How long will you have to work to pay for that?
It’s a very simple question, but it’s not one we often give much thought. That’s the kind of thinking (or lack of thinking) that costs us a lot of money and time every year.
Let’s say, for example, that you make $20 an hour and you work 40 hours a week. Now let’s say that you have cable television in your home and it costs you $60 a month. You will need to work 3 hours at your job every month just to watch cable TV. If you have a daily $3 coffee shop habit, you’re going to spend 4.5 hours of your month working to pay for it. Got a $400 per month car payment? You’ll spend one half of a work week just to pay for that. Is it worth it?
Only you can decide if that’s how you want to spend your time. I personally don’t want to work to pay for things like make-up or gum. It’s just not how I want to spend my life. Perhaps you get a great amount of joy from your daily premium cup o’ joe or your favorite television shows.
But if you’re always feeling like a hamster on a wheel that never gets ahead, you may want to start really asking yourself how much you will have to work to pay for the things you are buying.
This is an especially good exercise for all those little wasters of money that crop up. You know what I’m talking about – the $2 bottle of pop you pick up at the gas station when you fill up the car or when you got upsold on a service for just $5 more a month. It’s those little expenditures that really start to add up. We justify them at the time of sale because they are small. We justify them because we’re on autopilot and we’ve done it that way for so long. We forget that our purchases often lead to more purchases and more work to clean, organize and maintain our stuff.
And it works for big purchases like vehicles, homes, or expensive vacations. Just what are you working for?
If you do the math and discover that you’re working too much for far too little, there are a few things you can do about it:
- You can figure out a way to get those things for less (like using coupons, bartering, finding free samples, or buying second hand).
- You can give up those things which aren’t a good use of your time and money. (Simplify. Simplify.)
- You can find ways to bring in more money to pay for the things you want. (But be careful, because this could cost you more time and money).
I’ve been really focused on the idea that less is more this year, and I’ve realized that I am less inclined to spend money on things I don’t really need in order to have more time to enjoy the things I really want to do.
The less stuff I allow into my shopping bag, the more peace I find at home and the more money I keep in my wallet.
Ask yourself what your time is worth and you may come to the same conclusion.