Save a Buck or Make $10 Instead?

Sunday, August 7, 2011 - 21:24
Mowing the lawn. A flickr photo by evilnick

It’s simple math. Would you rather:

  • Spend an hour to save a dollar?
  • Spend that dollar and use that hour to make $10+ instead?

When put in these terms, the answer seems obvious. Yet some of us are so fearful to part with our hard earned dollars that we’d rather do all the work ourselves even if it ultimately hurts are bottom line.

A Typical Example

Let’s say you’re a free lance writer and you have a ton of work lined up at $50+ an hour. And let’s also say you have 2 hours of yard work to do every week. If you were able to pay someone else to do it for $50, you could use those hours to earn over $100. Or you could work only a single hour and break even. In either case, you’ll make out better by spending a little more money so that you can focus on the things that make you the most money.

It’s a concept called highest and best use. And if you continually apply this principle within your own life, you can keep focused on the things that get you the most impact instead of spending a lot of effort to save a little money.

No Judgement

There is nothing wrong with manual labor. At my first job, I earned $3.50 an hour picking corn for 6 hours straight. It felt like amazing getting that fat $200 check at the end of the week. But 17 years later, I’d rather pay someone else so we can both make the most money we can at our respective stages in life.

And You?

Where are you losing out on big financial gains while trying to save a buck?


Image by EvilNick used under the creative commons.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.