Financial Independence

This Time Currency Calculator Shows You the Cost of Items in Dollars and Time

One of my earliest money lessons came while I was sitting in a K-Mart cafeteria. I was 16 years old and was on a lunch break, eating something I’d just bought from the in-store restaurant. At the time I was making $4.25 per hour, which was minimum wage at that time.

Whatever I’d bought for lunch must have cost about $4.25 because I had thought ‘I just traded an hour of my life for this food.’  I wasn’t upset or bothered. It was just an interesting factoid. But the idea of looking at the cost of an item in terms of time has always stuck with me.

And now I’ve turned that idea into a time currency calculator.

Time Currency Calculator

Time Currency Calculator

This calculator is pretty straightforward. Just enter the cost of an item and your hourly rate OR your salary.

To give you a more accurate number, we’re calculating this using after tax dollars. The average paycheck in the U.S. has about 20% withheld for things like federal and state taxes, social security and medicare, so we’re using 20% as the default number here, but you can adjust this number to match your situation.

Time Currency Calculator

How much will that purchase *really* cost you?


Input either your hourly wage or your annual salary



How Much Is Your Time Really Worth?

It’s a simple tool, but can have a profound impact. Understanding the cost of an item in terms of time has a way of making things seem very expensive.

Hopefully looking at your purchases in terms of money AND time will help you make more informed decisions.

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

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