07 Sep

Could You Use Money to Buy Time?


Yes, you can.  The last 40 years has seen rising levels of income and advances in consumer technologies that make it easier now than ever before, to use money to buy time. But, beware, there is a trap.  You could well end up creating more time but end up spending it all on the very activities that made you run short of time in the first place! In their book ‘Happy Money, the Science of Happier Spending’ Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton found that that people tend to spend more of their ‘brought time’ on activities associated with relatively high levels of tension and stress, such as shopping, working and commuting. With modern technologies, there is an increasing need for more free time away from those stressful environments.  Spending with family, taking me-time, go to the beach, the mountains or what ever it is that relaxes you.

If you want to be serious about it, you need to learn strategies that change money decisions into time decisions.

We’ve all said it, “grrrr, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done!” or “I haven’t got enough time!”

There are several ways we can use money to buy time.  Outsourcing is a great example.  We can outsource most of the household chores, like cleaning, lawn mowing and even cooking.  We can also do the same in our businesses, such as book-keeping, social media work, debt collection, etc.

There are now faster and smarter appliances that do chores quicker than you can do yourself.  Yet, with all these options available to us, why do most of us still feel time poor?

It has a lot to do with the level of our financial prosperity.  Feeling like time is valuable, is enough to make it seem scarcer.  And rising incomes makes time relatively more valuable.

That doesn’t mean you should race out and buy all the labour saving devices you can; that may backfire.  Research shows us that products designed to be more time efficient may also make us feel more impatient and reinforce our desire for even more time saving devices.  Whereas products that reduce the worst minutes of our day, can give us a happiness boost.

Not surprisingly, we all view time and money differently.

This is also why it isn’t as easy as we think to use money to buy time.  You see, if money is feeling a bit tight this week, we tend to assume that it will feel that way for a week or two or maybe even a month from now.

But we don’t see time like that.  Our day today maybe full-on with so much to do and not enough time to do it.  But this time next week the calendar is clear, so we are less likely to use money to buy time.  But as we all know, by the time next week rolls around, that day will likely be just as crazy.

If you want to turn your money decisions into time decisions, try this exercise next time you are out shopping. You’re in the market for a new sofa and you will sit on lots of different sofas and of course, the more expensive they get, the more comfortable they feel.  The extra price tag for extra comfort seems like a great trade off at the time.

Ask yourself, will the extra comfort alter how you spend your time?  You tell yourself that you would definitely spend more time relaxing, maybe with a book or have friends over now you have something super comfortable to sit on.

Now get more specific.  If you are out shopping on a Saturday, think about the following Saturday.  How will buying this more expensive sofa today effect you next Saturday?  Will you really be relaxing?

Thinking along these lines can help you make a less biased choice about how a more expensive sofa (or what ever it is), will impact on your happiness.

When we see time as money, it can make it more difficult for us to relax and enjoy the pleasures of daily life.  So, think more carefully about how you spend your time and your money and how you can use money to buy more time – and to create less stress.

If you are serious about discovering ways to change your behaviour so you can reach your financial goals and build a happy and successful life, then drop me an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with me – it’s completely free!