How do you measure the power of money?

I had this friend who measured time in cigarettes. Whenever I asked him how far something was, he’d always come back with the number of cigarettes he could smoke in the time it would take to get there :) So if we were hitting up this bar down the street, say 10 blocks away, instead of just saying so he’d tell me it was “2 cigs” away. Haha…I guess for him this just made more sense.

The same can go for understanding amounts of money too. I like to measure smaller amounts in the number of lottery tickets it could buy ;) To me, that’s a great way to spend $1 and it’s easy for me to comprehend (in high school, it was double cheeseburgers off the $1 menu!). For larger amounts – $100 and up – I tend to use Air Jordans or whatever else I’m interested in at the time. It doesn’t matter what you use really, just that it puts things into better perspective for you – we’re all going to differ.

Knowing what $XX can buy is very important – money is some powerful stuff! If you don’t think about what it’s really “worth,” you could blow through it a helluva lot faster (like all those times we drop $10 or $20 bucks on God knows what). And you know what? It helps with motivation too! Similar to my “I can’t afford that” post yesterday, knowing that you can buy X or Y or even Z all with $10 is a very cool thing. The dollar is almighty!

Appreciate the power of money, and keep those valuations of yours on tap . The more we understand how far the dollar can go, the easier it will be to make decisions and stick to our goals :) I don’t turn down all those cab rides for nothing, baby! For every 6 I pass on, I can get a whole share of Berkshire Hathaway’s Class B stock! Haha…and that’s freakin’ awesome.

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  1. Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom February 24, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    How right you are. Have your friend thought about how much money he can save by not smoking? Depending on how much he smokes but if the average smoker stopped smoking and invested the money instead, he/she will probably have a healthy retirement acct.

  2. Indian Thoughts February 24, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    and it will serve one more purpose, down the line you will knwo effect of inflation on money. Then you can talk like, way back in 2010 one dollar could buy this and now I need 5 dollars for same. :)

  3. Jim Juber February 24, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    You want to know how I measure money? It goes back to when I was a kid in the mid to late 80's. I remember hearing grown folks talking about jobs that paid $15/hr. $15/hr, which roughly translates into 30k/yr, was the measuring stick of what was considered a really, really good paying job. That was my measure stick for many years. Even when I graduated from college in 1998, I wanted to at least make 30k at my first job.

    Today, I think the new number is 20/hr starting out with the ability to reach 25/hr in a couple of years. Most of my friends who did not go to college seem to talk about these numbers.

    I know, slightly off topic, but that was my measure stick for money.

  4. Evan February 24, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    This is the reason I actually don't under currency translations.

    My unit of measurement is usually beer because I can price it pretty well. So if $5 buys a beer in NYC (maybe lol), what does that mean with the dollar equals X Euros. Can I still buy that beer?

    I am even confusing myself, so I hope I explained that well.

  5. Investing Newbie February 24, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    $5 draft beer Evan! Once you get into that bottled stuff, you are talking about $6 and up. And that's during Happy Hours.

    I don't think I "price" money in any other currency than the dollar itself. I would like to say I think of how many Chipotle burritos I can get, but no, I think of how $8 is best invested in one delish burrito. Hmm, maybe I need something cooler than the dollar. I'll get back to you on that!

  6. J. Money February 24, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    @Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom – Haha, indeed. If only it were easy to quit ;)
    @Indian Thoughts – I like the way you think! Like back when gas was only 87 cents! I'd literally have a half-tank for only $5 bucks…incredible.
    @Jim Juber – Perfect! For some reason I have a very hard time determining how much I make an hour at each salaried position, so I can def. appreciate how you can do that :) Thx for sharing man.
    @Evan – In Euros, you can't even by the bottle it comes in! haha….but yeah, I totally get what you're saying. I do the same when I'm overseas.
    @Investing Newbie – Hey, whatever works :) Mad respect to those who have a firm understanding.

  7. Stella February 24, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    I was just talking about this to a co-worker! We were talking about a designer's new fashion line and she declared she'd never spend $500 for a dress. "That's like half a month's rent or two car payments!" was her rationale. It really makes you look at things a bit differently when you measure them that way…

  8. me in millions February 24, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    @Investing Newbie, I like to measure my expenses in Chipotle burritos as well. As in, that jacket would cost X burritos. Is it worth it?

    PS Smoking causes cancer.

  9. J. Money February 24, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    @Stella – Yeah, that's a popular one :) Whenever I see a Bentley or Royce I usually say – "Hey, I could sleep in that!" haha…
    @me in millions – PPS: Watching Twilight causes making out.

  10. Bucksome Boomer February 27, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    I can't get past your friend measuring time by cigarettes to think about how to measure the power of money.

    Not enough people smoke here in California (it's practically illegal) for that comparison to work.

  11. J. Money February 27, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    really? i thought people loved smoking out there? although it has been a while since i last visited…i'll be in San Fran in a cple weeks though!!! if you live close by give me a holler and i'll buy ou a drink :)