Monday, July 15, 2013

On the economics of small economies, aka OMGosh, that's so not worth my time.

When you find yourself spending hours to save pennies it's time to look at your notion of what your time is worth.

Clearly, being awake is not worth his time :)

Now, I don't mean to say that you can't ever do anything that doesn't make or save you money, Goodness no, that's so not my point. What I'm talking about here are the small things we adopt that save us a few cents or fractions of cents that are tedious and time consuming and that we simply hate doing, yet we do them because we feel that we must because they save us some money.

We here at Pinch manor are in the early throes of seed saving, which is actually what made me think of this post: Cleaning radish seeds.

It's kind of boring, it's sort of time consuming (if you know of a quick, easy and free method, please, please, PLEASE let me know?) and the payoff is minimal, radish seeds are relatively cheap.

From a purely financial standing I have so far spent at least 8 hours cleaning seeds that I could buy for about $5. And I'm far from done. That's an hourly wage of about $0.625. I went to college for that?

Here's the question, then: WHY do I do it?

Well, I actually do this while watching TV and I have a hard time sitting still, simply letting entertainment rain down on me passively, so this actually makes it more enjoyable for me.

I know that these seeds are organic, even if the USDA doesn't stamp them.

It's a small thing, but it is a way for us to be more sustainable. And it means that I can use those $5 for some other, new seed that we don't have yet. Very limited seed budget, I pinch those pennies HARD.

Would I do this if there was something more profitable I could do during that time instead? Maybe. It's boring, mindless occupation, kind of relaxing, so I wouldn't be able to directly switch it to writing or crunching numbers and I can't cook while sitting on the couch, so that's out. I do peel cooked potatoes there, but I do that less than once every other month and to my eternal shame I watch more TV than that.

I could make jewellery while couchpotatoing, but that is a creative process, so it's something I can't do all the time or on command, it is however something that I do in preference of gleaning seeds. I enjoy it more and it has the potential to garner me a higher hourly wage. Win-win :)

One thing is sure, though: If I really hated doing this task, I would not do it. Things I don't like doing have to 'make' me significantly more money than $0.625.

Crocheting is a prime example of OMGosh, that's so not worth my time. I know how to do it. I've done it. I've crocheted our dish rags. I hate it and I think it saved us just a few bucks. It's also not happening again. partly because I knit faster, I enjoy knitting more and it works just as well, and partly because if I had to crochet them I'd buy or trade for them instead from/with someone who enjoys that particular task, while chanting OMGosh, that's so not worth my time.

Cleaning my house is another one. If there ever comes a day where we reach an equilibrium and the 4 hours it takes me to clean my kitchen to my standards can be bought cheaper than what I can 'make' in those same 4 hours I'm hiring someone to do it for me so fast I'm likely to get whiplash.

And that's what I mean by what is your time worth. I know people who LOVE cleaning. Poor, sick individuals. I just love having a clean house.

If I can make $25 an hour doing something I enjoy, and pay someone else $20 an hour to do something for me that I despise, I think of that as making $5. And that's more than I make grubbing through radish seed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not about numbers, but in a way it is. And they are YOUR numbers.

You could not pay me enough money to change a dirty diaper, it's just not possible. But I'd do it if someone in my life really needed me to (and I could not find a way to weasel out of it). In other words, you can't have it for money, but you can have it for love.

That's all I got for now.
Happy Pinching :)

No comments:

Post a Comment