Do This To Get The Most Value From Your Money
The Most Important Thing Money Can Buy
As a society, we tend to see money as a way to buy things, experiences or services. Having more money means that we can buy more or buy better. You can buy a house, a car, a fancy vacation or a pay someone to take care of your cooking and cleaning. Also, since money is easily measurable, we also see it as a way to compare ourselves to others. If I have more money than you, I might think that I am smarter, more talented or harder working. When you really think about it, it’s fascinating how money has become such an intricate part of our daily lives. It is something that many people revolve their lives around while working for it, spending it, giving it away or using it to influence others.
When it comes down to it, money really isn’t all that important (I know, probably not something I should be saying while writing a blog about money). What is really important, are the things that money allows us to do. Having money allows us to pursue our passions, take care of people we love or travel the world. Having money may allow you to stop living paycheck to paycheck so that you and your family can feel secure about the future. In essence, money gives us freedom to use our time as we please and not have to trade our time for more money. So beyond the necessities of food, clothing and shelter, money is just used to enjoy how we spend our time.
During our lives, each of us is only given so many hours to spend on this planet. Our time here, however many hours that may be, is the only true non-renewable resources we have. Money can buy you many material items and comforts, but time is the most important thing money can buy.
What It Means To Buy More Time
Think of how you would prefer to spend your time. Would you like to be sleeping in an extra hour or two? Or being able to go spend an hour at the gym everyday without feeling pressured to accomplish other tasks? Maybe you would just like to feel that you could relax and enjoy life without having to rush around. You may think it is great to be making $150k per year working your high-power corporate job, but if you have to spend 80% of your waking hours sitting in an office never seeing the light of day, then is the money really worth it? You are literally trading the hours of your life away for that salary. Maybe it would be more worthwhile to use some of that salary to buy back the hours in your life so you can spend your time on more important things.
There are many decisions we make everyday regarding money that influence how we get to spend our time. Do I take on the extra client at the end of the day, or go meet my friends for dinner? Do I work that overtime shift this weekend so I can make some extra cash, or do I go camping with my friends? If you are making a decision that will cost you time doing what you love in order for you to earn or save money, then you may be trading away some of your precious hours for an unworthy cause. Keep in mind what you would like to be doing with your time before you make that decision.
Try To Use Your Money To Get More Time, Not More Stuff
When making decisions, try to see time as your most important resource, not money. Here are a few examples of how you can use your money to buy more time:
- Avoid long commutes by paying to move or live in a more expensive location
- Ask yourself if the raise/promotion is worth it
- Bargains are not always the best option
Is living an extra hour away from work to save $500/month on mortgage or rent costs worth it? An extra hour away means 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week or 500 hours a year that we will spend commuting. Would living closer and paying more (or just living in a smaller house) be worth getting all of those hours back? Probably, once we factor in the stress reduction and happiness boost from spending more time at home, and maybe even extra time to work on other sources of income (online business, blog, etc).
Instead of spending 3 hours going to 3 different stores to save $50, pay the extra $50 so you can spend the 3 hours hanging out with friends or your kids. Bargains are great if they don’t come with the added cost of lost time.
While taking the promotion and the $10,000 raise will give us more money, we may now have to work 10 more hours a week. That’s an extra 500 hours over the course of a year that we just traded for $10,000! In some cases you may need the money, but often times, it might just be spent on a new car or a more expensive vacation. Figure out what your time is worth per hour ($50,000 salary, 40 hours per week, $25/hour) to see if the raise and time commitment are meeting what you’re worth.
The important thing to keep in mind is that it is not always about the money. We can always get more money, but we can never get more time.
What could more time give you? And how could using your money differently give you more time? Leave a comment or send me an email with your thoughts!