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Monday, February 23, 2009

Downtime

in: Balmain East NSW, Australia

Normally I spend 3 hours a day traveling to and from work. This is essentially dead time in which I do nothing; I listen to podcasts, I read books. I recognise that these are possibly luxuries that other people would struggle to make time for but the point is I can’t do anything else. Also I exhausted my fairly small library quite quickly, I don’t spend much money on music and whilst the internet has made it easier to find things *cough* quite cheaply *cough* I still haven’t really bothered.

The solution seems pretty obvious i.e. buy a car. However [insert environmental whinging here] and [insert ongoing cost whinging here] so I wasn’t that keen. Until I did the following bit of thinking.

Everyone values their free time but they never put a metric on it. Everyone says they wish they had more time to spend [insert activity or in the company of family here]. So I thought about the spend part of that sentence and actually put a cash value on it. For the sake of argument I valued my time at a reasonably modest $35 an hour. This means I spend $105 of my time each day traveling. Owning a car would give me back 2 of those hours on average saving me $70 of personal time per day. That’s $350 of personal time a week, or extrapolated to 48 working weeks a year, nearly $17,000 of personal time. Getting a car now seems like quite a good idea, an investment even.

Caveat and note to self: This is a gross over-simplification and does not mean that getting a car will make you richer in cash terms unless you can convert those hours into money, which you won’t. Rates are subject to change without notice.

Residual thoughts: What other effects might giving your time a cash value have? How else might I value my time? Given this value what would I do with the extra 2 hours a day?

2 comments:

  1. Ignore the caveats; it's a neat bit of reasoning! Except, perhaps, for the fact that if your commute involves city driving you're likely to end up frustratedby the traffic, angry at other drivers, and bad tempered for the rest of the day. Oh, and you won't be able to read the books either.

    So what car are you buying?

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  2. I can always cam down with a good book or a run at the end of the day.

    I think the Ferrari is a little out of reach at the moment, but it's only a matter of time...

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