert prices into the hours of work it would take to cover the cost, based on your hourly or yearly pay.

According to the Time Is Money extension, an iPhone 14 costs over 100 hours of work for an employee who earns the federal minimum wage. Something as frivolous as a toilet bowl light: just over three hours of labor. 

Although tools like Time Is Money have been around for a while — Time Well Spent works well on Amazon — Redditors on r/simpleliving recently highlighted the extension as a way to moderate your online spending.

“It's definitely making me think twice about my spending and the goal is to reduce buying as much as possible this year,” the original poster wrote of the shopping tool.

Other users agreed, with one commenter writing that they also use one of these tools to evaluate how much enjoyment they’ll get out of a product. If it takes three hours to earn enough to buy a product, will it bring at least three hours of enjoyment? Or put differently: How long will it take to “earn” your time back?

Although the origin of the phrase “Time is money” is disputed, most online articles and dictionaries point to an excerpt from Benjamin Franklin’s 1748 book “Advice to a Young Tradesmen.” “Remember that Time is Money,” the beginning of the passage reads. While Franklin was more concerned with the idea of making the most of one’s idle time (and not figuring out how many hours of work it would take to buy an air fryer), frugal shoppers can use the centuries-old phrase to put their spending in perspective.

That shiny new Apple Watch? Maybe it isn't worth 72 hours of your life.

Gallery: The Definitive List of Things You Never Need to Buy

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