Time is our most valuable resource. But, we are all guilty of driving out of our way to get gas priced $.02 cheaper, taking on a home improvement project ourselves which end up doubling the time commitment, and going from store to store just to snag a few sale items. We sometimes fail to realize that the time we spend, often unnecessarily, can add up. It is often said that time is money, but how much is your time worth?
How much extra time do you spend finding a marginally better price when shopping around? How much time are you wasting trying to “save” money? The fact is, no matter how much money you have, time is the one thing in life you cannot get back once it’s spent! Maybe it’s time to start looking at how you spend yours.
Would you spend 30 minutes at work just to save the company a few dollars? I don’t think you would!
To understand how much your time is worth, calculate what you are compensated for it every day. Keep in mind that when I say compensated, I don’t just mean monetarily. You can measure how you spend your time as an opportunity cost, the loss or potential gain you get from choosing to do one thing over another.
Think about the time you spend to accomplish something vs. the benefit received for that task. Learning to make smart decisions about how you spend your valuable hours will ultimately allow you to make the most out of each one.
So how much are your precious minutes worth? Let’s say you work 40 hours/week and every two weeks you bring home $1,750 after taxes. This calculates to $21.87/hour. Use your hourly wage as a basis for measuring whether or not something is worth your time. Keep in mind though that if you find yourself with little to no “extra” time at the end of the day, your time may be more valuable than its perceived.
We make decisions every day, sometimes without hesitation, like:
- To order in or cook
- To hire someone to clean, organize, fix things, or do it yourself
- Whether it’ss worth calling customer service to get a small refund
- To take a trip to a store to return something very inexpensive
- To save money for a flight with a layover vs. the cost for a direct flight
I often write about spending wisely, but sometimes saving money is not worth the time spent to do so. Life is about finding a balance between your “To-Do” list and your “Love To-Do” list. These are some of the ways I find balance with how I spend my time.
After I tell you how long it takes to get to my office each morning, you will probably hate me! My 4-minute commute to work is a direct reflection of how much I value my time. I chose to live close to work, avoiding a long commute every morning. I pay a premium to do so, but for me, it is worth every penny.
I’m always eager to master a new skill, but the time spent learning how to fix my computer problem or repair the leaky dishwasher is not worth it for me. It is often best to hire a professional, this way you can spend your time doing something that you love.
I do most of my shopping online to save time, and I still find ways to comparison shop to save money as well. If you want to shop smart, I recommend just Googling the item you are interested in purchasing and going to the shopping tab. This is an excellent way to comparison shop from several online retailers without spending the time from store to store.
Everyone’s situation is different. If you are unemployed or tight on cash, then your number one goal may be to save (or make) money. But if you have a busy schedule or work long hours then your time may be worth more than it seems. Whatever your lifestyle may be, just make sure you value your time as a precious commodity and spend it wisely!
How much is your time worth?