Time is NOT money–at least, not yours
March 06th, 2005 - 14 Comments
I’m tired of people saying “time is money.” No, it’s not–especially not yours.
“Time is money” is a great excuse we use to pay more than we should. We justify paying extra for things like 2-day shipping, 1-hour photos, and taking cabs when we should just walk.
Thinking our time is money is really popular in America. It’s also dumb. There’s a fatal flaw people make when they say this: It assumes you’re earning money ALL THE TIME. That simply isn’t true. If you say “it’s worth my time to pay $50 to have the flowers delivered,” you probably haven’t figured out exactly how much all your time is worth.
A good way of figuring this out is to actually calculate how much your paid time is worth. What do you make per week? Divide that by the number of hours you work and BAM, there’s the amount your paid time is worth. But then compare that to your total time in a week and see how the numbers come out. For example…
If you make $800/week (after taxes) and you work 40 hours per week, each paid hour is worth $20 to you. But factor in all the other hours you aren’t paid for (total weekly hours: 168), and you’ll see that $800/168 means each hour of the week is actually only worth about $4.75 to you.
2 things: When you factor in the realization that you’re not always working and being paid, your time isn’t really worth that much in financial terms. Second, $20 here and there starts to add up. As a college student or recent college grad, you have more time than money. Would you rather have something tangible like $20 in your pocket, or look back and say “Wow, it was worth it to have that extra 10 minutes?” Just think about how many Cups of Noodles you can get with $20!!
“But Ramit,” you might say, “I value my time over certain things! Why must you come down so hard on me?” Actually, I agree. I’d just rather have you save your money for really important things instead of 2-day shipping. So unless it’s an emergency or something significant, stop paying extra for stupid stuff. And please, stop saying your time is money.
With that said, there are some people whose time is worth more than money. Senior executives and anyone else who works more than 70 hours per week, I’m talking about you. These people literally don’t have any extra time so they have to pay to get normal things done (dishes washed, laundry done, groceries bought, etc) so they can spend time with their family. At that point, it’s a matter of priorities. Also, if you are really old, who knows what might happen tomorrow? I might just pay for someone to do my shopping and laundry if I were an 88-year old grandpa.
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