Should You Spend Your Money or Your Time?

We’ve all heard that time is money. It can mean various things to various people.

  • Over time, if you save and invest, you will have more money.
  • If you waste time, the money you earn will be less.
  • The clock is ticking, and every moment you aren’t earning is money lost. Every moment you aren’t enjoying life is life forever lost.

If we spend our time instead of our money, we miss other opportunities. If we spend our money instead of our time, we lose the money.

When we first start out in life, we often don’t have a lot of money and don’t have much choice other than to spend the time. After we have been at it for a while, however, we often do have a choice. We can decide when we want to do something ourselves and when we want to spend the money to hire someone.

But how do people decide whether to spend money or time?

Spend time when you don’t have the money

It is a pretty easy choice if you don’t have the money. Either you do without or you do it yourself. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to be forced to try new tasks. You may find that you actually enjoy whatever it is you feel you have to get done. There are so many resources available now that make it easy to figure out how to do things: You Tube videos abound with people showing you how to do everything from sewing a seam to building a house; Internet searches yield many options on things others have tried and used to get a job done; and of course, the library and mentors are also available to assist.

Spend time when you want to learn a new skill or have a new experience

People are curious. We like to explore and try new things — just to see if we can. You don’t have to limit yourself to trying new fun things like skydiving or surfing; you can find satisfaction in learning how to change a toilet flapper valve or refinishing a piece of furniture.

I think we are the sum of our biology and our experiences in life. Learning new things adds to our individuality and uniqueness (and sometimes our resume).

Spend time when you want to teach someone else a new skill

This one is especially true with your children or grandchildren. Teaching someone else a skill or concept can be very enriching for both of you. You get the thrill of seeing someone else benefit from your knowledge and experience as well as the joy of building a deeper relationship. They get the benefit of a hands-on mentor, showing and telling them how to do something and guiding them step by step to independently performing the task.

Spend time when you enjoy doing the thing in question

Why pay someone else to do the things you enjoy? Life should be filled with enjoyable experiences and many of the things we need to do will fit that category. If you enjoy the outdoors and like exercise, perhaps you should cut your own lawn or do your own gardening. If you like puzzles, fixing a broken item may be a nice little puzzle for you to solve.

Spend money when it is more profitable for you to do something other than the task at hand

Business 101 advice is to hire someone to do the things that you don’t do well and that take your time away from more productive tasks (when your business reaches the point where you can afford to do so). The same can apply to your personal life: If your life experience benefits more from running the local charity drive, then go ahead and free up your time to do so by hiring a house cleaner or lawn service.

Spend money when you don’t have the expertise and aren’t interested to acquire it

Some things just never appeal to us. We avoid trying to learn about them. If you have the money and are presented with such a task, consider delegating it to someone for pay. I’ve never been very interested in learning how to work on a car engine or install new shocks and the like. I don’t really want the expertise. I can’t imagine needing it very frequently, and it would take me a long time to learn. Since I have the money, I farm out that kind of work to others that are trained for it.

Spend money if safety is an issue if you did the task

I would not cut down a large tree close to my house. Climbing up to chop off the limbs would be dangerous for both me and my house. I would not represent myself in a lawsuit. Doing so could be dangerous to my money and my freedom.

How do you decide when to hire it out to get it done and when to do it yourself?

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