We are sacrificing our lives for stuff

We are sacrificing our lives for stuff
22 July 2013

Are you struggling with managing your money, in debt, wish you knew how to increase your income and create a better lifestyle? It could be you are thinking about money in the wrong way.

One of the best pieces of advice I discovered for creating a healthier bank balance was to think of the price of something not in terms of dollars or dirhams, but in terms of how long it took to earn those dirhams.

When we go to our jobs we are trading our time for money

Thinking about the fact that something costs your time not just your money can be a real eye opener.

For example, you wouldn’t say to yourself, “That book costs Dhs 92 (USD 25).” Instead, you’d say, “That book costs two hours at work.” That gives you an additional criterion to determine whether something is worth the price to you. If the book costs two hours of my life but will take me 50 hours to read, that might be pretty good value. A DVD, on the other hand, might cost the same two hours of my life to buy, but only take 90 minutes to watch. 

When you decide to buy yourself a Dhs 29 (USD 8) treat at Starbucks or at another cafe, you may have burned off an entire hour of your time, which you’ll never get back.

Whenever you buy something, you’re not just spending money on it -- you’re literally spending time.

Money is a representation of hours worked, and when you buy things, you’re squandering hours of your life. 

Use your money and time to create wealth

Income-consuming things can imprison us in a spiral of spending all we earn on stuff. On the other hand, income-producing assets take us on the road to financial freedom. Don’t just buy stuff, seriously consider investing your money in things that will improve your lifestyle, invest in index funds or real estate, things that make money and not consume it.

When we don’t think carefully enough about where we spend our money, and more importantly time, we are sacrificing our lives for ‘stuff.’ We no longer live life, we consume it.

Is more stuff really what you want as the outcome of fifty hours of your life?  Will you value your time differently?


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Head of Behavioral Finance
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