This Post Cost Me $_____
April 12, 2017 7:04 AM   Subscribe

How much is your time worth to you? The answer is, of course, "it depends". Still, if you're trying to decide whether to spend some money to save time it helps to have some idea of how much that saved time is worth to you.
posted by ChrisR (36 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
The answer appears to be "This page is not set up to run this program."

But I'd gladly sell some time at $100/hour, or if it's available I'll pay updwards of $200 to get an extra 24 hours inserted somewhere between now and Friday.
posted by sfenders at 7:21 AM on April 12, 2017


Once I got to the page that informed me it was going to ask me for my income and savings, I decided this was not going to be a worthwhile use of my precious commute reading time. (Though if someone wants to pay me to take the test...)
posted by ejs at 7:25 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is one of those mini-time sink things that promises interesting results, then at the end won't tell you those results unless you give them your email address.

Nope.
posted by CrowGoat at 7:26 AM on April 12, 2017 [12 favorites]


you can leave the email blank and still get all of your results. Not sure what they do with all of the data they collect, but you wont get more spam from it.
posted by stobor at 7:35 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


You can type in a throwaway address (for example, whatevs@mailinator.com) and it will proceed happily on to give you the results (about four pages' worth).
posted by Wolfdog at 7:35 AM on April 12, 2017


I gave em a fake email and it still gave me all of my results without having to validate it or anything, so whatever. Yeesh let's all whine more
posted by windbox at 7:35 AM on April 12, 2017


If you're disabled/neurodivergent, you are constantly balancing health alongside time and money, so exercises like these are only so useful.

They did an ok job with the part-time job questions, but I had to laugh at the simplicity of the "2min vs 4 hr" machine, because I immediately thought about balancing the social strain of getting and returning the machine vs how much physical recuperation I'd need if I did the task by hand.
posted by Wossname at 7:48 AM on April 12, 2017 [5 favorites]


This was actually pretty interesting (I used a fake email). I apparently value my free time very highly, which makes sense because I have a good salary and already routinely work more than 40 hours a week. Thank you for sharing it!
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:48 AM on April 12, 2017


Whatever, complainers. This thing said I should hire someone to clean my house for me so it's my new best friend. (I mean, I'm not going to do that. I'm going to continue cleaning my house all the time and always failing to get it even sort of clean, but it's nice to hear.)
posted by artychoke at 7:51 AM on April 12, 2017 [5 favorites]


I also thought this was interesting but wished it took into account, or had better scenarios that didn't hinge so much on, disabilities and neurodivergence. (Or other various practical considerations like, if I'm a parent, do I have to consider in my "waiting in line" answer how to keep my kids busy or how much it would cost to have a babysitter for them? Or can I just assume they have been magically whisked away? Does the gender of the answerer affect how likely they are to have to stop and think about this?) One of my answers was drastically different than the others and it's because that was a specific scenario where my specific issues would really come to the forefront and make a difference.

That said, this was still a fun tool to play with, thanks for posting it! (But yes, fake email addresses all around are probably a good idea.)
posted by Stacey at 7:57 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is one of those mini-time sink things that promises interesting results, then at the end won't tell you those results unless you give them your email address.

Nope.


(CrowGoat saved us all some money... but how much?)
posted by kurumi at 8:06 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


I did this yesterday when it was posted in the United-is-awful thread and it would seem I value my free time at the approximate equivalent annual salary of $200K. And that I had a much more consistent valuation of my free time than other people who used the tool.

Free time is my super favoritest thing and it's nice to have some sort of external source of confirmation that yes, I do indeed value it as much as I think I do. Between working full time and my volunteer commitments and dog care, it makes me feel less bad about how frequently I need to just go home and tune everyone and everything else out.
posted by phunniemee at 8:07 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


This was interesting, thanks. Confirmed that I feel really guilty about paying for things that would make my life easier/save me time. Thanks, Mom!

throwaway email jeff.bezos@amazon.com amused me so much I couldn't not use it. sorry for the spam, buddy.
posted by spinturtle at 8:16 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think I made a bad job of answering the questions, since it was suggesting I should take a taxi if it saves me 30 minutes and costs less than €18 more than the bus. That's about as horrifying as setting money on fire to me, except in unusual circumstances.

Like, one of the things I enjoy doing in my free time is being inefficient - grinding my own coffee beans, cooking, ironing, spring cleaning to the recycling depot, etc. Being able to be gently productive on low-stakes chores is quite enjoyable. I really value free time but I have a good amount of it. So, the qualitative aspect is lost.

More than that, the value of saving money depends on my living expenses - a €20 taxi is a totally different prospect if I have tons of money left compared to when I'm stretched to meet my expenses/savings goals. The tool didn't ask how my income meets my outgoing expenses.

I did figure out a while ago how stupid a low-paid second job would be given my tax rate, and I found the tool's question about the value of working 10% more hours kind of interesting, but I feel a bit unsatisfied with everything else I got from...this free tool I may have used wrong.
posted by carbide at 8:26 AM on April 12, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's possible that you're more reluctant than you should be to spend money in order to free up time

Yep!

