Buying yourself more time… literally!

Time is money, money is timeSome things in life simply don’t make sense – for example I recently read that it’s possible to sail faster than the wind. Think about it: how can you go faster than the thing that’s pushing you without introducing an external force? Yes, it’s possible. Another counterintuition I’ve discovered, this time relevant to everyday life, is that money can buy time.

I was brought up with Asian values, which is to say practicality trumps everything when it comes to finances. A perfect illustration of this is if one of your grandparents overseas died, and you don’t attend the funeral because you can’t get a cheap (discounted) airfare. It’s taken a long time to free myself from that mindset, and longer still to push through to the other side, where spending is considered a pragmatic solution to a problem.

The trick I used is to consider time and effort as “billable work” – this is the same thinking that led to the conclusion in my previous post about how spending less time getting to and from work is equivalent to a pay rise.

Work out what YOU’RE worth
Firstly, what’s your hourly rate? What is your time worth? If you don’t know where to start, then work it out in terms of your current job. What are you worth to them? Then, factor in how much you value your personal time – do you have a hobby or business that you’d rather be doing than work, chores or other distractions? If so try and put a figure against that – how much would somebody need to pay you to pull you away from that activity?

Work out what IT’S worth
Now that you know what you’re worth, you can work out whether it would cost less to get somebody to do something for you than to do it yourself. For example it might make sense for you to get your meals catered instead of cooking it yourself, when you consider the time saved from not having to shop and cook, on top of the money you’re already spending on groceries. Therefore although at face value it might seem like an additional expense, the true benefit lies in how much more free time it gives you to do other productive or enjoyable things.

What are some of the things in your life that would be worth paying for, in order to spend more time on the things you love?

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