Monday, April 22, 2013

Money is Time

Money is Time

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandburg

I do not like the saying, “time is money” because it implies that anytime not earning money is wasted, so I prefer to think of money as a kind of measurement of time that has already been used. I view not spending money as a way to give myself time to do more things that I like to do.

I used to work at a restaurant, where I made around $12.50/hr take-home pay. If I worked 30hrs/week, my typical income was about $1,500/month. The average American spends approximately $300/month on food and eating at restaurants, so in other words, I would have to work 288hrs/year just for food. Most people seem to underestimate how much money they actually spend, but the $300/month food expense seems to be an accurate amount. My goal is to reduce the amount of money I spend on food to just $1/day. I probably will not be able to reach my goal this year, but I will definitely be able to keep the amount to less than $1.64/day or $600/year. I will save $3,000 this year by watching prices, taking advantage of coupons, and growing a garden. Even better than the money saved will be the fact that 240hrs of my time will also be saved. If I continue my project for the next 35 years, I will have saved $105,000 and when measured in time is 8,400hrs or 5.833 years that would have otherwise been spent working at a job (I do realize that I’m over-simplifying for inflation rates and other unforeseeable economic factors).

I know saving a few thousand dollars a year seems like small potatoes or that I’m being a bean counter, but food is one of those expenses that doesn’t have to be so expensive. Someone asked me if all of my saved time will then be used growing a garden. If I spent 240hrs/year gardening, I would have one heck of a garden. My parents bought some pole-bean seeds 35 years ago and have been continuously using the offspring from those seeds every year. Imagine how much that initial investment yielded in savings over several decades. 

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