Thanks for this post - it was an interesting outside perspective.
posted by Dashy at 8:30 AM on April 12, 2017


I'd like to be able to enjoy many years of free time during retirement. I spend less on free time now, and more on earning money, because these are my peak earning years and I'm saving it for later.

Does the app take that preference into account? Does it assume that you'll always be making as much money are you are right now?
posted by clawsoon at 9:05 AM on April 12, 2017


I also think it misses how things like a 30-minute bus ride (or other sort of idle waiting situation) can act as a type of free time. 30 minutes on a bus is time I could spend reading, or listening to a podcast, or zoning out in a number of different ways.

Also I both like and dislike household chores. I like the sense of accomplishment from cleaning up a room and making it look nice. I could afford a housekeeper to clean my house once a week, but then I'd also have to tell them what to clean/what not to clean (ugh!) and deal with the trust part of choosing someone and then letting them in my house and oh man.

However, if I could make the trade-off of getting paid the same hourly rate but working 6 instead of 8 hours a day without any sort of workplace drama I would do so in a heartbeat.
posted by that girl at 9:12 AM on April 12, 2017 [3 favorites]


That was....actually kind of thought-provoking for me. I'm in an "I need to get a different job" phase, largely because of pay, and I've always had kind of weird personal issues with money so it got me thinking of Money and Time and Me and Inherent Value Of Things, at a time when I'm kind of primed for it.

Thanks!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:20 AM on April 12, 2017


Does anyone know how to calculate the value of your health insurance? I'm not sure what that even means. I have excellent benefits, so I imagine they're quite valuable?
posted by kitcat at 9:46 AM on April 12, 2017


This was interesting, thanks. Confirmed that I feel really guilty about paying for things that would make my life easier/save me time. Thanks, Mom!

Yeah, right there with you.

I also think it misses how things like a 30-minute bus ride (or other sort of idle waiting situation) can act as a type of free time.

indeed. If I followed their advice, I'd get a gardener to clean up my nightmare yard, but while I neither enjoy nor dislike gardening, doing a little bit of gardening is peaceful enough that I think of it as free time...and trying to find a gardener is an experience I really dislike, so that would count as work.
posted by davejay at 9:51 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


kitcat, I used what I remember a plan costs on my state's health exchange as a reasonable proxy of what my insurance would cost. If yours is really good you could use the value of a gold plan. (All assuming you're in the US, of course.) Thanks, Obama!

Like others, the value of time spent not working <> value of time spent not doing other things that aren't working but also aren't "leisure". Hell, I'd go to the DMV for four hours rather than find someone to do it for me, both because it would feel really weird in a class-warfare sort of way and because lining up the transaction for a one-time benefit also has some cost. And because sitting at the DMV is an experience I don't have often, and that has value in itself.

I think this would have been much more useful when I was younger and increments of salary like 10% correlated with real things in the world, like "lunch" or "paying the phone bill". I'm comfortable and lucky enough now that extra money goes to savings, which will be great when I want to retire, but isn't easy to value precisely. (What's the value of retiring one year earlier twenty years from now?)
posted by five toed sloth at 9:57 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know how to calculate the value of your health insurance?

The easiest option is to calculate what your employer contributes to your health insurance premiums, and that's likely on your paycheck. However, that doesn't account for the differences between your employer-provided plan and what you'd be able to purchase individually, both in the premiums paid and in what other payments would be required for copays, deductible, and medications. When I tried to calculate what I'd need to switch from my current job with employer-subsidized benefits to a contract job with no benefits, I tried to work out what I'd be paying for current and predicted health care over the year using each scenario. It involved a lot of guesswork and I was never completely satisfied with the answers I got.
posted by asperity at 10:16 AM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am reminded of "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper"
This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to “live as domestic a life as far as possible,” to “have but two hours’ intellectual life a day,” and “never to touch pen, brush or pencil again as long as I lived.” This was in 1887.

I went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came so near to the border line of utter mental ruin that I could see over.

Then, using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist’s advice to the winds and went to work again — work, the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite; ultimately recovering some measure of power.
posted by aniola at 10:45 AM on April 12, 2017 [3 favorites]


I also think it misses how things like a 30-minute bus ride (or other sort of idle waiting situation) can act as a type of free time. 30 minutes on a bus is time I could spend reading, or listening to a podcast, or zoning out in a number of different ways.

I pretty much never leave home without one or more forms of better-than-minimal entertainment or productivity in my bag, whether I anticipate needing them or not. Pure waiting's almost never a problem for me unless I've got a deadline I'm trying to meet.

Biking to and from work sometimes takes a little longer than driving a car would (though only sometimes!), but I spend a lot less time traveling than my driving-everywhere coworkers spend on traveling plus gym time, so I count it as a savings win.

(What's the value of retiring one year earlier twenty years from now?)

This is the sort of question Mr. Money Mustache can help with. I wish I'd worked harder on being a badass before racking up all that student loan debt.
posted by asperity at 10:49 AM on April 12, 2017


Does anyone know how to calculate the value of your health insurance? I'm not sure what that even means. I have excellent benefits, so I imagine they're quite valuable?

