Thursday, April 17, 2008

Frugal Friday: Spending Time to Save Money

I am amazed at the growing trend of people spending money to save time. I know this has always been around, but lately it just seems to be everywhere. (And there are MANY enterprising, industrious people benefiting from it and I applaud them!) I think the oddest showcase I've seen of this habit was a show on some cable channel called: "What's Your Time Worth." The show focused around people spending money on both everyday and extravagant things to save time.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that there are definitely seasons in our lives where we absolutely NEED to spend money to save time (think paper plates in late pregnancy with sick children, etc.). However, I think for those of us opting to live a frugal lifestyle, it is just as important to spend time in order to save money. Amy Dacyczyn, in The Tightwad Gazette, has a wonderful breakdown to help figure out the savings/minute for doing simple money-saving chores, such as washing used tinfoil. I'm just not that mathematically inclined though! And I like to think "big picture" as it relates to my own frugality.

For me, I mainly apply this principle of spending time to save money with my grocery shopping/menu planning/list making, storing and packing away the outgrown clothes of our children or the hand-me-downs we receive from others, and cooking from scratch. But I was recently reminded of just how important it is to be open to this principle in all things. I first heard about the ECBs at CVS when we reconnected the internet 3 months ago. I spent a little time just perusing through blog posts about it, but I never really pushed myself to spend the time to actually learn the system. When I finally admitted to myself that I NEEDED to spend this time to save money, I really read through all I could until I finally got it! (Check out Crystal's series at Money Saving Mom, or Teresa's post at A Life At Home.) What is the value of that hour I spent truly learning the system as compared to the money I will save from here on out. To look at it that way, it's almost invaluable!

So that's my Frugal Friday tip this willing to spend time in order to save money. For many more frugal tips, please be sure to visit Crystal's blog.


Stephanie@AHighandNobleCalling 8:20 AM  

I agree! My husband encouraged me to look at it in a great way: for all the money I save us, for example coupon clipping, menu planning etc, as an hourly wage. When I spend 1 hour on menu planning and coupon shopping, and save our family over $50 that week, that is a great hourly wage!

Laura 10:57 AM  

This is so good! It DOES take time to save money. I hear from people ALL the time who say, "Wow. You must have more time on your hands than I do...I don't have time to do that stuff." (Yeah, I've got all kinds of extra time...) :) It really is worth spending the extra time to save lots of $$$!

Michele 12:01 PM  

So true! :) I wish we had CVS here!
Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and sharing some of your "story." I really enjoyed reading it. I hope the house-selling goes well!
Michele :)

Anonymous,  12:26 PM  

Great post! I like to think of what I do in terms of what it is worth to us too.

It is also helpful in figuring out which things to drop when you have less time - keeping the big savings tasks going is important.


Mom2fur 12:49 PM  

You are so right! I spend several hours a week between couponing, menu planning and shopping. The couponing takes up quite a lot of time. But I look at it as a hobby that pays me back. If I save $60 at the grocery and spent 2 hours on my planning...that translates to $30 an hour! Find me a job that pays money like that while I'm either watching TV or listening to music, and I'll fill out an application today, LOL!

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