Spending Money vs. Time

Spending Money vs. Time

There are lots of services out there that will do things on your behalf. You can drop your clothes off at the laundromat to get them washed and folded for you. You can purchase your groceries online and have them delivered to the house. You can pay people to mow your lawn and rake the yard.

People’s first reaction when I tell them I get my groceries sent to my house is that I’m spending money for no reason. I’m acting rich. Something like that. But let’s do the breakdown:

Money, Time


The service to get groceries delivered to my house costs $6 US. The average time I spend buying groceries is approximately an hour, start to finish. Is my time worth more than $6 an hour? Oh yes.

Laundry service costs 45 cents a pound. The average drop-off is costing me $45 dollars. But throwing loads in downstairs in the building costs me $3.00 for each load, totalling under $20. Doing laundry is annoying, but I can do other things at the same time. Is my time worth that extra $20? Not really (unless I get way behind).

Making Things to Sell


People will often tell me about a craft they’re making to sell, or some “easy” eBay scheme, and I can’t help myself. I always do the math. “How much do your materials cost? How long does it take to make? How much are you asking for these?” Plink. Plink. You’re making 41 cents an hour. If you have NO income, and you have lots of time, bully for you. But if you’re doing this because you think you’re going to make more money from it, reconsider.

Consider Your Hourly Value

First, decide whether time or money are more important to you, and also which you have more to spare. (Oddly, this is how business runs at the smaller level, right?) If time is more important to you in most cases (and I imagine you’ll agree that it is), consider the trade-offs between spending a little extra money but gaining extra time, versus what you save by doing something yourself.


Consider this outsourcing for your life.

Where are some of the areas you might be able to trade money for time? Here’s a short list. Can you add more?

  • Laundry service
  • Grocery delivery
  • Food delivery
  • Yard service
  • Housecleaning

Now, you might add one more criteria: which of these do you hate to do? Those might get a little extra weight in your decision making process. It might also be important to realize which cost more than others. You probably can’t afford to do all of them.


Are there twinges of guilt? Do you feel like you HAVE to do these things? Why? When all is tallied at the end of your life, will you get extra points for folding your own socks? Or will this time give you a chance to work on your masterwork?

Consider the value of your time, and plan accordingly.

More by this author

7 Uses for a Virtual Machine When Emailing Think Press Release Mail, BrainDump, Mail, Do Stretch Goals Matter You Had me at Insane

Trending in Uncategorized

1 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 2 Lifehack Challenge: Become An Early Riser In 5 Days 3 How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity 4 How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever 5 Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas

Read Next


Last Updated on December 30, 2018

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

This article is the 2nd in the 6-part series, Lifehack Challenge: Become An Early Riser In 5 Days.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?


Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to get up before you go to sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

No more! If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before. Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!


Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a plan for your extra time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day? If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed. You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!


3. Make rising early a social activity

While there’s obvious value in joining a Lifehack Challenge in order to get you started as an early riser, your internet buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am? The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t use an alarm that makes you angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning? I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.


When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get your blood flowing right after waking

If you don’t have a neighbor you can pick fights with at 5am you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head. Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you. If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

More Resources for an Energetic Morning

Featured photo credit: Frank Vex via


Read Next