Want to improve your health or personal finances? Convert consumption into labor. What does this mean? It means figuring out how much time it takes to burn off calories from food through physical activity or to work to earn money to pay for something such as new clothing or a big screen TV. Why calculate the time required to burn off calories or earn money for spending? Because it might cause you to think twice about your eating and spending habits. Here’s an example. According to nutrition and health experts, an hour of walking at 3.5 miles per hour will burn about 275 calories. If it takes an hour to work off a slice of apple pie, you might think twice about eating it. At the very least, you might decide to have a smaller portion of pie or not eat all the crust. Or you might decide to have the pie and reduce calories from other foods or beverages. When it comes to balancing eating and exercise, knowledge is power. You can get helpful information from nutrition facts labels on foods, from calorie counter books or from online sources that list the calorie value of foods. Another helpful resource is the calorie burning estimates on exercise equipment such as elliptical trainers and treadmills. On the financial side, there are calculations that can be done to put planned purchases into perspective. Thinking of spending as “consumption,” start by writing down your weekly after-tax income, also known as take-home pay. Divide this number by the number of hours worked, including commuting time, to get the dollar value of an hour worked. For example, \$700 of after-tax (or net) weekly income divided by 50 hours of work and commuting equals a dollar value of \$14 per hour worked. If a big screen television costs \$1,400 with sales tax, it will take 100 hours of work to pay for the television. Like the food example that converts the calories in food to exercise time, you convert the price of something into time spent working to earn the money to pay for it. As a result, you might think twice about making a purchase or look for a less expensive alternative. Ready to get started on the path to good health and increased wealth? Consider converting consumption into labor. For additional information, visit the Colorado State University Extension Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Web site.