How to Exchange Money for Time

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about what I want my life to look like going forward, and what I can do to restructure. I’m in the process of reconfiguring my finances, as well as putting together a good life for my son and me.

One of the things that occurred to me is that I’d like to have a little more time. This is a common feeling of course. Most of us wish we had more time for the things that really matter to us. As I sat down and thought about this concept, I realized that there are some things I can do to get a little more time in my life. Most of those things cost money, but I think it’s probably worth the cost.

You Can’t Accumulate More Time

Time is valuable because there is no getting it back once it’s gone. I can’t just create more time the way I can earn more money. I can almost always do something different with my finances. I can invest more, raise the rates I charge for freelancing or take on a little extra work. There is usually some money available for me to earn. If all else fails, I can always sell some of my stuff or donate blood plasma.

And let’s not forget the savings side of things. There’s always some way I can spend less. If I want to, I can always keep more in my pocket.

Time is different. It’s completely irrelevant how efficiently you spend your time. Once time passes, it’s gone. In that sense, time is far more valuable so I want more of it even if I have to pay for it. The return on my investment is high — as long as I use my time in ways that benefit me for the long run.

Exchange Money for Time

My first purchase of time was made when I realized I spent far too much time on social media posting items for work. I didn’t have time to take care of higher priority work, and it cut into the time I wanted to spend doing other things. I ended up hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to help me run my social media accounts. I still get in there and engage with people, but not for as long, and not as often as I used to. Having someone else take care of all that has been very helpful to me. It’s been well worth the exchange because the amount of money I make with an hour of work far exceeds the amount of money I pay each hour to my VA. Now I get my work done earlier, I have more time to help my son with homework and I hang out with him. I also have time to volunteer.

I’m also willing to pay if it means I have more time to make money. I take the shuttle to the airport now when I need to fly for work instead of driving myself. It’s normally a three-hour drive and the trip costs about $50 more than driving, but I can get work done while I’m on the shuttle. I’m also putting less mileage on my car. Sometimes, I catch up on sleep so I can write more efficiently when I get on the plane. Being able to take the time to relax and let someone else drive after a long trip can be worth the cost — and it’s worth the safety as well.

What Will You Do With That Time?

When you pay extra to gain more time, which includes paying for lawn care, oil changes, and other services, it’s also a good idea to figure out what to do with that time. Is the investment you make worth the cost? I use my purchased time for things like spending time with my son, self-improvement, development of musical skills, volunteering, exercise, self-care, and fixing healthy meals from scratch. These are priorities for me, and they offer returns that I consider valuable. I can’t replace the time I spent with my son and keeping our relationship strong. Time spent there is worth the cost of paying for someone else to handle social media or taking the shuttle while I get a couple of writing assignments done.

There’s a secondary benefit since I’ve started paying to have more time. Now that I am consciously spending money to get more free time, I try harder not to fritter away the time spent on things that aren’t important to me. I used to aimlessly surf the web or engage in other activities that don’t either improve the quality of my life or help me learn new skills, but I’m better able to limit those time-wasters these days. For one, I’m no longer wasting my time making Facebook money while I look through the same posts over and over again. I feel my life is more purposeful and fulfilling as a result. So even when I don’t end up with an immediate tangible or financial benefit from my purchase of time, I feel like I’m coming out ahead.

What do you think? How do you exchange money for time, and when do you do it?

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  • Zina says:

    Someone once told me that wealthy people use money to buy time. I’d much rather have time to watch a movie than extra money in my bank account. My new goal is to pay for aa monthly housekeeper.

  • Reelika says:

    I absolutely agree with your article! Why else do corporate CEOs often have drivers? So they can use the time they sit in the traffic to work! Most people are their own fans and like to do everything themselves. We all like to have a sense of control over things. However, down the years, what would we remember when looking back? It’s important to have time for creating memories.

    • Tina | profinanceblog says:

      Well said @relika – It’s important to have time for creating memories.

      I wish I have money to BUY time.

  • Erin says:

    Yes! We talk about this all the time. Time is a value, like money or our health, and we make trades with these values without really knowing it. When aware of this, and aware of our natures, we can make more well-rounded decisions that ultimately amount to lives we enjoy living.

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