So I just changed jobs, and I allowed myself to be bargained down from my target salary (a $10,000.00 savings!), which bummed me out for a few weeks. Now, I won't say that they bargained me down without giving me something in return: the commute is shorter, the retirement plan match is much better, there are more vacation days and the job is more interesting. I was able to assign monetary values to most of the new job's advantages, but I had some trouble with how to value a vacation day.
I was pretty sure that a vacation day was worth more than a work day (which would you rather have one of?) but I wasn't sure how much more a vacation day was worth: is a vacation day worth two work days, three, more? After thinking about it for a while I came up with the following valuation: A vacation day is woth however many days you must work to earn one day of vacation. Given this simple formula a vacation day is worth about 20 work days! (if you work in the U.S. and only get 10-20 vacation days per year) Every day of vacation is worth an entire month's salary: that is pretty astonishing!
Anyhow, after adding in the savings on gas (and adjusting for tax-rate), better retirement plan match and the value of the extra vacation days, I'm only down about $2,000.00, which is less than what I spend on lunches (e.g. not enough to worry about).
Which just goes to show that accounting can be your friend.