How do you value your time?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
knightrider
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How do you value your time?

Post by knightrider » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am

I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?

stoptothink
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:19 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
We are in the same boat. I make a good living, but in my off-time will do things which save pennies. It is just how I am wired. I refuse to pay for things I can do myself or waste resources when there is a better/cheaper way. My wife, she loves her convenience. It's a daily, never-ending series of compromises which we have both just accepted.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am

My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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climber2020
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by climber2020 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:26 am

I don't mind spending for convenience, but that's mainly because I underspent on the big things: house, car, & higher education expenses. With those large categories taking up a small fraction of my total income, paying 10 bucks for parking doesn't seem like a big deal.

an_asker
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by an_asker » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:29 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:19 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
We are in the same boat. I make a good living, but in my off-time will do things which save pennies. It is just how I am wired. I refuse to pay for things I can do myself or waste resources when there is a better/cheaper way. My wife, she loves her convenience. It's a daily, never-ending series of compromises which we have both just accepted.
+1!

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randomizer
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by randomizer » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:29 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
Great way of thinking about it.

msk
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by msk » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:30 am

Decades ago I consulted a lawyer, and he charged me $250 an hour. I decided that thenceforth I will value my time at the same level. I never did adjust for inflation. Presumably that same lawyer now charges around $500 an hour, but if I need to spend hours chasing something, e.g. an insurance claim or driving a long way to save on a purchase, I still use $250 an hour as my yardstick as to whether it's worth my bother. Set your own yardstick according to your earnings capacity and venture forth. My earnings (job) capacity is nil since I have retired 18 years ago and my investments are passive ETFs so they do not require much attention, but I am happy to continue using $250/hour to avoid aggravations :D

livesoft
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by livesoft » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:32 am

It depends on what I am going to do with the time that is saved when one pays for convenience.
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an_asker
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by an_asker » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:34 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking.[...]
You know what would be really ironic? If you paid $20 to park a mile closer, then spent $20 to join a gym and walk that mile on a treadmill (in optimal AC environment, no less)! :oops:

PS: BTW, logic notwithstanding, DW is always right. If you don't agree now, you will when you sign the divorce papers! I've read that many times on these forums.

learning_head
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by learning_head » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:35 am

Good question.
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours, I get an hourly rate of $45.
Should not this be done on after-tax basis? :-)

In any case, I think the cost of your free time is what you set it as and does not have to be related to what you happen to be making at your current job. E.g. if you retire, does it mean your time is "free" now? Not for me!

I value my free time "a lot" in the sense of wanting to retire early and not wanting to instead spend it on many other things. It's a struggle to remind myself about this question whenever "deals" come up; e.g.
- I try not to spend any time on worrying about coupons less than a few bucks
- I try not to spend time on bonuses unless they are at least $200 and require less than few hours of work in total. So, I guess this comes out to be about $40-$50/hr.
- I don't mind paying $20-40/hr for someone to do yard or handyman work that I don't want to do (but of course I have to also account for time I still spend on arranging this, fixing their mistakes if I care about them, etc.)

A lot also depends on how much you dislike doing something. In your example, if that one-mile-walk is a good exercise in a park in good weather that you might enjoy, the enjoyment benefit could be added to the saving of $20. Yet if this means parking in a bad location and going through some rough neighborhood in the dark or in bad weather and you hate or have trouble walking, the saving of $20 could be well overwhelmed by other hidden "costs" and risks.

The extra cost of tension with significant other is going to help you a lot with such struggles too... :-)

msk
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by msk » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:39 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
Unfortunately taxes are the great distortion of modern societies and DIY. Flourishing economies require that the most efficient person ought to do specific jobs. DIY uses an often mediocre person with an incomplete toolbox (skills and physical tools) do jobs that re far more efficiently done by specialists. There is no simple fix that I can see. One day somebody will come up with a taxation system that fixes these anomalies, hopefully. Manufacturing is already highly efficient since we are becoming a throw-away society, but we have not yet found a way to fix things and do maintenance efficiently tax wise.

