If you’ve ever struggled with whether or not to get on the tollway because it costs money, this post is for you.
In our world today, there are so many offers to save you time, but they all cost money. The problem is that to live a modest lifestyle costs a lot. Unless you are excellent at living below your means and being conscious of your spending, money seems to be always in short supply.
There’s no denying that money makes life easier. Money can simplify your life and provide opportunities. But it can’t buy you happiness. And it can’t buy you the things that bring about true long-term happiness:
- A long life
When Instacart first came out, I was a single mom of four beautiful little people. I debated whether or not I wanted to use it. Sure, the idea of getting my groceries delivered to my doorstep without ever setting foot in a grocery store with a toddler sounded amazing. But did I want to spend an extra $25 to do it when I was on such a tight budget?
How much was my time and energy worth? Would I be foolish enough to throw money away on such a luxury? Would using this service make me less of a mom?
At first, I tried to approach it logically. I did the math. How much do I get paid each hour? Is this service worth part of my hourly wage?
Then, I realized – I’m not just paying money for a service. I’m spending money on something that will help me conserve my mental, physical, and emotional energy. The energy I save from utilizing a grocery service like Instacart can be used on other more important things – like time with my family. Saving 1.5 hours at the grocery store means that I will have the time and energy to make dinner, sit down with my kids, and enjoy it.
I’d say that’s worth every penny.
I can easily mow the lawn myself, and I actually enjoy doing it. Paying someone to help me take care of my lawn seems unnecessary, but not if it means that I can use that time to make memories with my loved ones. I already work all week.
The last thing I want to do is spend more time away from my family.
How Much Money Is Your Time Worth?
If you have to commute into the city, you’ve probably debated about whether or not it’s a good idea to spend $10 on the toll road. Let’s do the math. Twenty dollars each day ends up being $100 each week. That’s $400 each month.
Imagine all you can do with an extra $400 a month.
It’s hard to justify spending $400 a month to shorten your commute, but how much is more time at home with your family worth? How much is more time pursuing a new hobby or getting to read a thought-provoking book worth to you? What if driving home on the tollway would reduce the emotional energy you expend in bumper-to-bumper traffic?
These are all choices we have to make.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. We have to decide what’s best for ourselves and for our families. Sometimes these “luxuries” (toll payments, house cleaners, babysitters, meal service, eating out, lawn service, grocery delivery, etc.) make sense for a season or even for a day.
There are also seasons when these options are unrealistic or simply not possible.
Research has shown that spending money on time-saving activities actually made people happier than spending money on material goods. Spending money on services that provide us with more time and less stress can only make us happier. Spending money on things that can be done by someone else gives you more freedom and margin in your days.
You are opening up a window of time for things you want to do versus things you have to do. By paying for a service, you are conserving your energy and creating time for more important things.
Your Time Is Valuable — Spend It Wisely
My time is precious and I’m selective about who I spend it with. In addition to spending time with the people I love, I want to spend time filling my own cup – so that I have something to offer myself and those around me. I want to look back and remember that I said yes to myself and to the things that bring me joy.
I want to know that I did something memorable with my time.
After my divorce, a dear friend blessed me with a cleaning lady every other week for six months! This was by far one of the most loving and generous gifts I’ve ever received. Having that help and support made it possible for me to tend to the needs of my children and provide some margin for myself – as I sought to create a new “normal” as a single mom.
This extraordinary gift made me feel seen during a very difficult transition in my life.
The energy we have available to us may be our most valuable “currency”. We only have so much energy each day, and it’s hard to replenish. We have to be cautious about how and where we spend our energy. Often, the energy cost far outweighs the monetary expenditure.
What do I mean by the energy cost? The energy cost is how much physical, emotional, and mental energy you put out for a person, circumstance, project, job, or task.
How to Save More Time and Mental Energy
The truth is, our time is in such short supply. It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give to someone else. You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give of your time, you are giving a part of your life that you will never get back.
What are your goals and priorities? You need to allocate the resources needed for the things that matter the most: you, the people you love, and the things you love to do.
Simply put, our time and energy are worth more than money.
We all possess energy, and we all burn energy. Sometimes the energy we expend feels mostly physical (think about the energy we use to clean our homes or to do a 45-minute spin class at the gym). But usually, the energy we spend involves more than just the physical output.
It might surprise you to hear that most of the energy we expend is emotional.
We use a lot of mental energy just to complete the two previous examples. For instance, if you are cleaning the house, you may need to think about how long it will take to wash and dry the sheets. If it’s going to take 2.5 hours, then that needs to be the first thing you do.
To save yourself time, you’ll want to gather all the supplies you need to clean the bathroom – so that you can avoid walking back and forth from the supply cabinet to the bathroom.
Before you clean the kitchen, you may decide to go ahead and bake those blueberry muffins you need for the potluck later today. Why? Because it makes sense to mess up the kitchen before you clean it.
If you value your time and a clean house, these thoughts will pop into your head and you’ll need to deal with them. These thoughts and the planning involved to take on these tasks utilize your mental energy.
In order to go to the gym for a 45-minute spin class, you have to plan for it. You have to take time to look over your calendar, register for the class, make sure you have childcare (if you have children), and gather everything you need.
Your Energy and Mental Exhaustion
Mental energy is composed of:
You have to be willing to put in the mental energy to engage in cognitive work. Often the mental energy needed to perform these tasks can leave you feeling drained.
We also use emotional energy to complete these tasks. Maybe you feel guilty for trying to go to a spin class because your husband will have to take over the morning routine or you won’t get to walk your son to the bus stop. Maybe you’re feeling emotionally drained after a long day with a difficult boss. And cleaning the house or trying to make time for a spin class may seem like too much right now.
Emotional exhaustion is very real.
Unresolved emotions can drag you down. Holding in your feelings and emotions causes anger and resentment to build – which can suck your energy reserves dry. Avoiding confrontation is another way we drain our emotional batteries. It takes a lot of energy to push down our feelings and keep our mouths shut!
Protect Your Time and Energy
Negative thoughts can also drain your energy supply. Replaying negative experiences or interactions over and over in your head harms your emotional energy supply. It’s always better to acknowledge your pain, spend time resolving issues, and dealing with emotional upsets. Find ways to heal.
By identifying people or situations that drain you – can help protect your emotional energy reserves. Creating boundaries within your relationships can help preserve your emotional state. Your time and energy are worth protecting.
We all get the same 24 hours every given day. We all have opportunities to make money, but we only have so much energy to spend each day. For each person, the amount of energy you have to expend will vary. The energy we have available is dependent on our environment, physical health, mental health, and circumstances.
We need to build awareness and understand ourselves. It’s important to recognize what gives us energy and what depletes it. Doing mini check-ins with ourselves during the day can help us make better decisions regarding our energy output. Examining our habits and routines to look for opportunities to utilize some of the helpful services that are offered to lighten our load can be worthwhile.
Incorporating ways to replenish our energy supply will contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. Creating time and space for rest and relaxation are essential in recharging our batteries. You’ll be able to do more of what you love when you are intentional about how you spend your time and energy.
Did you like this blog? Leave me a comment below. And if it doesn’t cost you too much time and energy, would you share this blog with a friend?