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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?

-Sixbears

16 comments:

  1. Can you imagine the money people could save if they'd just DO it?

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    Replies
    1. Quite a bit, I bet. Now if they'd only apply some of the energy they put into complaining, the job would be done in no time.

      Delete
  2. That's old fashion thinking my friends. Doing without some new shiny toy? Doing things yourself and keeping fit? C'mon...What are you thinking... :)

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, what am I thinking? What would happen to the economy?

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  3. good post! finally joined your blog. come visit sometime. I enjoy your point of view. thanks the rat

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  4. Not having any extra money to spend sure makes the decisions not to buy anything a heck of a lot easier!

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    Replies
    1. Makes a virtue out of necessity, doesn't it?

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  5. You're right... why do so many people spend their precious time going to work to earn money to buy things they don't need.
    They don't think about it really but keeping up with the Jones's is one reason and perceiving they need whatever it is is another...

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    Replies
    1. Doing jobs they hate to make money to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like.

      So who's crazy here?

      Delete
  6. Living by myself there are a lot of things I have to do myself. The big jobs I hire out. There's a certain satisfaction when the job is done.

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    Replies
    1. It does feel good to do a good job.

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  7. I look at it the same as you do.Here is this weeks example.Water pump on the van went out and the fans.About 4 to 5 hour job for me.My time value 75 to 100$.Took it to my mechanic he replaced the water pump fans were fine bad relay.Parts were 103 labor 60 no lost wrenches no cussing and no grease on the wifes towels.A BARGIN !!!Helped a man clean out his basement made 80 so i was +20 and happy.Sometimes you got to know your limits and sometimes your got to expand them.

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    Replies
    1. You know a deal when you see one. If the wife ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

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  8. It's taken me half a lifetime to learn this lesson. Unfortunately, my dearest is a chronic penny-pincher, so I often have to include her in the 'hard-way' of doing things before we get smart and hire in the pros. We are both learning in the process. That said, I try to do as much as I can myself and save having to work for 'the man' to pay 'another man'. Currently taking many months of time to save about $70-80k by building my own windows. Plus, it is fun.

    So: happy me + happy wife = happy life.

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  9. If the wife ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

    It's cheaper to keep her happy than pay for a divorce. :)

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