Time vs. Money

Sometimes I experience an an internal conflict. That conflict is one of time or money and it’s a conflict because it’s not always possible to have both. Don’t get me wrong that’s a fact of life but as a result, it’s a constant decision that needs to be made. Which is more important?

I had a bit of a laugh recently when my boyfriend was outraged because he found ham 40 cents cheaper than where he had initially bought his (at a different supermarket). Purely because he decided that if he’s going to buy cheap ham (it’s only for toasted sandwiches) then he thinks he might as well have the cheapest ham. Now whilst I completely understand where he is coming from, I feel there comes a point where the monetary cost saving is not worth the additional time or effort put in in order to save a dollar (or in this case 40 cents).

For my boyfriend to save 40 cents he would have had to spend time going to a different supermarket which may ave involved driving or additional time walking. Now it’s my opinion that a small saving of this kind is not always worth the extra effort. The reason for this is that just like money, time is a finite resource and should be managed carefully. How much of my time would 40 cents be worth if say I had to spend an extra fifteen minutes out of my day travelling or searching in order to make that saving? If it’s less than five minutes? hmm debatable. I can think of better ways to spend five minutes especially if I’m busy.

If however I was looking at a saving of say $10 then the additional time might be worth considering as being worth the sacrifice. I find it’s all about knowing what your personal limits are and whats important to you. Previously I have discussed value for money in terms of buying items that are of good quality and will last a long time. But here, I discuss value in terms of how much time am I getting for my money? A saving of 40 cents is not worth the extra drive to another supermarket. I consider that a bad return on my valuable time.

Many years ago, my Granddad travelled to Hong Kong with my Gran and both my parents.  My Granddad was frugal to say the least and on this particular occasion he was looking for a custom made suit. Now he visited what must have been every tailor on the island in order to find the best deal and save every dollar he could. There was a tailor just down the road from their hotel who offered him a bargain suit that was everything he wanted. However, there was also tailor all the way across the other side of the island who offered him a slightly cheaper deal (which he took). In the end, it cost him more to travel there than the saving he made. He ended up worse off simply because of the travelling costs he didn’t factor in. That is a valuable life lesson right there.

How do you evaluate choices between time and money?