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bligh
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by bligh » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:42 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
I do this myself. I am in a very high tax bracket in a high tax state so, for simplicity I just double the value of the expenditure. But I also take it an extra step. I convert it to the time I will need to work to earn that amount.

If you spent 15 minutes of your time to not spend $20, then that is equal to having earned $40 in those 15 minutes.

$40 * 4 = $160 / hour. That is a good return on your time if you make $45/ hour at your job.

There are many who make much more than that on an hourly basis, who are also strapped for time. That same calculation works out in favor of just spending the $20 to save time for them.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by CyclingDuo » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:44 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
Keep educating her about the amount of money one can save doing simple things like parking yourself and walking a few blocks.

"Time is money"? Sure. We all need to be humbled by the reality that once we are off the clock, our free time is not exactly worth as much as the time we work and are receiving wages. Mowing one's own lawns, shoveling snow, doing work around the house can all add up to a lot of cash. One either chooses to save the money and do it themselves, or you "pay for the convenience" in more ways than one.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by Liberty1100 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:48 am

Well, now that you are married, you have to factor in the value of both of you, by the way.

Just last night I had a similar issue come up. The restaurant next door had a special of $4 for a normal $8 item. When I ran by on my run after work, I noticed the ridiculously long line packed. I realized that my time waiting to save $4, was not worth the extra 20 minutes or more I may wait for it compared to a similar restaurant without a special. I guess I valued my time for more than $16/hour. But at the time, I compared the $4/20 minutes vs 20 minutes of other things I could do instead.

The opportunity cost is important to consider, not just the value of your time.
Scenario A: You are running late to a job interview. You can park for $20 or drive a mile for free parking (and walk back). I think you would pay more than $20 dollars.
Scenario B: You are going to a concert. The ticket for your seat is already reserved, you are early, and it is a nice day. I would think you would pass on the paid parking.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:53 am

msk wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:39 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
Unfortunately taxes are the great distortion of modern societies and DIY. Flourishing economies require that the most efficient person ought to do specific jobs. DIY uses an often mediocre person with an incomplete toolbox (skills and physical tools) do jobs that re far more efficiently done by specialists. There is no simple fix that I can see. One day somebody will come up with a taxation system that fixes these anomalies, hopefully. Manufacturing is already highly efficient since we are becoming a throw-away society, but we have not yet found a way to fix things and do maintenance efficiently tax wise.
Every single time I pull out my wallet to complete a transaction, I think of the distortions created by taxation. It definitely biases me towards DIY projects, and I'm mechanically inept. It is definitely economically inefficient.

My understanding of the tax code effects other behaviors as well. When giving someone a $1 tip that is appropriately reported to the IRS, for example, I realize that 6.2% goes to social security (twice if self employed), 1.45% goes to Medicare (twice if self employed), as much as 38% goes to federal gov't (albeit admittedly lower for most jobs receiving tips), as much as 10% goes to state gov't. The sum of the above leaves as little as $0.45 left on a $1 over-the-table tip.

Why would I voluntarily turn $1 into $0.45 through the simple exchange of $1? Surely $1 is worth more to me than $0.45 is to the person receiving the tip.

Don't get me wrong, I tip, but do so begrudgingly b/c of the economics. Most of the time, however, I avoid scenarios in which tipping is required (I take public transit rather than taxis, park own car rather than valet, eat in over eating out, etc).
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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midareff
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by midareff » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:54 am

Here's a funny but true story... my wife and I met on the internet in 2008, she is Thai. I was taking a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam that spent two days in Bangkok so we were going to meet for breakfast and maybe visit a Wat or two during the day. She was going to take off work. We met for breakfast at my hotel and then headed out to see some sights which required us to take a ferry across the Chaopyra River, which runs through Bangkok. We go to the dock and I was going to buy two tickets at 60 baht each (near $2 USD ea.) . She refuses to let me spend that much on tickets and makes us walk about five or six blocks in the Bangkok heat to buy barge passes at 10 baht each .. about 30 cents each at the time. LOL, drop dead gorgeous and hates to spend money.. what have we here.. definitely wife material. Best value for a five or six block walk in the heat ever.

