What if… instead of paying for your car with cash you headed down to the dealership, rolled up your sleeves and washed or serviced 200 cars each month to pay it off. It would be like something out of an old-timey movie where you forget your wallet and have to wash the dishes to pay off your bill.

We all know the old saying ‘time is money’, but I’ve never really thought of it in a literal sense.

Every time I purchase a double flat white with a chocolate croissant for brekkie I’m in essence paying with 20 minutes of my life. Now that thought seems to carry a hell of a lot more baggage than just handing over a R50 note.

What if I asked you to give me 4 days of your time 9am – 5pm, I would find some things for you to do, and in exchange I would buy you a new flat screen TV? Or if I asked you to give me 3 hours of your time and I would buy you and a partner dinner? Would you agree?

Most people would really have to think about this offer because we value our time so highly. I mean, 4 days is a long time. There is so much I want to do with that time myself but that is essentially what you are doing every time you buy something. You are exchanging money for a product. But more so your valuable time.

So while you don’t actually have to hit the kitchen after dining out and scrub pots and pans to pay for the meal, it is good to remember that every purchase you make you are also paying with the time it took to earn that R450.

Being able to translate my money into time is a helpful way to put my purchases into perspective. Do I really need another R1500 pair of Nikes or would I rather put that hard earned money (and time) toward my vacation fund?

If I think of my money that way I am not only contributing cash to future me on vacation but also my time. In the near future I will be meandering around the streets of Paris, I will turn a cobbled street corner and spot the cosiest Parisian cafe. I will sit down with my book, order a double flat white and a chocolate croissant and delight in the fact that past me has given present me this 1 hour and 15 euro to enjoy this blissful moment.

While this method of thinking doesn’t necessarily help me save money on a day to day basis, it does help me spend money on things that actually matter to me. My time and purchases have greater value now. Because at the end of the day, no matter how much I wish it were so, I am not a wizard with magical powers and money doesn’t appear out of thin air.

Time is money, and money is also your precious time. So use it wisely.

You can work out your hourly rate with the following calculation:
[Take home pay] ÷ 176* = [Your hourly rate]

*Based on an average of 176 working hours per month.

Taryn Bain

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Taryn works with 22seven, has a slight obsession with food, astronomy, history and half finishing at least a dozen books at a time.
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