When people go shopping they are easily snared by the allure of product displays or great price discounts. Retailers know how to push the so-called buttons of consumers to make them want to buy products.

Seldom do consumers stop to think of the PAIN LEVELS they impose on themselves whenever they buy wanted items rather than absolutely necessary, needed, items. The massive amounts spent on consumer goods, largely on borrowed time, that is, on credit cards and through bank loans, has branded America as a nation of consumers. American consumers are running out of room to increase their credit limits. Credit cards are maxed out. Americans are stressed out now that they have to pay back everything they borrowed or charged to their credit cards.

If consumer changed their thinking from “What a deal” to “How long and hard do I have to work to be able to pay for this?”, they ‘d be much better off.

This notion of Transformative-Consumerism asks a shopper, a consumer, to stop and think before making a purchase. It imposes a penalty on the selling price to adjust it upwards to account for “Before Tax-Before Deductions” hours worked.

Since the amounts will vary by state, we have room enough to use only one state as our example. Let’s use the state of Minnesota for our computations to help demonstrate how Transformative-Consumerism works. Let’s assume a job pays $50,000 annually before exemptions, taxes, Medicare, and pension contributions. On an hourly basis, that works out to $25.81 hourly. After all those deductions and adjustments, though, the worker takes home only $19.25 per hour. Let’s keep it simple and say $20 per hour.

Transformative-Consumerism, requires the consumer to think in terms of “hours worked” to pay for the item. The computation is not meant to be scientifically precise. So, approximations are adequate. In the end, the transformation for consumers occurs when they are shocked by how hard and long they must work to be able to pay for an item, especially if the item is not absolutely essential.

For someone living in Minnesota, a TV on sale is no deal at all, when transformed into hours required to be shackled to the office desk or to the assembly line:

SALE PRICE: TV on sale for $900, regularly $1,895. Sounds like a great deal.

TRANSFORMATIVE THINKING: If the buyer is paying in cash, that $900 TV would require $900 / $20 per hour = 45 HOURS of hard work. Is that “deal” really such a deal after all?  It’s worse if that TV is bought with a credit card. For credit card purchases we add ½ as our round up factor. [($900/2) + $900] = [$450 +$900] = $1,350 as our more realistic cost. How long would that person have to work to earn enough money to pay for that purchase? $1,350 / $20 = 68 HOURS. A TV on sale and then purchased by credit card enslaves a worker for almost 2 weeks of hard work to eventually pay for it.

MAKING TRANSFORMATIVE-CONSUMERISM EASY TO CALCULATE:

  1. Because so much is purchased on credit these days, I suggest to people to simply add half to the purchase price. If something costs $500 add an additional half of that, so $250, to equal $750.
  2. Know what you are earning per hour of work, after all deductions and adjustments. So, know what your “take-home” pay is per hour. If you earn $50,000 per year, it’ll be approximately $20. Close enough to help put your head into the real game of consumerism.
  3. Simply divide step 1 by step 2 to determine how many hours you will be enslaved by your decision today to purchase that product.

PENSIONERS Must Think In Terms of DAYS’ Income Spending.

Pensioners need not convert everything back to “gross” earnings since they are solely living on after-tax dollars from their pension checks.  A pensioner may receive a monthly check of $4,000, if he or she is very fortunate. Usually tax has already been deducted. Assuming a 30 day month, that would represent $4,000 / 30 days = $135 per day.
  • If paying cash, simply divide the purchase cost of an item by $135. Even better is to round that daily number down to allow for even more fiscal conservatism.  So, instead of computing using $135, in this instance, use the number of $100 per day. An item that costs $500, for example, would “destroy” approximately $500 / $100 = 5 days worth of pension income. Will that leave enough money for food, living and other medical expenses for the rest of the month?
  • If a pensioner is paying on credit card, add approx. 30% to cover interest rates and the damage done by compounding of the purchase price on credit. That $500 item,  then,  gets calculated as $500 + 1/3 more =  $666.  Not a very nice number. An item that costs $666 would “destroy” approximately $666 / $100 = 7 days of money that could otherwise be directed by the pensioner towards cost of housing, food, medications, etc.

When shopping, learn to convert potential purchases into mandatory hours of hard work, or days of sacrifice. Transformative Consumerism requires you to pause to momentarily think about how many extra hours of work, or how many days you will deprive yourself of other needed items, in order for you to make that momentarily delightful purchase.