Time is valuable. Last year I read a book by Vicki Robins, Your Money Or Your Life. It was not my first introduction to the idea of time being valuable, but I learned so much from her perspective. It reinforced my belief on time as our greatest resource. Once it is spent, we can never get it back. Our time is money, our time is freedom, our time is our life’s energy. How will you spend it?
We work so hard to make money, but the one thing we are truly working for is our time. We work hard so that we can afford time to ourselves, vacations, weekends away, and the freedom to do what we most want to do. When I first started out after college I knew that I had to make money for the essentials: rent, groceries, a car so I could drive to my work, internet for my business, insurance, and the electric bill. Many of these essentials are very important. When I bought my first car (the very same Chevy I still drive today) I learned pretty quickly that we work to live, but then we often live to work. I needed to buy a car to get to work, but I also needed to work to buy a car and the same could be said for most of the material things in my life. I found myself asking if this was all there was. That was my first sign. If you find yourself questioning, “Is this all that there is?” about life, then perhaps it is time to reevaluate. If not, then you have found the magic formula for you, my friend.
For my Year of Living Lovely project I am working on my money goals for February, but I truly believe that time (and what we do with it) goes hand-in-hand with money. The mount of money we need determines the amount of time we have to work. When I made the obvious, but still startling, realization that the more things I needed (bigger apartment, new clothes, cable tv, and more stuff) the more money I needed to earn and in return, the more time I needed to work and the less time I had to spend on these things. The less I needed (smaller apartment = cheaper rent, no cable, less spending, etc.) the less I had to work and the more that I could do with my extra time. So I questioned myself some more. What was valuable in my life? Did I need a large apartment? Cable tv? More books? Clothes? Meals out? What could I remove from my life to give myself more time?
I made I list of what I could remove and what I wanted more of. It turned out, that what I wanted more of did not usually require money. I could also remove some of the unnecessary items from my life to be able to pay for some of the things I did want more of, but required money; for me, that was more travel.
I wanted more time for:
- Working on my business
- Writing and reading
- Outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, the beach, and going for walks
- Family and loved ones
- My relationship with my fiancé
- Cooking my own healthy meals
- Eating dinner together
- Being creative
- Learning French
- Me time! 😁 (I am a true introvert.)
- Music and dancing in the mornings (I may dance around my apartment when Matthew isn’t home…)
Which meant I needed less:
- Square footage for my apartment
- Car payment; I kept old Trusty (all paid off now) to remove a car payment
- Shopping (This meant books, I will admit, quite difficult for me sometimes.)
- Eating dinner out
- Treats and frivolous buying
- Long distance work commutes
Removing all the excess in my life allowed me to work less so that I would have more time for the things that mattered. I was also able to apply this same method to removing activities from my life that were not essential to my happiness to make time for the things I really wanted to do.
Slowly, I removed the extras from my life so make this lifestyle change. My fiancé and I moved to a smaller apartment (less rent and heating) that is also closer to my finance’s work and university as well as my new part-time job. I paid attention to how I spend my money and cut back. I kept my chevy (good old Trusty who is looking a little rusty these days but still runs like a dream). I also looked for deals to save money on my car insurance. There were many decisions we made, but they all were for one goal: to live a lifestyle we loved. I could now work less to have more time for my own business and what is important to me.
Some people in my family were worried that I was going backwards. Shouldn’t I want to work even more to pay for a bigger home? A new car? More stuff? Although it may work for some, essentially, I decided that the 9-5 lifestyle was not working for me. To each their own. I learned that everyone wants different things out of their lives and I didn’t have to stick to someone else’s formula for my life (finish school, go to college, work hard, get married and have kids, continue to work, work, work, then retire) to have the life I wanted.
I figured this method out by first I deciding what was essential in my life and how much my monthly expenses would be. From there I needed to figure out how much I needed to make. With that information I was able to decide how I would make that leap. I went back a few times to remove even more to make more savings for things of importance to me, such as my wedding, honeymoon, and other travel goals on my life. I’m not perfect; sometimes I spend more money that I should, but I am happy and that is all I truly wanted. Our time is money, our time is freedom, our time is our life’s energy. How will you spend it?
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