At 7:20pm on 11/23/11 I saw this image on my Facebook news feed from a friend with the following tagline:

“Seriously?! It’s only Wednesday! Lol.”

I wholeheartedly agree. While I love a deal I could never justify getting out 2 days before the deal begins. Chalk it up to the cold weather or just my love for sleep but I just can’t do it. Even up until last year I could justify in my mind getting up a few hours before and heading straight to the store to get one or two major items. This is with the mindset that the item is not a “Door buster” deal since all stores of those so called ‘door busters’ really only ever have one or two on hand. Funny but this year I really started to think about it.

If you think of the time you spend in activities like this in the manner of Opportunity Costs versus the value of a product you are purchasing you would change the way you spent your time and even the things you purchase.

Hourly Wage X Time = Opportunity Costs 

I came up with a simple formula. At least it makes sense for me. If you were to think about how much time you spent waiting on that deal and multiplied it by your average hourly wage (doesn’t matter if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee, everyone has an average hourly wage) you would find out how much in opportunity costs you are losing and what the retail outlet was gaining.

Let’s put this like a high school math problem - For example: Let’s say I wanted to get a television that retailed for $900 at Best Buy and it was on sale on Black Friday for $698. OK then, so I head out at 8pm on Thursday night and the sale begins at 5am. I would essentially be waiting for 9 hours and let’s say I had to wait for about 1hr to get in and out and then another 60 minutes to get to and from home. I have essentially spent a total of 11 hours to get this TV. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the average hourly wage of the US worker is around 13.75 (give or take a few dollars). Hmmm so how much did I save?

The formula: Hourly Wage X Time = Opportunity Costs

Plug it in : 13.75 X  11hrs  = $151.25.  This is the cost in time that I paid to save money on the product that I am camping out for. If that opportunity cost is less than the price difference of the product then it was worth it to camp. But if it is not, I have lost. That $151.25 is cutting it pretty close. Not to mention how much time you have lost with your family. I don’t know about you but I tend to increase the value of my personal time much more than that of my work time. You have to ask yourself… IS IT WORTH IT!

Someone is making money off your time. If it is not you then who? I guess for some people the opportunity cost in this situation outweighs the actual product costs but for me… it doesn’t add up!