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flamesabers
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:01 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
For me it's a case-by-case basis. Using your parking example, I probably wouldn't pay and opt to walk the mile instead if it was a one-time deal. However, if the $20 was for a monthly parking pass and I regularly used the parking pass, I might consider it. I think something to consider is you don't have an infinite amount of time or money. A balance must be struck between the two. While money is a far easier commodity to quantify, I think it's important to not underestimate the value of your time. Nobody wants to live in poverty, but nobody wishes they spent more time at work while lying on their deathbed either.

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lthenderson
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:03 am

When I'm by myself, I do as I please. When my wife is with me, I do as she pleases, unless it is something that means a great deal to me and then we have a long discussion followed by a compromise. Whether or not I save $20 in parking fees is not a great deal to me so I would do it if my wife requested it. If you rationalize your disagreement with your wife as a matter of dollars and cents, you are in for a "long row to hoe" as we sometimes say in these parts.

learning_head
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by learning_head » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:10 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:53 am
My understanding of the tax code effects other behaviors as well. When giving someone a $1 tip that is appropriately reported to the IRS, for example, I realize that 6.2% goes to social security (twice if self employed), 1.45% goes to Medicare (twice if self employed), as much as 38% goes to federal gov't (albeit admittedly lower for most jobs receiving tips), as much as 10% goes to state gov't. The sum of the above leaves as little as $0.45 left on a $1 over-the-table tip.

Why would I voluntarily turn $1 into $0.45 through the simple exchange of $1?
Point taken... but in all fairness, most jobs that assume tips pay way less than above numbers. In all likelihood, $0 for both federal and state taxes, leaving it to be more like $0.92.
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:53 am
Surely $1 is worth more to me than $0.45 is to the person receiving the tip.
For many people that tip, $1 may NOT be worth as much to them as $0.45 to the receiving person, let alone $0.92.

jalbert
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by jalbert » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:18 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
If your free time is only worth what you earn working, why aren't you working a second job? If you are working as much as you need or want to, your free time is worth more than you earn, which is why you aren't working at that time.
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goingup
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by goingup » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:18 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.
You're definitely not measuring the right metric. Start with trying to meet the preferences and needs of your partner. Perhaps you can drop her at the destination and go park the car yourself. Or figure out what is an acceptable distance for you both to walk. Is it 2 blocks or 3 blocks?

ResearchMed
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:21 am

bligh wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:42 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
I do this myself. I am in a very high tax bracket in a high tax state so, for simplicity I just double the value of the expenditure. But I also take it an extra step. I convert it to the time I will need to work to earn that amount.

If you spent 15 minutes of your time to not spend $20, then that is equal to having earned $40 in those 15 minutes.

$40 * 4 = $160 / hour. That is a good return on your time if you make $45/ hour at your job.

There are many who make much more than that on an hourly basis, who are also strapped for time. That same calculation works out in favor of just spending the $20 to save time for them.
This type of approach doesn't take into account how much one enjoys or despises, or something in between, the "task at hand".
It's more than just the "time spent" in many (most?) cases, especially if doing it one's self really is optional.

Or how "important" it is to you. Something like "relaxing", and avoiding stress, especially when viewed as a health issue... how does one "value" that in monetary terms?

OTOH, for some simplistic purposes, it's an easy calculation. Do we want to spend an hour each way driving to pick up something (gas/car expenses being an additional factor, of course), when it can be delivered for, say, $15? "I don't think sooooooo..." :wink:
But we'd be willing to do this for 2 hours to save less than we'd be willing to save doing something we can't stand doing

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MichaelRpdx
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by MichaelRpdx » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:26 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.
What's the weather like when you're making this parking decision? My wife and I frequently park further away to have a nice walk together. An overlooked (?) issue here seems to be the value of walking - is it so odious that you're even tempted to pay for close in parking? What would you use the time for, 15 or 20 minutes, when you pay for the parking? What does this "convenience" provide?

I'm sure this is just one example of many in your life. Do you have a lot of prepared, pre-sliced, pre-whatever foods in your house?

