2009 The Year That the Value of Time Went Up for Us?
As 2009 begins to wind down I have started reflecting a bit on the year. While the biggest event for most people may have been the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, my wife and I have been through a whirl wind of lifestyle changes as well. With the new position I took when we got back from China, the larger home we purchased in Dec 2008, and our amazing baby girl we welcomed in May, our free time has gone from manageable to non-existent. I imagine most folks espically working parents go through this transition at some point.
Quite dramatically for us, the value of free time has spiraled almost out of control. It seems like ever waking moment this year has been spent working, cleaning or maintaining, or caring for our baby and it had started to zap the life out of us. With no end in sight we started shifting gears and spending money where we could to save us a little precious time.
Some changes around the house we made include:
- We purchased a iRobot Roomba and a Automatic Shower Cleaner to help reduce the work involved in keeping up our home.
- We accelerated the planned purchase of a riding lawn mower - We spent $750 on a 38" riding lawn mower (on clearance) to help cut the time it takes to mow our yard from ~3 hours to ~45 minutes. I had been pushing an 18" walk-behind mower, but it was clear I wasn't able to keep up with the grass.
- We constructed a Media Center with DVR so we could record important shows to us. We might actually lose time with this one, but it gives us a little bit of joy with the flexability of watching when we want to.
- Bought a more comfortable bed to improve what little sleep we are getting. Not sure that this actually saved us any time, but my rational was now that we no longer get 8hrs+ sleep, we needed to make sure what sleep we get is as restful as possible.
So the effect on our personal finances is obvious - we have started spending money to buy us time.
Some other ideas that we could potentially consider are
- Hire a property manager for our rental properties
- Hire someone to clean our house
- Hire someone to maintain our yard
- Subscribe to trash collection service
So far we have drawn the line at one time investments that should continue to save us time, and not gone forward with reoccurring expenses (subscriptions) to help us save time. I think this is an important distinction as our time premium changes we won't have these automatic reoccurring expenses that could continue to erode our savings even if we could no longer really justify the expense.
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