A friend recently spent 8 hours (and a $19.95 fee) taking an online ‘Safe Driving’ program through his insurance company. It was offered to people over 55 for an $80 reduction in their annual insurance premium for a number of future years.
He told me when they were in the middle of taking the class and I thought, ‘no thanks’. Not enough juice for the squeeze to get me to commit that kind of time. I hated those ‘corporate compliance’ videos at MegaCorp and wouldn’t sit down to do them now.
He knew the time/benefit payoff was a bit meager, but did it out of curiosity. Regardless, it prompted a discussion of how much – on an hourly basis – our time is worth in early retirement?
I’ve been using a minimum ‘fixed rate’ in my head of $100/hour. That’s not near what I charge for corporate consulting, but the minimum that I would be willing to be inconvenienced for on an everyday basis.
If we have something to get rid of, for instance, I wouldn’t put it up for sale on eBay or Craig’s List unless I could net $100 with an hour’s work setting up the ad, answering questions, packaging & shipping. Less than $100/hour, I would rather just donate it to the Goodwill Store or give it to a neighbor.
My $100 minimum keeps me out of the garage sale business, too. Our city has a big annual sale on Mother’s Day weekend (cancelled this year) and we haven’t participated in 15+ years. Too much work for too little return with no possibility of clearing $100/hour on things that sell for cents on the dollar.
Related: Yard Sales – Love’em & Hate’em
I had a pressure washer I had bought a replacement for recently and gave the old one to a friend. It was probably $150 a few years ago when I got it new, but not worth more than my $100 threshold now. Better to just find someone that can use it and they can pay it forward when they are done with it.
I’m not saying that $100 is the right amount for everyone, but it’s where I am today. I’ll still look to save money when I buy things in stores, but that is usually a pretty quick process – not taking an hour. Like most rules-of-thumb, it’s not perfect, but it’s nice to have some index in your head to make decisions.
How do you value your time/hour? Have a minimum?
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