For me the value of my time only comes into play for activities that are either so disagreeable or time-consuming as to make the "doing" of them a drain on personal happiness. Most things presented as conveniences don't meet the threshold
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keystone
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by keystone » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:30 am

livesoft wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:32 am
It depends on what I am going to do with the time that is saved when one pays for convenience.
+1. I will happily park a mile away to save $10 because I like walking, while at the same time I will happily pay someone $ to do jobs I don't want to do (e.g. house painting).

MathWizard
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by MathWizard » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:41 am

On many things, I can do a job as well or better than a professional, because I take my time,
and will use the best materials.

On those things which I cannot, I pay someone else.

If you can do the same level of work, and no better, I'd think of what your hourly pay amounts to
and use that. You can take taxes into account as well (I do).

I no longer change my own oil, though I swore when I was 16 that I'd never pay someone to
do something so simple, but it just isn't worth my time or the hassle anymore.

I no longer do much of the work on my car anymore, since I no longer have the tools needed.
(I've replaced or repaired most of the parts on my car until I was about 40, up to an including
complete engine and transmission overhauls, and starter rebuilds.)

I still do most of the work on my house, because it is hard to get someone to come our
for jobs under $10,000 anymore. They all want to just build new houses, which is easier,
and more lucrative.

I don't do plumbing or electrical work anymore due to not being familiar with the codes.

Just painted the house, and changed out some windows and doors in the last few years.

deikel
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by deikel » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am

Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness

You can not truly put a value/dollar tag on your free time, that is an exercise in trying to make a fuzzy concept scientifically sound - which it is not. As a salaried employee you do not increase your salary by an equal amount of money if you work longer, in fact long hours are usually just part of it and even longer hours rarely pay off in a linear fashion (if ever).

This may be slightly different when you are self employed, hourly paid or otherwise have a scale-able job.

In fact I would argue that your wife is a great example for putting a negative number on your spare/free time since you tend to spent entertainment money in this time, hence its more like -5 USD/h and you are un-productive in this time (ignore recreational value).

For your specific example, how do you value the fact that you also get exercise in the extra time you have to walk from the cheaper parking place ? Or another recent thread here was Amazon fresh, how do you value the act of going grocery shopping with your kids so they learn about groceries, how to select fresh produce vs others, how to do the whole supermarket thing or count money in their head ect ect. - it all boils down to value perception, not actual cost.

Most conveniences out there do not provide value to me, so I don't do them. Clearly your value perception and your wife's differ - which is a much bigger issue to fix.
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:53 am

deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness

You can not truly put a value/dollar tag on your free time, that is an exercise in trying to make a fuzzy concept scientifically sound - which it is not. As a salaried employee you do not increase your salary by an equal amount of money if you work longer, in fact long hours are usually just part of it and even longer hours rarely pay off in a linear fashion (if ever).

This may be slightly different when you are self employed, hourly paid or otherwise have a scale-able job.

In fact I would argue that your wife is a great example for putting a negative number on your spare/free time since you tend to spent entertainment money in this time, hence its more like -5 USD/h and you are un-productive in this time (ignore recreational value).

For your specific example, how do you value the fact that you also get exercise in the extra time you have to walk from the cheaper parking place ? Or another recent thread here was Amazon fresh, how do you value the act of going grocery shopping with your kids so they learn about groceries, how to select fresh produce vs others, how to do the whole supermarket thing or count money in their head ect ect. - it all boils down to value perception, not actual cost.

Most conveniences out there do not provide value to me, so I don't do them. Clearly your value perception and your wife's differ - which is a much bigger issue to fix.
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TD2626
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by TD2626 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:55 am

I value my time at a fairly low rate. The benefits of saving money are substantial enough that I will sometimes work an hour to save even a few dollars - i.e. a "value of time" of a few dollars an hour.

Doing the calculation, though, is helpful. If you spend 10 hours and save $5, that's most likely unreasonable.

