We’ve all heard it a million times before:
Time is money, people!
In other words, stop wasting time so we can save money.
Yes, it’s true. Time and money are completely intertwined. If you work, you’re paid a certain amount of money based on the time you give to a job. You trade your time for money.
It’s a slippery slope, too. If you trade enough of your time for money, you might not have any time left over for yourself. Soon, you’ll be working to make money so you can buy other people’s time. You might need to buy some time to clean your house, to prepare your meals, even to raise your kids.
That seems kind of backwards, though, doesn’t it? To trade your time for money to then spend the money you earned to buy other people’s time. So they can do the things you no longer have time for.
But, you say, I also work to buy things. Things like food and shelter. Things like a car to get to work, nice work clothes, or dinners out. Things like the newest iProduct or a designer bag.
Yes, some of these things are important, too. But are they more important than your time?
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Which is More Important?
The implication of saying “time is money” is clear: that money is the more precious of the two resources; that money is what we need to be worried about saving.
Except money can be replaced.
In our culture, we are used to pursuing money above all else. And a life without money would be very difficult, for sure.
But let’s be real here. If you lose money, one day you’ll make some more.
Your time, however, is irreplaceable. Once it is gone, it’s gone for good.
Money is Time
The most limited resource you have is your time.
So, say it with me:
Money is time, people!
In other words: Stop wasting your money so you can have more time.
More time to raise your kids. More time to travel. More time to pursue your hobbies. More time to live your life as you want to live it.
Money is a physical representation of the time you’ve spent at your job.
Let’s Do Some Math
Those of you who have been around a while know I can’t write a post without throwing some numbers in.
So, let’s say you make $20 per hour and work a 40-hour work week. You earn $800/week. You might then think that $200 purse you’ve had your eye on means you’ve had to work 10 hours to get it.
But, it doesn’t exactly work this way. If you work 40 hours and earn $800, after taxes and other deductions you take home more like $600.
There are other hidden financial cost of having a job. You need nice clothes, gas for the car, maybe even a second car payment. You need to factor in the cups of coffee you buy on the way to work, your lunches out, and the dinners you pick up on the way home because you’re too tired to cook. Also, add in what you spend to buy time from other people: People who mow your lawn, care for your kids, clean your house. If you average just $100/week on these items, your take home pay just became $500.
And you didn’t just work 40 hours to earn that money. You need to factor in the time you spend commuting, checking your e-mail off-hours, planning for the next day. Add in any time you spend thinking about your job when you’re not there. Your 40 hour work week just became a 55 hour week. Your $20/hour just became $9.09/hour.
A $200 purse really costs you 22 hours at your job. The latest iPhone? 85 hours – more than two weeks of your life.
I highly recommend the book Your Money or Your Life if you want to explore this concept more and learn how to calculate your true hourly wage.
Next time you find yourself reaching to mindlessly buy something, think: money is time.
Is this purchase worth my time? Is this item I’m going to buy worth so many hours of my life?
Are all these purchases together worth the freedom to do what I choose with my days, to watch my children grow, to see the world?
Only you can make that choice.
Choose wisely – before your time is up.