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Is time more important than money?

There’s nothing that I hate more than traffic. Or waiting in line. Or anything that robs me of my time that could be better spent with family and friends. To me, especially now, with a child of my own, I’ve realized how much little time I have and to me, having time is more important than money. Much more important.

Money can come into and out of your hands at any time. With time, once it’s spent, there’s no getting it back. But sometimes spending extra time can actually save or make you money. In the case of investing, time is often your best friend. And oftentimes we make decisions between the two – can I make/do this myself, or should I pay someone else to do the work for me?

But it’s not always about money. There are lots of sites that will calculate and attach a monetary value to your time – what you’re supposedly wasting in dollars every hour. I mean, sure you can calculate per minute how much money and time the millionaire next door is supposedly wasting by doing his own gardening when he can easily outsource the help. However, that assumes 1.) that the time spent by someone who’s making more than you, is more valuable than your own time and 2.) that he doesn’t enjoy gardening.

I also find funny all the sites that preach that unless you are being productive 99% of the time, you’re being inefficient and wasting your time. They’re missing a key ingredient – your enjoyment.  If we all looked at everything with a dollar value, how fun would that be? Who’s to say my two hours sitting in front of a TV at night isn’t productive when I’m meeting my relaxation goal.

A recent study by the University of Toronto showed people who put a price on their time, were more likely to feel impatient when they’re not using it to earn money. So here a couple of stories that will hopefully drive the point that time is more important than money.

Driving away time

A few years ago, I took a bit of a pay cut to work closer to home. My previous job was about an hour drive on a good day, sometimes over two hours during the winter. That’s one-way. A little bit of snow would wreak havoc on the roads — and my patience. There was nothing I hated more than that drive and the daily stress it brought me.

With the new job, I was able to cut my travel time down to just 20 minutes each way, on pretty much every day of the week. So while I took a decent pay cut, it has saved me a bunch on car maintenance, gas and insurance and my sanity and most importantly it allows me to get home quickly to see my lovely wife and daughter. To me, that’s worth a lot more than the extra pay.

A money lesson in Vegas

Years ago, my older brother, his wife and a couple of close friends took a trip to Las Vegas. Scouring for a place to eat for brunch, my brother already had his eyes fixed on this fancy top-chef run restaurant. For the two of them, they’d have to dish out about $80. That’s a pretty pricey brunch!

Across the street, his friend had spotted a place having a $6.99 brunch buffet special. My brother thought about it for a second, but then looking at the time and the long lineup to get into the buffet place, he thought, rather than waste his time there, they’d dish out a little more money on their brunch and have more time to go about their day in Vegas.

His friends, thinking they would save a ton of money decided to wait out the 45-minute line. Well, this is Vegas. And of course, the buffet line was centred around a long line of slot machines. So, one of the friends thought he’d try out his luck and yep, you guessed it, $300 later he got to enjoy his $6.99 buffet.

So there you have it. Moral of the story: if you’re wasting a bunch of time to save a few bucks, that’s not thrifty. You may as well be throwing your money into a slot machine. Actually, that was a joke, don’t do that.

So is time more important than money? You be the judge!

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