Finances & Money Frugality

How much is your time worth?

There’s been a lot of discussion over the years about how much your time is worth. I generally ask myself the question “How many hours do I need to work to pay for that?“, which works fairly well to discourage me on reckless or unnecessary purchases, but what about when making decisions regarding my use of time? I found another tool that could help you determine your hourly wage, even during leisure time.

Some people are really cost-oriented and like to know whether it’s worth their time to drive to a different grocery store to save a dollar on canned soup, or when deciding to drive versus fly. It’s like a game to them to maximize their use of time and dollars. Others just don’t care to quantify their time, so this tool really isn’t for them.

MSN’s Time Value Calculator, which takes your salary/wages, work/commute/leisure time, subtracts all your typical expenses and pops out a number that is your “net pay per hour“. What that means is if you could turn that hour into work, then you would earn that additional income.

Utilizing the “Value of Your Time” Tool

What’s useful about the tool is that it can identify areas of your life that you can pay someone to do something versus doing it yourself. However, this could get dangerous if you use it as a bargaining chip with the spouse to try to get yourself out of housework!

For me, I actually like mowing the grass (once I’m actually mowing it, not when I’m thinking about doing it), as well as doing many small home repairs and improvements. I do have a little trust issue about letting others into my home and not being able to monitor whether they’re doing it right; when it’s your own home, you tend to take more care in doing it right…usually.

Looking at my own “net pay per hour”, I could easily justify paying a lawn service to mow our grass and even a maid service to clean our home, but I like doing it myself (and keeping that money for other things!). But it could be a useful tool just to determine your basis for answering “how many hours do I need to work to pay for this“.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • I think my time is more valuable than most any mundane job :-). Although with our current debt load, my equation doesn’t seem to work out and I still find myself mowing the lawn. It seems it will be much later until I can live like no one else.

  • I’ve never been one of those who’ve obsessed over what my time was worth. I probably should, but I think I avoid looking at it because I don’t want the equation to come back and tell me I’m working for free with as much time as I put in. But, one of these days I’ll sit down and look at it.

    I find that I’d like to hire a maid service simply because I’d rather use that time to be working on other things, but I still struggle with this. I also have a hard time justifying that expense when it’s something I’m perfectly capable of doing myself. Perhaps I really should look at the equation and see if it’s more cost beneficial to do it myself or outsource.

    I definitely think having my free time is way more valuable then what I get paid at work. While I like getting paid, I generally prefer to have my free time as opposed to working overtime. It’s interesting to see how others perceive this, though. Thanks for sharing!

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