Celebrate National Plan For Vacation Day responsibly.
As you sit in your cubicle, staring out the window into the cold, gray, almost-February abyss, you’re probably thinking it’s just another depressing winter Tuesday.
You are sorely mistaken.
January 31 is National Plan For Vacation Day, and as far as made-up holidays go, this sounds like one we can all get behind.
But before you get ahead of yourself and book that pricey villa in Tulum you’ve been eyeing since December, pay heed to one key word here: Plan.
You don’t want to get back from a week of floating in the Caribbean only to drown in credit card debt for the rest of 2017.
Luckily, the responsible savers at Frugal Fringe created a labor cost calculator, so you can figure out exactly how many hours you need to work in order to afford your next getaway.
You can try the calculator for yourself here, but it's not the easiest to use, so let us walk you through it first.
What this calculator lacks in simplicity it makes up for in accuracy. It factors in everything from local taxes to your commute time.
Here’s how to use it.
First, enter your annual gross salary.
That’s your total income before taxes. For the sake of this demonstration, let’s say you’re making $80,000 a year.
Next, find your top marginal federal tax rate.
Taxfoundation.org lists the tax bracket that applies to you based on your income and marital status. Let’s say yours came out to 25 percent.
Now, add your top marginal state and local tax rates.
You can find these rates based on your location here.
Let’s say you live in Brooklyn. You would add the 2017 New York State marginal tax rate with the city tax rate and get a combined 8.875 percent.
Calculate your total hours worked per year.
The average American works 1,790 hours each year. Let's say you're one of them.
Count the number of hours you spend commuting per year.
It takes the average American 26 minutes to commute to work every day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you work five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that comes out to about 216.7 hours.
Depressing, right? No wonder you need a vacation.
Finally, input the total cost of your dream vacation.
You'll need to factor in round-trip flights, hotel stay and spending money for food and drinks, activities, taxis or a car rental and shopping. Let's say your Mexico dreams are cashing in at about $4,000.
You'll need to work 171.59 hours to pay off that trip. If you work eight hour days, that's about three weeks of work for your five-day trip.
That may sound kind of sad, but hey, quit sulking and get back to work. The beach is waiting.