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Frugal Friday Week 26

Time is Money


How often do we here this? And is it something that we toss aside or do we take this cliche to heart? If the date on the milk is far out enough and I buy an extra container, Jane (my wife, as in Joe and Jane Taxpayer) warns me it may spoil before it’s finished. I remark back that having to go out just for that item, not as part of a regular trip to the supermarket, would cost over 30 minutes of time and nearly $1.50 in gas. So I take the risk. I know how far we live from the supermarket but how do I value that half hour? If you make $50,000 per year, it’s equal to about $25 per hour. On the other hand, as I clip coupons from the Sunday paper, and Jane asks how that’s different, I tell her that I discovered the fallacy of my ‘time is money’ rationalizing. One can’t always convert their time to their day job’s hourly rate. Sure, some people can put in overtime, but that’s another story. When I am sitting with the Sunday paper, drinking my first cup of coffee, enjoying the silence, I may not be ready for the news. Cutting coupons while listening to NPR is relaxing to me.

Remember though, a dollar saved isn’t a dollar earned, it’s quite more. Anywhere from $1.50 to $2.00 depending on your tax rate. Reading elsewhere last week I ran into an even more extreme result. The saving rate in the US is now back up to the 5% range. This means that of every $20 one makes, on average, they are saving just $1. So you might think of the dollar saved by cutting a few coupons as $20 you’d otherwise have to earn to save that buck. If that doesn’t get you rethinking the couponing game, why not try this? Think of something you wish to buy, maybe a big TV, or iPod, whatever. When you use a coupon at the store, you get to drop the saved money in a jar toward that wanted item. Last I did this, I tracked all my deals for a year and found the savings to exceed $2000. I may do this again as a monthly installment of this Frugal Friday series.

Enjoy the weekend.

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