Also, I do sometimes forgoe savings that would save me as much as $10/hr or so if the task is particularly onerous. If I need to justify paying for services instead of a DIY approach to, showing that I am valuing my time at much less than minimum wage can sometimes help me be willing to spend (I am obviously quite frugal).

The other strategy that someone plagued with over-frugality can use to justify spending is to show mathematically that the spending increases the net present value of human capital. If wearing a watch to a job interview increases the present value of human capital by more than the cost of the watch, it may be worth it. This only goes for $50 watches, though as I feel the ethical implications of waste preclude the purchase of a $5000 watch even if an employer would seemingly value or expect it.

Of course, the preceding was for very (excessively?) frugal individuals. Most people likely have the opposite problem.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by N10sive » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:57 am

I think this question is similar to the brown bagging at lunch question minus the "networking/health" aspect. In your case it might be "pleasing your significant other" aspect :).

I asked a similar question here about DIY vs professional: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=212255&p=3257523#p3257523

How come you are dividing by 2500 hours? Isn't a normal salary at 2080?

Anyways, I go both ways most of the time. Id rather spend the money to park somewhere (although its not 20 bucks more like 7) than waste the time trying to find a spot just as close when I am pressed for time. I live in a pretty walkable city now and you have to pay for parking everywhere, although the places I go are around a 6 dollar uber ride, Ill walk. Its a bit of a hill but Id rather not pay the 6 dollars most of the time and I don't think uber drivers are too happy when they take me 10 blocks.

I like convenience most of the time. Take for example oil changes. I can do them for maybe 10 dollars less but it takes time to go get the oil, find the time to do the oil change, and then dispose of the oil. Or I can go to a reputable place and pay 10 dollars more most of the time, sit for 30-45min while I work or on something productive. Plus having all of the necessary equipment.

I think it comes down more to what your willing to pay for such things. Whether it makes a huge difference financial is really just dependent on your finances. As the brown bag lunch discussion eating out for high earners isn't as big a deal as low income earners. Maybe only for the health benefit.
Last edited by N10sive on Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by TheTimeLord » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:01 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
I think a normal work year is 2,080 hours. Why are you using 2,500?

I would say this if free time has no value to you then why save for retirement because all that is is a bunch of free time.
Run, You Clever Boy!

N10sive
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by N10sive » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:02 pm

deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
I wouldn't say convenience is for lazy people. Some people rather spend their free time exploring the outdoors, learning new hobbies, etc. Also sometimes people don't have the means to do certain things. But to each his own.

Take for example my oil change example above. I live in an high rise apt, no reserved parking, etc. I could do my oil changes, however the garage management wouldn't be too happy with me. Plus again needing the equipment to do such a task(mostly storing it).

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by TheTimeLord » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:05 pm

deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
If convenience is for lazy people then retirement is for really lazy people.
Run, You Clever Boy!

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TheTimeLord
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by TheTimeLord » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:06 pm

N10sive wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:02 pm
deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
I wouldn't say convenience is for lazy people. Some people rather spend their free time exploring the outdoors, learning new hobbies, etc. Also sometimes people don't have the means to do certain things. But to each his own.

Take for example my oil change example above. I live in an high rise apt, no reserved parking, etc. I could do my oil changes, however the garage management wouldn't be too happy with me. Plus again needing the equipment to do such a task(mostly storing it).
N10sive is an awesome handle, kudos.
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by bigred77 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:08 pm

I've never tried to put a dollar value on my "time" but I absolutely spend more money for conveniences. Not every convenience, but many of them.

I spent more on housing to not have a commute.
I spend money to hire out chores (lawn and maid service are the 2 big ones).
I will hire a handy man to handle basic house maintenance unless it is incredibly easy and quick to do myself.
If the choice was pay 20 bucks to park next door to a venue or walk a mile, I would pay the 20 bucks without hesitation (unless i had a couple of hours to kill anyway).

I would much prefer additional free time than to perform these activities myself. I can afford it, so I spend it.


