This Wise Bread article titled What Is Your Time Worth got us thinking about the only real currency everyone deals in – our time.
We spend time to get money and money to get time. It can be a tough equation to work out. While most of us don’t want to invest the time needed to grow an extensive garden to feed our families, we’re happy to put in hours at work to earn money to buy groceries; in effect, we’re working to buy other people’s time. Every transaction we conduct is a measure of someone’s time. One of the most important variables when we’re making decisions about spending our time earning money versus spending our time doing a task is how much we enjoy the task. For people who really enjoy gardening, the decision to invest in a garden and spend less at the grocery store is a no-brainer. Consider which tasks are most unpleasant to you in light of Wise Bread’s breakdown of the value of your time:
One way to do this is to look at how much money you made in the last year. Then, consider any expenses you incurred because of your job, such as childcare, transportation, clothing, etc. Subtract these expenses from your earnings.
Now consider how many hours per day you spend to make this money. While you might only spend seven or eight hours per day at your post, you should also factor in commute time, business travel and dinners, and other time you have to spend because of your job. While you may not be paid during these hours, they aren’t your time to use as you please, so you have to count them.
Finally, take what you earned (minus expenses) and divide it by the number of hours you worked (plus additional time related to your job). This is how much your time is worth per hour, and chances are it’s a whole lot less than you thought you were making. That’s not a bad thing, but it does put the value of your time into perspective. After all, if you’re really only making $9 per hour, the value of doing more things for yourself rather than hiring others becomes more clear. This is especially true if you don’t have the kind of job where you could put in extra hours rather than mowing your lawn.
Would you trade a little extra time at work, or spending the time cooking at home rather than going to a restaurant once a month, in exchange for not having to clean your house? While our paychecks can vary over the years, we all get the same 24 hours in a day, and it’s worthwhile to step back occasionally and consider if we’re spending that time in a way that makes us happy. After all, money comes and goes, but we can never get back our time.
Photo credit: lusi