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How to Exchange Money for Time
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How to Exchange Money for Time

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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 myself.

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 my stuff or donate blood plasma.

Once time is gone though, it’s gone. 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 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 do. 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 hang out with him and volunteer.

I’m also willing to pay for more time to work. I take the shuttle to the airport now instead of driving myself. It’s a three-hour drive, and it costs about $50 more than driving myself, but I can get work done on the shuttle. Sometimes, I just sleep. 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 lawncare, oil changes and other services, it is 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 time spent with my son and keeping our relationship strong is worth the cost of paying for someone else to handle social media or getting a couple of writing assignments done while I take the shuttle.

I try not to fritter away the time spent on things that aren’t important to me, like aimlessly surfing the web or engaging in other activities that don’t either improve the quality of my life or help me learn new skills that can take my efforts to the next level. Even when I don’t end up with an immediate tangible or financial benefit from my purchase of time, I usually come out ahead.

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

David Ning on Email
David Ning
David Ning
This article was written by David Ning and originally appeared on moneyning.com. Moneyning.com is a personal finance blog where insights are shared on how to carefully save money, invest for the future, and live frugally and happily – because it’s the little things that matter in achieving financial freedom.

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