I think our
Especially there are those of us in the financial independence (FI) and financial independence retire early (FIRE) community that has a laser focus on investing and life optimization that we forget about investing in time. Yet one could argue we are so focused on time is the reason why we are pursuing FI/FIRE so that we no longer have to trade time for money. The end goal is to be able to do what we want with our time.
So the age-old question is how can we buy more time. This topic is brought up in the FI/FIRE community fairly often. It’s usually laid out in the discussion around paying for help. Like paying a cleaning service to clean your house, someone to do your yard work and well you get the picture.
This basically allows you to free up time to pursue other things you want to do. Now is this free
It depends on where are you currently at on your financial journey. Do you fully understand how this cost affects your bottom line? Do you understand how it affects your FI/FIRE goals? Are you adding this in as a long term living expense or is this just a short term expense? These are all questions I’d consider if it was worth it or not. For some, it is for some it is not. For most, I fear that they don’t even know the answer to these questions.
This topic has been on an ongoing epic battle in my life. On one side of it, I want to pay someone to do all of these things and more to get my time back. Yet I’m also huge on optimizing and found ways to hack this or better ways to tackle these things without the extra ongoing costs. My biggest hack is I try to minimize ongoing costs or eliminate them completely.
Instead of outsourcing all of these tasks to someone else for money I simply try to eliminate the task. If I can’t eliminate the task I simply minimize it in such a way I get more time back. I think this is a pretty fucking epic hack If you ask me. So let’s use yard work as an example. Well, I don’t own a house and rent a luxury apartment. I just completely eliminated the tasks of home maintenance and yard work. That right there frees up so much time. How much time you might be asking yourself? Well, I researched just that question. To my surprise, it ranged from 10 minutes a day all the way to 2 hours a day. I tend to think around 12 min a day is a fair assessment. Let’s have some fun and I’ll break down the math below.
This break down is only yard work and does not include home maintenance, personal experience will vary.
- Day – 12 min
- Week – 1.5 hours
- Month – 6 hours
- Year – 3 days
So by me eliminating that task altogether, I would be freeing up a nice chunk of time. That’s 3 days a year, which might not sound like much but this is just one task. Cleaning your house is another good one to examine. I have thought about a cleaning service to get a deep clean once a month. Yet I can’t seem to pull the trigger. I have optimized this task by simply not owning a lot of stuff and renting a living space that is the perfect size for what I need. Too often people buy and rent living spaces bigger than they need. This creates more space to clean. On top of that, they buy more things than they need to fill these spaces. Again making it even more time consuming to clean. Basically, they are creating a situation that will take more time away from their lives. This is a very instructing concept most people don’t even think about when purchasing things.
I spend about 30 min a week cleaning. What I have implemented now is a system where I’ll clean one area for 10 min 3x a week. So I could probably eliminate 90% of that time by hiring a cleaning service to clean once a month. Going rates seem about $50-$100 in my area. Is spending about $60 a month worth me getting back 2 hours? At first glance, it seems like a HELL YESS. Yet once I really broke it down not so much
- Month – $60
- Year- $720
- 5 Years – $3,600
Once I broke the math down I could not pull the trigger. What I really thought about was what else would I do with those 10 min blocks 3x a week. My answer was not much maybe sit for another 10 min or play on the computer. There is not much I could do during those 10 mins that would have a positive impact. Another way I look at it is I’m moving around more for those 10 mins and burning calories. Finding the silver lining in things helps me stay happy in life.
My task that took the most time was cleaning my floors at my place. No matter what I did it just took too long. So I decided to buy one of those robot vacuums. I picked up a Shark Ion Robot 85r for $250 on Amazon on sale. Not only that I got about 5% back for using my Amazon credit card. After owning it for a few weeks this thing is amazing. I can set it on a schedule to clean or simply just turn it on any time of the day. On top of that I can turn it on to clean the floor from anywhere I have internet with the Shark app. Was it a splurge? Yes, it was and well worth the money in my book. I plan to use it for many years.
This was just my thoughts on the topic of buying back our time. Hopefully, it helps you analyze your situation and figure out what is best for your lifestyle. I would love to hear how you buy your time back and your hacks!
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