In my old job, we always had to readjust inventory levels constantly, and it was frustrating because we had to change the same levels numerous times to meet customer requests and demand changes. They never seemed to justify the small amounts that we were able to save when we could just as well stock a few more units than what the system showed we need, saving precious human resources for the company.
Many people are the same with their finances, spending a ton of personal time trying to save that extra dime. These include looking at websites for personal finance articles, checking stock prices every 5 minutes, writing budget reports, graphing net worth charts etc. If they were to list out everything that they do to try to save money, it could be called “madness”.
Is the time spent justified? Some of us might be spending 2 hours or more a day on something like this. Say we are able save $8 each and every day, which might sound great since many of us know that $8 a day is probably going to be worth tons of money with compound interest. But then why can’t we just find a part time job that pays more than $4 per hour? Is the extra work still worth the effort?
I asked myself this very same question, and my response came out to be something like this:
Let me first explain that I spend more than 2 hours a day on my personal finances. I regularly read 40 or more personal finance related websites. I even have one of my own, MoneyNing.com. I keep track of my net worth monthly, track my spending with a spreadsheet daily, and check my stocks valuation way too many times each day (just to name a few of the things I do). I spent much of my day thinking about how I can save more money, and had been pretty successful in cutting costs through ideas I learned from the articles I read.
For sure I want to earn more money (check out 15 different ways of making more here), and based on the analysis, having a part time job definitely sounds more rewarding.
But I know financial freedom is about not so much how much we earn but how much we can keep. There are people I know who earn $300,000 dollars a year but live paycheck to paycheck, while one of my friend earns $50,000 dollars and was able to afford early retirement. I once asked my “$50,000 salary” friend how he was able to retire early. His answer was remarkably simple. He told me that the key was discipline, the discipline to live below your means, and to save as much as you can. This stuck with me, helped interest me in personal finance, and motivated me in spending time in looking for ways to save growing up.
I am on my way to financial freedom, and part of it is because of the time I spend thinking about my finances. I do spend quite a bit of time on the subject, but it’s been worth the effort for me and my family. Your situation might be different, but remember to ask yourself whether you spend too much time on money management and saving money.