I’ve been on salaries most of my life. It’s only in the last three years I’ve been on an hourly rate of pay. It changes how you look at things.
With a salary, some months are hard work, some months are plain sailing, some months you’re on holiday. The end of month income is the same. So you look at things in shops and think ‘Do I have the money? Yes? I’ll buy it.’
With an hourly rate of pay it’s different. I now think ‘Would I work an hour for a pack of cigarettes? Would I work 3-4 hours if all that was on offer was a good bottle of posh whisky?’ The latter answer is a definite yes. The former is a meh, if it’s not too hard work, maybe.
There was a gadget shop in town having a sale. A vast TV that would, in my little flat, be impossible to see all at once was on ‘special offer’ for £800. I thought, I’ll have to work about 120 hours to pay for it. I don’t want it that much. I don’t want it at all.
Actually I haven’t watched live TV for about 20 years. I might get one for the news one day but really it’s not something I care about. I do get a nice feeling from dropping TV licensing notes unopened into recycling and ignoring them when they call. They have apparently started an investigation into me. Have fun with that, guys. I have no TV and don’t give a shit. I’ll let you know if I start to care.
The hourly rate really does put money into perspective though. It makes you relate purchases to hours spent doing work in a way that a fixed salary doesn’t. It’s a good way of thinking, I believe. It’s still with me even though I have the pension money now and it will stay with me even if I do get back to a salary job. It transcends simple money. It’s a thought process that says ‘How long do I have to work to pay for this thing, and do I want it enough to work that hard?’
Look at it that way and most of the things on sale really aren’t worth your effort.