I want to see the faces of some of these bogleheads if they ever attended an event a mega stadium like AT&T stadium in Dallas. The closest parking lots the last time I went were $100 a space! If you want to park for cheap I think you have to walk a lot further than a mile.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by MichaelRpdx » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:14 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:05 pm
deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
If convenience is for lazy people then retirement is for really lazy people.
You lookin at me? 8-)
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deikel
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by deikel » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:20 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:05 pm
deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
If convenience is for lazy people then retirement is for really lazy people.
Maybe that is the difference between financial independence and retirement ?

Kidding aside, my point was the problem of value perception and that just differs with people. Most novel conveniences I see are tools to encourage laziness, having said that, I would not want to miss running hot water in the house, so value perception changes over time as well.
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immidiatly and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by TheTimeLord » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:39 pm

deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:20 pm
TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:05 pm
deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
If convenience is for lazy people then retirement is for really lazy people.
Maybe that is the difference between financial independence and retirement ?

Kidding aside, my point was the problem of value perception and that just differs with people. Most novel conveniences I see are tools to encourage laziness, having said that, I would not want to miss running hot water in the house, so value perception changes over time as well.
I know this doesn't apply to everyone but I know lots of couples who save money by mowing there lawn, cleaning their house or just doing a lot of DIY items even though both work at good jobs. For some it is refreshing alternative to what they do for a living, some truly seem to enjoy the activities. But for others they come back to work from the weekend exhausted, grumpy and whiny still worrying about all they need to do. It is effecting their career and worklife and I believe costing them money via promotions and raises.
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:03 pm

The value of your time can be very very expensive if in conflict with DW.

Dropping DW off at the front door to a restaurant then parking a zillion miles away and running back is priceless.

All things in moderation. . . . including moderation.
Not a financial expert - just a retired businessman hacking out of a sand trap -- again.

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bligh
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by bligh » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:04 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:21 am
bligh wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:42 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
I do this myself. I am in a very high tax bracket in a high tax state so, for simplicity I just double the value of the expenditure. But I also take it an extra step. I convert it to the time I will need to work to earn that amount.

If you spent 15 minutes of your time to not spend $20, then that is equal to having earned $40 in those 15 minutes.

$40 * 4 = $160 / hour. That is a good return on your time if you make $45/ hour at your job.

There are many who make much more than that on an hourly basis, who are also strapped for time. That same calculation works out in favor of just spending the $20 to save time for them.
This type of approach doesn't take into account how much one enjoys or despises, or something in between, the "task at hand".
It's more than just the "time spent" in many (most?) cases, especially if doing it one's self really is optional.

Or how "important" it is to you. Something like "relaxing", and avoiding stress, especially when viewed as a health issue... how does one "value" that in monetary terms?

OTOH, for some simplistic purposes, it's an easy calculation. Do we want to spend an hour each way driving to pick up something (gas/car expenses being an additional factor, of course), when it can be delivered for, say, $15? "I don't think sooooooo..." :wink:
But we'd be willing to do this for 2 hours to save less than we'd be willing to save doing something we can't stand doing

RM
I disagree. I think it takes that into account perfectly. That is precisely why you convert it to a pre tax dollar amount. In the above case, the person who earns $45/hour who spends $20 to save 15 minutes of work can ask themselves the question "Am I okay with working an extra 3.5 hours at my regular job, just to not have to spend these 15 minutes. " If the answer is "Yes I would rather work my day job for 3.5 hours than spend 15 minutes doing X" then they should go for it. If you really hate doing it, you will say yes, and it will be an informed and intentional choice. :)

Now for someone making $300 / hour they would ask "Am I willing to work an extra 5 minutes to save myself 15 minutes here?" They may say no to that question if they really hate their job.

What it doesn't take into account is if you cannot translate your income to an hourly rate though. If you are a business owner, or retired. How do you decide if something is worth spending $20 to save 15 minutes?
Last edited by bligh on Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by an_asker » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:11 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:01 pm
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
I think a normal work year is 2,080 hours. Why are you using 2,500?

I would say this if free time has no value to you then why save for retirement because all that is is a bunch of free time.
Quintessence of a boglehead - stickler for detail ;-) He (or she) probably works 48 (or whatever 2500/52 is) hour weeks!

