Thursday, May 12, 2011

How much is your time worth?

The other day, we were at warehouse store getting some stuff for a BBQ.  I love the fact that I can get 15+ pieces of fillet Mignon for about $65 to $75.  So a stake dinner is only about $10 at most.  That really not bad considering if we go out to eat the cheapest is $10 per person and does not include tax & tip. 

While we were there, we came across some educational workbooks for kids.  So I thought, since I am little LLF1 is going to spend the summer with the grandparents, he can do a little of practicing of ABC's and 123s everyday.  This saves big time since daycare or camp costs $2000+ over the summer.  $25 for 2 workbooks is great.  However, my mother-in-law mention that there is a store that sell these educational items and may have the same thing for less.  The key word is MAY.  This store educational specialty store is not really far away, but it not really along any route we usually take.  It is close enough that we occasionally pass by it.  When Mr. LLF hear this, he immediately said "I am not going to spend an hour just to save a dollar."  All this happened while we still were at the warehouse store, while I was looking over the difference between the few workbooks selections they have there.  So we just grab 2 we there were good and went on our way.

What Mr LLF said got me thinking: "How much is your time really worth?"  In the name of saving money, we often shop around for the best deal.  Sometimes, I find myself going to a couple of stores just to compare the prices before I buy anything.  Of course, when it comes to anything over $100, I make sure I am getting the lowest price for the best rate item(reliability, usability, etc).  I also make the point of looking at weekly sales ads to see when and where I can buy certain items(i.e. I would go to the store that has pasta sauce for $1/jar, and also stock up on other sale items there).  Sometimes, my in-laws will go to 2-3 stores, all near each other, for different items that are on sale).

Going to several stores even though it saves quite a bit of money, but it takes a lot of time(parking, browsing, waiting in line at the register).  How much am I saving in dollars and how much time is it costing me?  In the case of the workbooks, I didn't question Mr LLF when he didn't care to do any comparison shopping at all.  We know that the warehouse store price is usually not too bad.  Notice I did not say that it was less than retail stores, because sometimes it isn't.  I knew that that one purchase might have be $2 - $4 off potentially, but I do not have to go out of my way to get to the other store for something that MAY be less and spend even 15mins comparing and buying.  Personally, I see it this way:

My job pays me $35/hr, and after tax it's more like $20/hr (I like to only look at my net earnings because that's a more conservation way of counting my money).  If I have to spend 30 minutes doing some money saving, it has to be saving $10+ or more.  Usually, that not very hard to do.  If I spend 10mins looking at adds and coupons, I can usually fine $10 in savings versus regular price.

So how much is your time worth?

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