Check your W2- box 12, code DD.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:33 PM on April 12, 2017


My sister is a lawyer and the last time I was at her house, she mentioned that on Saturday she was driving into the city (40 minutes each way) to return a $50 shirt she got as a present and didn't like (but had a gift receipt for). She totally got that the cost of gas was cutting into the value proposition, but completely pooh-poohed the idea that this wasn't a good use of her time. She's spending maybe $15 on gas, in order to get $50 in store credit, and using up at least two hours doing so after all the dust settles, whereas I'm sure she makes at least $50 an hour at work (I'm probably dramatically underestimating this) and complains about being overworked.

Why wouldn't you just drop the shirt in a donation box and enjoy your Saturday afternoon?
posted by 256 at 12:44 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


Why wouldn't you just drop the shirt in a donation box and enjoy your Saturday afternoon?

Maybe she finds driving relaxing, or gets extra happiness from getting the store credit. If it doesn't feel like wasted time, it isn't.
posted by Emily's Fist at 12:52 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


Does she have children? Could be a good excuse to leave them at home and have some time to herself.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:55 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


This thing was really weird. Like, I said I'd only spend up to $20 to save 4 hours on a task with the magic machine, so I value my time at $5, right? Except, I gain a sense of accomplishment for doing things for myself at home that I don't at work. I'm also doing it in the comfort of my own home, and can do it when I want, how I want to.

Maybe I'm weird, but I'd rather work 40 hours and do 10 hours of chores, than work 48 hours, and spend 8 hours of wage to get the work done. I understand I'm saving 2 hours with the latter setup, but 10 hours of chores feels less tiresome than 8 hours of work, and this tool doesn't account for that.
posted by explosion at 1:11 PM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm with explosion above on this. I just find it weird to calculate the value of your time (and my consistency score of roughly 3.5 shows that), although I did have to do that math recently for odd jobs people ask me to do for them.

But I still believe the point of my life is not to earn money in the most efficient way possible and have everything else outsourced. I just like to do things and am fine with the inefficiency.
posted by Laotic at 4:28 PM on April 12, 2017


My issue with some of this is that I can't get more money. My money is set. I don't earn hourly, I am salaried and my job doesn't allow me to work elsewhere, even part-time or contract. (Or at least, not easily. I'd have to jump through hoops.) So $100 spent on a bunch of chores on the weekend is just $100 gone with no way for me to recoup that.

Now, if I work extra hours, bust my ass, and get a raise or promotion, that's a way I could use my leisure time to make more. So I'd need to calculate how much more I *could* make, and how long that would take, to decide if paying someone to do chores while I work extra would be with it.

This post was a chore I wish I hadn't done. My brain hurts now.
posted by greermahoney at 8:35 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am not smart enough to comprehend this thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:03 PM on April 12, 2017


then at the end won't tell you those results unless you give them your email address.

otherwise known as a waste of time.
posted by philip-random at 9:41 PM on April 12, 2017


Work is a fascinating topic. I'm peripherally part of a group of privileged immigrants for whom work is, well, almost recreational. I have a friend who works a finance job full time at a bank and is likely heading into senior management, but he still spends an hour or two each night cutting up raw chicken and marinating it and then on the weekend he sets up a BBQ and sells 1-2 thousand meat skewers at the market. (yes he's fully licenced to do so) Another one is an accountant who bakes specialty custom cakes for rich clients. Another is a full time doctor who is also raking in cash by being a social media influencer (if you're attractive, take good photos and have a few hundred thousand followers you can make something like $1000 for one instagram post). All these pursuits take up lots of extra time outside of work. But none of these people really needed to work in the first place if they wanted to be honest. One of them drove an Audi TT sports car while still at school that her father bought her as a starting college present. It very much seems like stumbling into a vision of a utopian society where people do work because of the prestige, growth and learning opportunities it affords them, nothing so crass as working for money, goodness.

Calculating the marginal profit of each additional hour of work is done at an academic, score-keeping level. Not because they actually needed the money in the first place.
posted by xdvesper at 10:30 PM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I like the idea of this tool, but the questions were painful. Didn't see an option for "my time is worth too much to sit here constantly converting annual to hourly dollars and pre to post tax dollars, and adding in and subtracting back out benefits."
posted by salvia at 3:13 AM on April 13, 2017


The time/money equation makes sense if you are paid hourly and you are choosing between working those hours or doing something unpaid (eg, the example above of taking off from work to return a shirt). But it doesn't really make sense in a lot of other situations, where all kinds of other issues (such as class status, social norms, and relative rather than absolute wealth) matter more.

All these pursuits take up lots of extra time outside of work. But none of these people really needed to work in the first place if they wanted to be honest. ... It very much seems like stumbling into a vision of a utopian society where people do work because of the prestige, growth and learning opportunities it affords them, nothing so crass as working for money, goodness.

I've known a few people like this. It would be great if everyone had that kind of freedom to find and develop themselves in that way, but obviously we don't live in that world. Unfortunately, those are the people who seem to write the majority of the "how to find your life path" advice articles and books, as well as most of the memoirs, usually without much apparent awareness of their uniquely privileged positions.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:42 AM on April 13, 2017


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