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“.