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# Converting time into money

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Valentin Flauraud/Reuters/File

(Read caption) An employee poses with a Patek Philippe wristwatch from the collection of musician Eric Clapton during an auction preview at Christie's in Geneva in this November 2012 file photo. A frugal task that cuts your expenses by a certain amount is just as good as working for that money, Hamm writes.

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What is an hour of your time and energy worth?

In simplest terms, an hour of your time is worth whatever you’re paid for an hour’s worth of work at your job. After all, you’re repeatedly willing to spend your time and energy at that rate, so it must be an exchange rate you’re happy with.

In fact, that’s a pretty good metric to apply to the rest of the time that you have. If there’s a frugality tactic that can earn you a better hourly rate than what you make at work, why wouldn’t you do it?

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Let’s say I can make a batch of laundry detergent in fifteen minutes that, after expenses, saves me \$6 over the store brand. Since I need laundry detergent, I end up saving about \$24 for every hour of my effort.

Another example is making bulk meals in advance. If a meal costs me \$6 to assemble, but if I assemble four at once, it costs me only \$5 per meal, resulting in the extra time I spend assembling them saves me \$3. It might take me an extra half an hour to do it, but it’s an even better deal because I’ll get the time back later when I have easy-to-prepare meals in the freezer.

You can make comparisons like this with almost any frugal task you take on.

If you find that preparing a grocery list saves you an average of \$20 per grocery store visit – which is a reasonable amount for a well-considered grocery list to save you – and it takes 45 minutes to prepare it, then you’re saving \$26.67 per hour spent assembling grocery lists.

If you spend an hour making your own homemade dry soup mixes that cost two dollars less per mix than the ones at the store, but you make twenty of them – enough for the whole winter – you’re saving \$40 per hour.

The time you spend at home on frugal tasks directly converts into money saved. It’s a direct conversion, one with an hourly rate you can calculate if you keep track of the time invested and the money saved on the item.