Alternatives,  FIRE,  Life

How Much Is Your Time Worth?

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

What’s up dudes and dudettes! Welcome back to another episode of The Frugal Samurai.

SO GUYS, DRAMA in the TFS household.

Or rather we had a mini bust-up recently with a close family member.

Long story short, it involved some tree trimming, and the question of who is responsible for the leftover rubbish (think branches, leaves, logs… y’know tree stuff).

I’d thought that it was a simple matter for the tradies to take away said rubbish.

HOWEVER, it appeared that this detail was not negotiated in the works – which meant they left a great big mound in the front yard.

A respectable mound, something to write home about.

Just look at that eyesore!

That’s not what caused the drama though, what caused it was these tradies were willing to take it ALL away for a couple of hundred bucks.

Unfortunately a couple of hundred was a couple of hundred more than what the anonymous family member was willing to pay.

Even more unfortunate, was that it was left to yours truly – to handle most of the rubbish.

Because apart from writing witty and delightful finance blogs, I also moonlight as a garbage man.

I serve at the pleasure of the people.

Mind you, I wasn’t smiling when I had to bring the trusty chainsaw out, to cut away the branches, before shovelling them into rubbish bags for disposal.

It’s taking me HOURS, and I’ve barely made a dent in the pile.

“Brrrr Brrrr” goes my life choices.

It’s got me thinking though, how much is my time worth?

Actually, step back a bit.

It’s got me thinking that 10 years ago, I would have made the EXACT same decision.

What? $200!!! This is daylight ROBBERY. PISS OFF ROBIN OF LOCKSLEY I would have yelled (in my head of course, Maori tree-cutters are not to be trifled with).

But these days, I think about time and money very differently.

Say you earn $100k p.a.

A quick Google search shows that is the equivalent of $50 per hour.

So $200 is 4 hours of your time.

If a task can be done in over 4 hours – then it makes sense to pay someone, because it’s not worth your time.

For example, if it takes 5 hours – then you are working for $40/hr.

At 6 hours – $33.33/hr

At 10 hours (which is what I estimate this will take), it’s $20/hr.

The argument of course, is that if you are not doing anything productive with those 10 hours, then sure – why not “save” the $200.

Contemplating life choices.

My counter-argument, and a huge mindset shift for me, is that I could be making infinitely greater returns from those 10 hours, heck even with 4 hours via…

  • Researching shares.
  • Researching property.
  • Researching crypto.
  • Working on the blog.
  • Working on other hustles.

The list is endless. And I haven’t even started on the compounding returns from those 4 hours of learning and/or working.

It’s an interesting thought ain’t it?

I think this microcosm explains the scarcity (resources are finite) vs abundance (resources are infinite) mentality or LeanFIRE (money is to be saved) vs FatFIRE (money is to be earnt) very well.

Or to put it another way, it’s a matter of:

“I can’t afford this” vs “how do I afford this”

“That’s too expensive” vs “How much value does this bring”

“Yeah, I rock as a finance blogger” vs “Man, I suck as a garbage man”

Haha, but tell the truth, let’s face it… I’d be using those 4 hours to play FIFA instead.

But shhhh let’s keep that to ourselves.

What would you do in this case? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. We just then Airtaskered someone to take away the rubbish… for $200…

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6 Comments

  • Steveark

    I went through this analysis when I retired slightly early five years ago. I didn’t need to earn any more money but I did want to consult a little to keep my mind sharp and my business network alive. I decided I ought to charge the same rate I made my last year of my full time career turned into an hourly fee so that it would feel worth my time. That was fine for the high end work I did but it priced me out of the lobbyist market so I came up with a lower hourly rate for that. I think that’s a good way of deciding what you should charge for side gigs, either what you made on your best day in a full time job or what the market will bear. However deciding what is worth subbing out to contractors vs doing it yourself is an entirely different thing. You are trading leisure time for money in that case and the value of your leisure time is totally unrelated to the value of your work time. In this part of the world we’d just throw that pile on a trailer, haul it out to our burning pile and have a bonfire and cook hotdogs over it. Or more likely that’s what my wife would do, I’d help with the hotdogs though.

    • The Frugal Samurai

      Fair call Steve! What kind of work do you consult on btw? Haha I get the leisure time v money argument, unfortunately being closeted millenials, my wife and I would prefer our days smashing avos instead of branches. I do love a good hotdog though…

  • NZ Muse

    that kind of task? yeah, I’d probably pay for someone to do that.

    This reminds me though. My MIL recently moved house and we wound up playing host to a bunch of her rubbish, so we’ve had these black sacks on the lawn for weeks until we finally got rid of them today. My partner is able to dispose of them for free through work, we just had to wait a while. We could have paid to get it carted off earlier, but that was money I wasn’t willing to part with.

    • The Frugal Samurai

      You know that’s the same train of thought our relative had, unfortunately my wife has a MASSIVE phobia of spiders – and there’s plenty of the buggers crawling around. Hence action speaks louder than words! So here we are.

  • Aussie Minimalist Doc

    On the weekend, Mr AMD and I decided to try our luck with selling some of our old electronics at the local pawn shop (instead of donating to the Salvos like we normally do).

    Decluttering old junk and 30 minutes of our time:
    $90

    The exhilaration of haggling the difference of pocket change:
    Priceless.

    Can’t put a price tag on some things Frugal Samurai! 😉

    • The Frugal Samurai

      Hey hey HEY, hold on a minuto. $90 for 30 minutes is $180/hr which equates to… $360k p.a. You guys are my heroes.
      Oh sorry, got so carried away with the first part forgot to read the second. Yes, yes haggle haggle… but c’mon $360k p.a.

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