Why spending money on convenience makes you happierWhen we talk about buying back your time, what we’re really talking about is convenience. These are purchases that make your day-to-day more convenient — thereby saving money. Some examples:
- Travel apps
- Uber / Lyft
- Pre-cooked meals
- Grocery delivery
- Personal trainers
- We LOVE being busy. People relish being busy even if the time spent isn’t worthwhile. It makes us feel like we’re getting a lot of work done when, in reality, we’re getting WAY less done than we could.
- We feel guilty when we spend on convenience. A lot of people look at things like ride-sharing apps and house cleaners like unnecessary luxuries despite how helpful they can actually be. This is shaped by culture, society, and our upbringing.
- We don’t realize how much time it can save us. We just don’t know what we don’t know. As such, people don’t realize how many untold hours they could be saving by delegating some of their routine tasks.
How to buy back your timeBuying back time is going to look different for different people. After all, your life and interests are going to be much different than everyone else’s. However, you can find out what you should be delegating to others by asking yourself two questions: Where do I add the most value — and where do I add the least? I Will Teach You to Be Rich’s CEO Ramit Sethi wrote about this once for our sister site, GrowthLab. In that article, he outlines a good system for recognizing the areas you can spend money to buy back your time:
- Double down on where you add the most value. Recognize your talents and passions and lean into the areas you really care about (e.g., working on your business, writing, learning languages).
- Delegate the areas where you’re value neutral. These are the things you’re ambivalent about doing in your day-to-day life and could live without performing (e.g., cooking, driving, making appointments).
- Delegate the areas where you’re value negative. These are the areas of your life you dislike doing and you view more as a chore than anything else (e.g., laundry, cleaning, taxes).
- Double down on where you add the most value. Maybe you’re a fantastic parent and really know how to take care of your kids. That might be something you want to spend more time doing. Awesome! You should lean into this.
- Delegate the areas where you’re value neutral. As a parent, you often find yourself cooking for your kids — but you’re pretty ambivalent about it. You can buy back hours out of your week by purchasing pre-cooked meals from a private chef.
- Delegate the areas where you’re value negative. You HATE doing housekeeping work like laundry, scrubbing, and polishing — which is totally fine. Luckily, you can outsource all of that work by getting a housekeeper. Boom. Instant hours back on your schedule.
7 areas to buy back your timeNow let’s take a look at seven areas in our lives where we can buy back our time. I’ve included a price range for how much you’ll be spending for each service — as well as how much time you can buy back.
1. LaundryWhat you’re currently doing: Taking load after load of laundry to the dingy laundry room in your apartment basement you share with a dozen other families. How you can buy back your time: Pick up and drop off laundry services like Rinse.com. Cost: $1.75 / lb or $59 / month Time saved: 1 – 2 hours per week
2. HousecleaningWhat you’re currently doing: Scrubbing, cleaning, and vacuuming every inch of your house and still somehow not getting it clean enough.
How you can buy back your time: Hiring a housekeeper.Cost: $50 – $100 / hour Time saved: 5 – 20 hours / week
3. TransportationWhat you’re currently doing: Using public transportation, walking, or biking to save money. How you can buy back your time: Using a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft. Cost: $5 – $15 / ride Time saved: Variable, depending on commute.
4. Home improvementWhat you’re currently doing: Watching YouTube videos while risking life and limb to repair issues around your house. How you can buy back your time: Hiring a repairman. Cost: Variable. This depends on the work that needs to be done and the extent of damages. However, some appliance servicers charge anywhere between $100 – $200 / hour Time saved: 3 – 6 hours / week
5. CookingWhat you’re currently doing: Cooking every one of your meals and trying to figure out why your food doesn’t look like it does in the pictures online EVEN THOUGH YOU FOLLOWED THE DIRECTIONS. How you can buy back your time: Order food to be delivered via apps like GrubHub or Postmates. Cost: $10 – $20 / meal Time saved: 6 hours / week
6. GroceriesWhat you’re currently doing: Going to the grocery store each week, forgetting to bring your reusable grocery bags, and hating yourself for it. How you can buy back your time: Grocery delivery sites like freshdirect.com. Cost: Price of groceries, plus shipping is $5.99 / order Time saved: 1 – 2 hours / week
7. Dog walkingWhat you’re currently doing: Taking Fido out three times a day including the occasional 3 a.m. bathroom break because he accidentally drank too much water in the evening. How you can buy back your time: Dog walking services like Wag and DogWalker.com. Cost: $10 – $20 / hour Time saved: 5 – 7 hours per week
How are you going to buy back your time?All told, if you outsourced each of the seven areas above, you could potentially save 46 hours each week! That’s more than SIX hours per day. Now here’s something I want to hear from you: What would you do if you had six extra hours a day? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you would do if you bought back your time.
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