Time is money, we all know that by now. For every 10 minutes you spend doing X, this is 10 minutes you do not get to spend on doing Y. For example, for 10 minutes you spend trying to SAVE money, you lose 10 minutes trying to MAKE MORE money.
Now I often struggle to put a value on my time, as it abounds since I left my day job.
However, unless I really enjoy the task (like making my own bread), I wouldn’t spend hours on an endeavor just for the sake of saving a little bit.
Extreme couponing is often pointed at for being a huge time suck only to save a few pennies. Think about it, all that clipping, ordering, sprucing of the binder for expired deals, only to save £0.30 on sliced bread?
What is worth it is when you are about to check out of a £200 online basket at your favorite store and do a quick search for “favorite store coupon” that will take you less than one minute and may save you 10%, or £20. It won’t work all the time, but I often did it for online grocery shopping, googling “Tesco coupons” almost always landed me free delivery, or a £5 savings for a minute of my time. A £300 hourly rate is pretty solid.
I would also cut the occasional coupon
1. When seeing one for a product I do buy on a regular basis, say my favorite shampoo
2. If non perishable, I may even stock up on it to enjoy the discount, but would not even do it on canned food unless I eat it on a regular basis
3. Assuming I had to go to the supermarket anyway, or it wouldn’t be worth my time or gas money.
That is a lot of ifs and almost never happens. Another if that doesn’t apply would be if I were a stay at home mum with five kids to feed and bored to death while waiting on the soccer field bench with no other way to earn money than clipping coupons. That is taking it a bit far.
Fixing your own stuff
In my ideal life, I am almost self sufficient, able to perform my oil change, fix the leaking sink, climbing on the roof to replace a broken tile… You know, I am cool like that. In real life however, I am often paying for the convenience of not having to do things myself, especially as £200 gets me a full time handyman on my property, who is more able than I am for manual things.
Fixing your own stuff is great if you know what you are doing. Or are willing to learn, so that your newly acquired skill becomes a lifetime skill. For example, knowing how to change a tire will save you the £100+ towing fee you will get charged the next time you get a flat, and the time after that. Totally worth learning if you ask me. But if you learn a one off thing, between the time spent watching tutorials, practicing, and the cost of a potential mistake (it would be unfortunate that for fixing up your roof to save £200 you end up with a £2,000 hospital bill as you fell of the roof), you should fork out the fee and delegate to an expert like Roofs by Rodger.
Walking or cycling to work
This is something I used to do on a regular basis, because I enjoyed the physical activity, and would rather exercise outside than get a gym membership. However, what if you do it only for the sake of saving money? Walk 20 minutes to work and 20 minutes back to save £100 on a monthly bus pass or gas money? That is over 25 hours of your time spent walking every month, or an hourly rate of savings slightly under £4.
Assuming you don’t take a £5 day pass on rainy days that would ruin the saving of a day an a half.
You could spend those 40 minutes at work trying to get a promotion and improving your career, or spend them at home working on building a side business.
While the rate seems higher than the one of extreme couponing, if you are not genuinely into walking or cycling, you should probably give it a pass.