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# Life Energy Meter

What that purchase really costs you
 (+3, -6) [vote for, against]

The L.E.M. (Life Energy Meter) helps shoppers to better evaluate purchases by telling them how much a purchase really costs in terms of work, time, or money. If the consumer begins to buy a \$1.40 cup of coffee a LED on the L.E.M. will indicate that \$1.40 adjusted for taxes, social security, withholding, etc. is really more than, say, \$3.00 which would require a certain amount of time spent working.

Credit card purchases would be even more enlightening, as the L.E.M. would show that a \$14 CD would cost close to \$40 when interest is added.

 — lingamish, Jun 30 2006

 //L.E.M. would show that a \$14 CD would cost close to \$40 when interest is added// ..depending on when you paid it off. If your LEM can predict when I'll pay off my credit card bill, don't tell me, I don't want to know. It'll just depress me.

// how much a purchase really costs// ...The environmentalists' approach is the lifecycle assessment (LCA). These figures can vary wildly. But I don't think that's what you meant, is it?
 — moomintroll, Jun 30 2006

 Well, I think we're wanting to know how much it costs a person "personally" in time spent working to pay off that particular item. That's the concept of "Life Energy" which I read about in the book "Your Money or Your Life."

I'm thinking this instrument should be called a "Financial Life Energy Meter" or FLEM. What do you think?
 — lingamish, Jun 30 2006

 How about FLIM-FLAM? //\$1.40 adjusted for taxes, social security, withholding, etc. is really more than, say, \$3.00 // So what if it is? All cash purchases would be scaled up at the same rate, which could be estimated without a meter.

 Besides, it really isn't. I have had low-wage jobs that made me well aware how long I had to work to purchase something, and I seldom adjusted for taxes, social security, or withholding. When I did adjust, I did so by thinking that I could afford something when I got my tax refund.

 A meter/scale for credit card purchases might be impressive, but as has been said, it depends on when you pay it off. I know when I use my credit card that I am going to be paying interest, although some folks don't seem to grasp that.

This idea is for something that isn't really needed, which would be hell to program, and, as described, either operates by magic or would be a nuisance to use. (Or maybe it could be replaced by a paper chart, without all the LEDs.)
 — baconbrain, Jun 30 2006

I don't really want to evaluate my purchases in this way, because I think that a \$3.25 cup of cappuccino is ridiculous anyway and if I knew that it really cost me \$10, I'd think I was a some sort of sick person..... but I buy them anyway.
 — xandram, Jun 30 2006

//So what if it is?// The trouble is we commit a mental error when we look at the price of things because we say, "\$10 for a DVD? That's not so much because I earn X amount per hour." When in fact it costs a lot more to pay for that DVD. Especially costly if it's a lousy movie.
 — lingamish, Jul 04 2006

An electronic calculator? > baked -
 — goatfaceKilla, Jul 06 2006

The flim-flam is the title.
 — ldischler, Jul 07 2006

 It could be a relitively simple device into which you enter your income, tax braket, average time to pay off a credit bill, etc. Certainly neither magic, nor is a calculator compairable. One may as well have said in the 1800s, "A device that can calculate, tabulate, and manage thousands of records? Baked: A secretary. We don't need no steenkin computer." The fact that something may be stretched to make do does not a baked device make.

[Marked for tagline] We don't need no steenkin computer.
 — Voice, Nov 05 2007

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