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TheTimeLord
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by TheTimeLord » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:19 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:11 pm
TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:01 pm
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
I think a normal work year is 2,080 hours. Why are you using 2,500?

I would say this if free time has no value to you then why save for retirement because all that is is a bunch of free time.
Quintessence of a boglehead - stickler for detail ;-) He (or she) probably works 48 (or whatever 2500/52 is) hour weeks!
2080 is a 8 hour workday, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year but does not subtract for holidays or vacation.
Run, You Clever Boy!

knightrider
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by knightrider » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:22 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:19 pm
2080 is a 8 hour workday, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year but does not subtract for holidays or vacation.
I picked 2500 because I googled this topic and found this article that said to use 2500:

http://jamesclear.com/value-of-time

From the article:

Let’s say you spend 10 hours per day either at work, commuting to work, or doing tasks related to work. With a five day workweek, that’s 50 hours per week. And if you work 50 weeks per year (2 weeks off for vacation), then that’s 2,500 hours per year. I'll leave it to you to make adjustments based on your specific circumstances, but for most full-time employees or entrepreneurs, I think 2,500 hours will get you in the right ballpark.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by thangngo » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:27 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
1. Your wife is always right.
2. When you disagree with paying for convenience, see point 1.
3. Try to make more money and save more to compensate what you have paid for related to point 1.

---
Side note: My time has value only when I do something valuable with my time. I can't put a $ amount on my free time.

egionesco
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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by egionesco » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:32 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:53 am
msk wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:39 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
Unfortunately taxes are the great distortion of modern societies and DIY. Flourishing economies require that the most efficient person ought to do specific jobs. DIY uses an often mediocre person with an incomplete toolbox (skills and physical tools) do jobs that re far more efficiently done by specialists. There is no simple fix that I can see. One day somebody will come up with a taxation system that fixes these anomalies, hopefully. Manufacturing is already highly efficient since we are becoming a throw-away society, but we have not yet found a way to fix things and do maintenance efficiently tax wise.
Every single time I pull out my wallet to complete a transaction, I think of the distortions created by taxation. It definitely biases me towards DIY projects, and I'm mechanically inept. It is definitely economically inefficient.

My understanding of the tax code effects other behaviors as well. When giving someone a $1 tip that is appropriately reported to the IRS, for example, I realize that 6.2% goes to social security (twice if self employed), 1.45% goes to Medicare (twice if self employed), as much as 38% goes to federal gov't (albeit admittedly lower for most jobs receiving tips), as much as 10% goes to state gov't. The sum of the above leaves as little as $0.45 left on a $1 over-the-table tip.

Why would I voluntarily turn $1 into $0.45 through the simple exchange of $1? Surely $1 is worth more to me than $0.45 is to the person receiving the tip.

Don't get me wrong, I tip, but do so begrudgingly b/c of the economics. Most of the time, however, I avoid scenarios in which tipping is required (I take public transit rather than taxis, park own car rather than valet, eat in over eating out, etc).
Do you do this analysis whenever you spend money? Because $1 to you is not really $1 unless you are hoarding it forever (in which case it's value goes down). If you are putting it into the economy, it is going to be taxed in some sense.

This seems like a self-serving policy that's an end around justification for being cheap.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by jbuzolich » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:35 pm

I'm actually a little to the opposite of many of these posts. I actually value my time off at a minimum of 2x my working wage. The reasoning is that I value my time off very much and if I'm not at work I would prefer to be resting or working on a hobby. If I'm going to do something of effort during off time it needs to provide benefit 2x-3x my wage. I'm often stressed or anxious with job tasks and deadlines but it's mostly done sitting in an air conditioned office.

Flip side to all this, saving money is a hobby I love so my rest time might involve reading for hours and getting $2 cash back on a purchase.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by curmudgeon » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:36 pm

I've always tended to keep a rough mental picture of the value of my time vs tasks that I'm doing. When I was working, I would have happily traded 1/4 of my income for that much more free time, but that wasn't very feasible with my work. I definitely considered the tax burden as well. It's one of those things that tended to keep me in economy airline seats; if I can make $200/hour tax free for sitting in this somewhat cramped seat vs that more luxurious one, I have a hard time turning it down.

