Posted May 18, 2011 by admin in Lifestyle

Time vs. Money


These days there is nothing more valuable to me than time. As a parent of two young children, I am run ragged most days and only manage to stay standing until bedtime thanks to a constant flow of coffee. Even when I do sit down to take a much-needed breather, there are at least 25 other things I could (and some might argue should) be doing instead. I don’t even want to think about what my “free” time will be whittled down to once both my kids are in school with homework and their own agenda of activities!

In our DINK (“double income, no kids”) days, there were many things we chose to do ourselves in order to save money. Now, we budget around chores and tasks that we prefer to pay other people to do for us. For example, we pay to have our snow cleared throughout the winter. Otherwise, shoveling snow would plunder a good 2 hours of our time every evening, only to endure back-breaking work in the freezing cold. I can think of 701 things I would rather do at the end of a long day.

For years Father Miser criticized the idea of paying $10 to get our car washed. Not only, would he argue, was the quality of service poor, but it was something he could happily do himself. Nowadays, he would rather spend two hours playing with the kids than washing the car and therefore pays to get it done – or, tolerates a dirty car.

It basically comes down to how you value your time. Is your time worth $10, $20, $50, $100 per hour? If you break it down that way, it’s often easier to justify the expense. For example, a friend of mine spends $75 to have her entire house cleaned in 4 hours. That translates to her time being worth more than $25 per hour.  That one service also means there is potentially 10 more things being crossed off her to-do list in the same time slot – brilliant!

Having said all this, unless you have a small fortune (in which case you would not be reading this blog), you must prioritize your spending. So while I am willing to pay to have my driveway cleared, I choose to cook my own meals, clean my own house and do my own laundry. It’s important to adapt your budget to suit your needs and personal preferences.

It’s impossible to do everything. Keeping up with the Joneses eventually makes us all a little mental. It’s impossible to know how much help one person may have, or what other tasks they are neglecting. Do not measure yourself against someone else’s standards.  Do what works for you.

How much is your time worth? What are the services that you pay for to avoid taxing your precious time?