We’ve all heard the phrase “time is money” — but have you really stopped to think about how true that is?
Most of us want to be more frugal in order to save money for a big goal…to pay down our debt…to maybe some day quit our day jobs and start out own businesses. And those are all worthy reasons. But one thing that can be particularly motivating is to realise how much of your actual life you need to trade for every quid you spend.
You’re Not Just Spending Money; You’re Spending Your Time
Think about it: Say you make £10 per hour. So for every £10 you spend, you will need to work for one hour in order to earn the money to buy that item or service. If the home stereo system you want costs £500, that means you’ll have to work 50 hours to earn the money to enjoy your movies in all their high-def, surround-sound glory.
If you’re a huge movie buff and that’s your absolute favourite pastime, then maybe that time tradeoff is worth it for you. But if you’re not — if you’re just hankering after that system because the Joneses recently got one — you may want to reconsider whether it’s worth spending 50 hours of your life at work to get it.
It makes you look at purchases with a bit more caution, doesn’t it?
An hour of your workday each week could equal stopping at Starbucks every morning for a cup of coffee you could just as easily make at home…or it could equal a nice, inexpensive lunch with your spouse on the weekend. Two hours could mean getting a custom-designed iPhone case instead of the basic, utilitarian solid-colored one…or they could mean a week’s worth of groceries.
It’s all about what you value the most — what things you’re willing to literally give up hours of your life for, and which ones just aren’t worth it when seen from that perspective.
And Then We Get Into Credit…
When payment plans and charge cards come into the equation, things get even worse for you time-wise.
Suddenly, now that you’re only making minimum payments and you’ve got interest to pay off as well, those 50 hours of your life could balloon into 100, 200, or even 300 hours quicker than you could ever realise. Now you find yourself still working years down the road to pay off a system that broke or became obsolete a long time ago — a system you may no longer even be using.
As soon as you start using credit, you’re dedicating yourself to additional hours of your life spent at work. So you’d better really want whatever it is that you’re charging, because unless it’s something you desperately need but just can’t afford right now (like your oven is broken and you need to feed your family), chances are it won’t be worth the extra cost to you in terms of time.