There is a lot of fuzziness around this stuff. Shopping is a good example. Going to four stores before buying something may not yield a savings worth the time spent, but maybe you enjoy the shopping process itself, or make a better purchase decision on something you will use for a long time. My kids buy a lot of their stuff on Amazon, but then end up hassling with having to repackage and ship back returns far too often.

Now that I'm retired, I make the decision more on an ability/satisfaction/hassle axis. I don't mind getting my hands dirty, and in fact take satisfaction from doing things myself in many cases.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by mak1277 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:53 pm

deikel wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:46 am
Convenience is for lazy people - sorry to say, but that's what you are buying, a tool to feed lazyness
I don't generally disagree with this. I fully admit that I'm a lazy person and I will gladly pay for many conveniences. The last thing I want to do after a day of work is...more work. If I genuinely enjoy something (e.g., cooking dinner on the grill while enjoying a beer) then I'll do it. Anything that is even remotely distasteful (e.g., mowing the lawn) gets outsourced. I don't feel any need to justify this in terms of the value of my time.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by Point » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:59 pm

There be dragons...

Winning an argument with DW is a kind of oxymoron.

Better to set up a budget and the fun stuff gets divvied out. She can invest her funds in convenience purchases and you in cost efficiency.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by Maya1234 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:06 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 am
I'm the kind of person who parks a mile away to avoid paying $20 for parking. I recently got married so this behavior is creating a lot of conflict. My spouse believes in "paying for convenience". I need help in how to value my time so I can find some common ground with my spouse.

If I take my annual salary and divide by 2500 hours , I get an hourly rate of $45. But when I come home I am not being paid . So what is the value of my time when off the company clock? Is it zero, minimum wage or still $45?
Something like that is not just a matter of time. Who wants to have to walk a mile ( especially a person who like most women aren't wearing shoes that are comfortable for that walk if you are just going out to dinner or do something that wasn't planned as a hiking/walking/ athletic activity.) Who wants to chance it that on the way back you'll be walking back in cold/ wet conditions if that's even a remote possibility.

Convenience isn't just about time. It's about comfort too.

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Re: How do you value your time?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:25 pm

I value my free time at $0/hour. Everything else is just silly, except maybe minimum wage.

For example, if my free time was valued, for some reason, at a figure higher than I could get a local teenager to mow my lawn, then logic would dictate that I should apparently pay someone to mow my lawn. That is to say, if I thought my free time was valued at $20/hour, then I can pay someone $10/hour to mow my lawn and apparently "save" $10/hour. As if I would be going to work instead of mowing the lawn? No, the options are either sitting on the couch or mowing the lawn.

You're telling me that people sit around on their couch, watching someone mow their lawn and think to themselves, "Glad I paid them to mow it - I'm saving $10/hour! No, wait! I'll value my free time higher! I'm saving $20/hour!"

Doesn't make any sense.

Not only that, it'd be beyond the ridiculous the higher and higher I valued my free time. For example, someone said they value their free time at $250/hour. Well, you can pay someone to put food in your mouth for you for less than that. So does that person pay someone to literally put their dinner in their mouth? You can pay someone less than that to bathe you. Does that person pay someone to bathe them? And dress them, brush their hair, and tie their shoes? If not, then I guess their free time isn't really worth $250/hour.

You may then ask, "If your free time is really worth $0, then you obviously do everything for yourself and never pay a plumber, electrician, mechanic, and so on." Well, considering that I have no idea how to do any of that stuff, it is technically impossible for me to do it, which turns the time to do it into infinity and math pretty much goes out the window when infinity gets involved.

But if it's something I know how to do, like "walk a mile to save $20" you better believe I'm going to park a mile away.

P.S. - To the argument, "Since your free time is valued at $0, just take some of that free time and learn plumbing, etc." To that, I say that it also impossible for me to learn it, so it would again take an infinite amount of time, so that's out the window.

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