So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Thursday, June 27, 2013
What does something really cost?
Time is money. No secret there, but what does that mean to the average guy? One easy rule of thumb is to figure out how much you make an hour. Now if you are making hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour, forget the rest of this blog post. If on the other hand, your income is more in the poor to working class range, pay attention.
How much is your life worth? What would you prefer to be doing with your time? One of my big complaints about our labor saving devices is that the true costs are not added in. One example from my life: I don't own a snowblower, a very common device here north of the White Mountains. Once I factored in the labor needed to own one, the hours of paid labor needed to maintain it, against the time saved, it wasn't worth it. My driveways are not all that long. In my case, a shovel is the true labor saving device.
Throw in some less quantifiable benefits, like quiet, fresh air and exercise. It's a clear win for the shovel. While I'm figuring costs, why not consider the impact on the planet? It's not like we are going to be living anywhere else, so it only makes sense to take care of it.
How often do we see people working long hours to buy toys: boats, ATVs, fishing gear, fancy cars -that they have no time to use?
Speaking of cars, imagine if you could get by with one car, or none at all. You could afford to buy a really good bike and pedal for many many hours instead of working to pay for the car. In fact, a lower paying job within biking distance could put more money in your pocket that a higher paying job you'd have to drive to.
I'm at the point in my life where earning more money is a pretty hit or miss proposition. I have huge incentives to find the low cost alternative. Sometimes it's the only alternative.
There are a number of things that I will pay good money for, even though I can do the job myself. While I do some car repair, working outside with barely adequate tools is tough to justify. My mechanic, with his professional took kit, expertise, and car lift, can do the job a whole lot faster and better.
Another big one is moving large volumes of dirt and rock. I could do it all with a shovel, and I gladly tackle smaller jobs, but I'm leaving the big jobs for heavy equipment. Hiring someone with a backhoe for a few hours saves many days of back breaking labor.
Maybe I can justify it with the money saved from not having to go to physical therapy to get my back straighten out?
People often buy things without really thinking through what it's costing them in time. All we have in life is time. Are the things we buy worth hours of our precious lives?
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.