Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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Time and Money

“You either have time or money” is a favorite saying of my friend Shannon and I. “Is this the hill you want to die on?” is another, but that is a post for another time. The time and money statement basically shows that at different points in your life you value your time or you value your money more. Normally it is a life cycle kind of thing, when you are first starting out on your own you don’t have a lot of money so you invest your time into things to save money. As you get older and your purchasing power parity increases you spend a little extra money to save yourself some time.


Typically we use that phrase when there is some kind of repair needed around the house. Say the dryer stops drying clothes. As a rule, dryers are not that complicated and I could troubleshoot the issue, purchase replacement parts, and install them. Hopefully I’ve done the troubleshooting correctly and the dryer now works. Unfortunately, I’m occasionally incorrect since I’ve never done this before and I need to purchase a different part and replace it. Eventually the dryer gets fixed and I saved the cost of a service call.


During the time when I’m fixing the dryer, though, I’m not doing other things. Also while I’m trying to figure out what needs to be replaced, the dryer isn’t drying the clothes. Since I’m doing the repair part-time it will typically be a series of days before I get everything back together so the dryer could be out of as long as a week. Contrast that with a service call where it will typically be done that day. It will cost more money but it is done and we don’t have to think about it anymore.


Now, typically in the case of spending time vs. money I tend side on spending money. The simple fact is I can always make more money, but I can’t make more time. Still there is a lot of satisfaction I derive from fixing something myself so if the task is not too complex or it is something I competent in, I’ll tackle it myself. The important thing is to understand where your time vs. money threshold is and not feel ashamed to pay someone to do something for you, even though you could do it yourself.


So take a moment and thing about whether you have “time or money” right now. Obviously, some decisions will be easy. When the air conditioner goes out, I call the service man. Others can be a little more difficult, so look at your immediate schedule. If you have time, tackle the project. If you don’t, outsource it. The decision is always much easier when you contemplate ahead of time, what your time/money threshold is.