Budgeting your money and your time

I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said that time is money.  There are times when my time is worthy more than my money.

For example, while running errands I stopped a two stores yesterday looking, inter alia, for a refill for the thing I use to wash the outside of windows of the house.  No joy.  Using my amazon app on my phone I found the same product available for slightly more than the price that was on the empty slot on the shelf at the store.  Since I have an amazon “Prime” account (o how that has saved money over the year!) which gives you free shipping on most things, standing there in the store where the product should have been, I hit the button on the phone and ordered it.  It cost slightly more than it would have had the stores had it in stock, but I wasn’t going to go to a third store and waste more time and gas for the difference in price, or come back to find it another day.  My time is worth more than my money when it comes to certain things. Now it will come to my door within a day or so and I don’t have to think about it anymore.

So, when I saw this cartoon, I thought I would share the observations.

Technorati Tags:

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Budgeting your money and your time

  1. jpwwhite says:

    Father, As a priest, you also make a great economist. Time is the whole point of an economy – it’s the most scarce resource in the world, for us all, and the creation of time or the improvement in the way we spend time represents the creation of a higher standard of living. Often we focus on how many steel mills or factories an economy has to determine how successful it is when really it’s only the creation of time that matters. This is important because we often worry about sending manufacturing jobs to China. When you think about it, the richer we become the more we spend on trying to save time by out-sourcing a lot of the things we need or want done. When we do that, we generally need someone nearby to do it for us. This is how a services economy creates jobs. I think part of the problem for the US and much of the West has been that the rising cost of things (gas, raw food and goods from China) means less money to employ someone to help us save time. Perhaps, counter-intuitively, a service economy can create a stronger local community. James

  2. Tom in NY says:

    As our readers know, οικουμενη – household management – is the root of our “economics”. Rev. Moderator shows the “economic way of thinking” by pricing his alternatives. And when you study the mathematics of compound interest you’ll see how time can indeed be money. Tempus fugit.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  3. takosan says:

    On the other hand, you should never forget that unlike a penny earned, you don’t have to pay taxes on a penny saved.

  4. SonofMonica says:

    takosan – Sure you do. They tax you on it when you die.

  5. teomatteo says:

    but Father… but Father… have you taken into consideration the cost of your phone and the monthly cost of being connected to Amazon?… doesn’t seem negligble to me…. I say… leave the window a bit dirty and let the rain wash them :) [These things hvae been considered. First, we have to take care of things. Leaving your house looking awful is a sign of disrespect to others. Also, I like good strong light coming in and I enjoy looking out on the world with a clear view. I want neither rose-colored glass or glasses and I keep the windows free of grunge. And it is easier to shoot photos of birds with clear glass. I hope you enjoy them. So, I balance the expense of the window cleaning stuff against the pleasure I have from the clear view, to which I have assigned a value that outweighs the cost. As for the phone, I have it as a way of posting to this blog and managing this blog when out and around. Therefore, you, friend, can help me defray the cost of the phone by making a donation if this blog provides a resource and a pleasure to which you have ascribed a value! o{];¬) ]

  6. Liz says:

    In your example I would have done the same thing or something similiar. I would have come home and ordered it on Amazon. I don’t have Amazon Prime, but I try to group my things so that they qualify for free shipping. They ususally have the items too. It’ so frustrating to go some place and not find the item.

    In the second example, however, (the cartoon)…perhaps I haven’t had enough Mystic Monk coffee yet today, but my math tells me that if you had a 20-gallon tank you would save $2.00 for you effort. That’s a savings for $24 per hour!! (In my honking big 12-passenger I would save $3.30. That would be $39.60 per hour.) I don’t know about the nine-minute part. I suppose if it took me 9 minutes I would “only” be making $22 for my efforts. I’d drive the 5-minutes. That’s not minimum wage though. It’s also tax-free. (Of course this is all presuming your tank is nearly empty.)

    I think you have to do like Father and constantly weigh whether it’s worth it. I do get weary of people who say we are so “lucky” to be able to adopt or have a large family or afford to homeschool or have Catholic education or be able to donate to religious etc. They usually say this as they are pulling out their biggie drinks and biggie fries. Recently, I looked and I found that I had 70-pounds of butter in the freezer! That may seem insane, but it was on sale for $1.99 instead of $3.48. That’s $122 in savings for little effort. I admit we do use a lot of butter because we bake a lot of our own foods.

    Some people say I take this stuff too seriously and I know it would be wrong to get too wrapped up in the details, but it’s one way for a large family to “survive” on one income. It IS possible.

    I’ve always thought priests and mothers had a lot in common…they must both be willing to sometimes get up in the middle of the night, to be on call when needed a good part of the day, to give of themselves right when they sit down to have a bite to eat or when their coffee is piping hot, and to know how to economize.

  7. As I have written at other times, seminaries should provide workshops for men on economics, in the broad sense of the term.

  8. Paul says:

    Dear Father,

    I plan to use this column to explain to my dear wife the foolishness of driving 10 miles to save five cents on a carton of soy milk. I am sure that with your implicit backing of my position, she will take this correction in the kind and helpful spirit with which I offer it.

    Optimistically,
    Paul

  9. Tom says:

    A tad off topic, but I just learned that Am. Prime also gives you access to streaming movies. I have not looked into it to see what they offer, but it could be goodbye to Netflix. I find I can save in little ways like this. It adds up.

  10. jasoncpetty says:

    Often we focus on how many steel mills or factories an economy has to determine how successful it is when really it’s only the creation of time that matters. This is important because we often worry about sending manufacturing jobs to China. When you think about it, the richer we become the more we spend on trying to save time by out-sourcing a lot of the things we need or want done. When we do that, we generally need someone nearby to do it for us.

    The leisure of the unemployed is not the basis of culture. Sorry, but this argument drives me crazy. Liberty in the near term for slavery in the long term.

  11. Ed the Roman says:

    You can only look at it as working for less than minimum wage if you could have billed the time.

  12. Ed the Roman says:

    Also, a country that cannot do the high end metal bending of arms manufacture defends itself on the sufferance of those that can.

  13. BobP says:

    The real laugh is on those who go from store to store looking for the cheapest bottled tap water.

  14. StanS says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    I agree to your post “As I have written at other times, seminaries should provide workshops for men on economics, in the broad sense of the term.” I recently graduated at the local seminary with a MA Systematic Theology that they offer to the laity. Back in the 1980s I did my graduate work in Economics and continue to work in an economic research environment. I have suggested that they offer an economics course to the seminarians not just to think financially but also systematically. Economics is a great way to challenge your mind both in analytic thinking and using mathematics. Greg Mankiw has a wonderful introductory textbook. So far I have no takers but I continue to pray for this outcome.
    May God bless you.

  15. Martial Artist says:

    @StanS,

    If they were to do so, I would certainly hope that they would include some exposure to the Austrian school. Far too much “education” in economics in the past (such as when I took the intro courses in the mid-1960s) focused entirely on macroeconomics and Keynes. Menger, von Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard are much needed antidotes.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  16. StanS says:

    Hi Keith,

    Your are correct that a more diverse teaching is needed. I would add Heinrich Pesch to your list. One of the reasons why I recently took up learning German. Fr. Pesch’s work has received very limited exposure to the English speaking world.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up for discussion, Stan