Financial Literacy

Finding Balance Between Spending Money and Saving Time

The key is knowing when paying for the convenience is within your budget, and when to grin and bear it yourself. Here are a few tips for determining the difference, allowing you to find a balance between spending money and saving time.

Woman Balancing

One of the hardest things to learn is that time is our most valuable commodity. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Lost time is never found again.”  For busy professionals, entrepreneurs and stay-at-home parents, it’s often worth spending money to get time-consuming tasks done for you, in favor of putting your energy into something more important, like the last day of a huge project.

PL_Larger-LTE-1.jpg

The key is knowing when paying for the convenience is within your budget, and when to grin and bear it yourself. Here are a few tips for determining the difference, allowing you to find a balance between spending money and saving time.

Spend: When It’s Something Someone Else Can Do Better

You have many talents, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can fix your broken sink or repair your front bumper. It’s times like these when paying someone else to do it better may be to your benefit. In many cases, if you try to do it yourself, you’ll end up making a mistake, which will could cost more money and time down the road, anyway.

Instead, hire a professional and get it done right the first time, and find a business or person who will in fact do it well and within your budget. The best way to ensure quality of service is through referrals from friends and family. Text a few people or post on social media asking for recommendations. Facebook even has a built in feature for this. You can also check out sites like Angie’s List and Thumbtack to further vet your options.

Save: When You Could Learn Something in the Process

Yes, hanging an entire picture wall is a pain. Not only does it take forever, but you may end up with a few crooked photos that you just don’t care to fix. While it would be nice to pay someone to do this, it’s a task you can definitely tackle yourself with a little extra effort. After watching a few YouTube videos, and preparing yourself for an evening of practicing patience, you’ll be ready for the challenge.

A few other instances when you could learn something—even begrudgingly—rather than paying someone to do it, includes:

  • DIY-ing a small furniture restoration
  • Hanging shelves
  • Refilling a flat tire
  • Basic car repairs like changing oil or replacing windshield wipers

If you don’t know how to do it yet, ask a friend to help. Not only will you get quality time together, but learning how to do something you couldn’t before will likely save you time (and money) in the future as well.

Spend: When It’s Cheaper to Outsource Than Do Yourself

It’s often cheaper to outsource when you consider what you could be doing in the time you’re losing. For example, if you spend an hour waiting in line you lose a billable hour for your business.

You may be surprised to learn the various jobs you can hire someone to do. Cheap Money’s Strangest (And Coolest) Jobs People Agreed to Do on TaskRabbit includes hiring someone to impersonate them at a birthday party and paying someone to spend hours playing with a needy dog. The app alsolists dozens of tasksusers are willing to do, including:

  • Event planning
  • Furniture assembly
  • Heavy lifting
  • Accounting
  • Organization
  • Errands
  • Packing and shipping
  • Research

Save: When You Can Get it For Free

Yes, it may be convenient to buy coffee on the go because you’d rather sleep in. But, is it necessary? Probably not. Not only are coffee makers inexpensive, but it likely takes less than five minutes to brew a cup while you get ready. Before you walk out the door, just pour it into your to-go mug and enjoy. In the end, you could be savingup to $1,000 each month.

There are plenty of other small conveniences that you can find a free or cheap alternative option for, like using the lite version of your favorite app or bringing lunch to work. Ask yourself, “what are some ways that I can cut back on spending without losing a lot of extra time?”

Spend: When It’s a Double-Whammy

Consider this scenario: It’s the middle of a stressful work week, you’re still negotiating this year’s raise, and not saving quite as much as you’d like. Suddenly, your washer breaks. If you’re renting, you’re in luck; your landlord will likely replace it. If you own your home, however, the financial burden falls on your shoulders—and as that dawns on you, your first thought is: I just don’t have the time or money to deal with this right now.

In this scenario, the best decision may simply be to spend on a wash and fold service, which will be cheaper than replacing the washer temporarily. The best part: you’ll get a few extra hours back in your week too. According to, Do It Yourself or Wash and Fold Laundry, it takes 100 minutes to do one load of laundry. And that’s just one load. Multiply that by 3 and you’ve spent five hours of your week doing laundry.

When the time comes to invest in a new washer, it may also be wise to spend a little extra on a newer model, using a personal loan to finance the purchase. While purchasing a used model will be cheaper in the short-term, personal loans have a fixed rate and term, typically 3 to 5 years, giving you a line of site for your pay-off date. Spending more up-front also means you’ll likely save time and money later when you’re not finding someone to fix another broken washer in the middle of a stressful week.

Finding balance is all about you

At the end of the day, you know what your time is worth. That’s what determines what you pay for and what you do yourself. Make a list of tasks that are taking up a lot of time, and consider how you could outsource them to someone else. Now, research pricing, and decide what’s worth the cost and what isn’t. It may take some time, but eventually you’ll find a balance between spending money and saving your most precious commodity: time.

PL-Thin-LTE-1.jpg

Read more

PL-Sidebar-LTE-1.jpg

Join our mailing list

Latest

Couple learning what is consumer debt

Debt Consolidation

Debt isn't always bad; it's in how you manage it. Prosper covers what is consumer debt and how to manage it in part 2...

A college student holding her credit card and using a smartphone while walking in the city A college student holding her credit card and using a smartphone while walking in the city

Credit Management

Student credit cards can help you build a successful financial future when handled responsibly. If you're looking at applying for your first credit card,...

Woman managing the debt while sitting on the floor with her dog and a pile of bills Woman managing the debt while sitting on the floor with her dog and a pile of bills

Financial Literacy

We could all use a refresher on how to avoid common financial mistakes. Here are our 4 best money management tips to keep your...

December 2022 Performance Update December 2022 Performance Update

Investor Center

Today we are sharing performance data from the Prosper Portfolio for December 2022. Highlights from the Prosper Performance Update – December 2022: Portfolio insights...

How to get ahead with money part 1 - Piggy bank How to get ahead with money part 1 - Piggy bank

Credit Management

Learn all about credit with Prosper’s new money management series. Each article focuses on a different money strategy to help you set smart financial...

A young woman looking at her finances while sitting at a dining table A young woman looking at her finances while sitting at a dining table

Financial Literacy

Here are eight strategies to get the most out of your tax refund and hit your money goals this year and beyond.