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The Equation That Will Make You Look at the Way You Spend Money Differently Forever

Time is Money, and Money is Time

"Time is Money" photo by Olivia Alcock

We have all heard the saying that time is money, but have you ever considered that money is time? In mathematics, the word "is" functions exactly like an equal sign. Therefore, if the saying "time is money" is true (which it certainly is), then it implies that "money is time" is just as true.

So, what does this mean? Well, let's look at a $20 pizza for an example. You walk in, and you see that you have $100 in your billfold. You don't think twice about paying for that delicious pie with high-quality pepperoni, cheese, and an extra topping of our choice.

But how much is that pizza really costing you?

What you do for a living pays for that pizza, and you have the extra money, so why not grab it? Well, I am going to tell you why you should not look at that pizza as a small amount of money you just have in your wallet anyways, but to look at it through the lens of "money is time."

So, here's the equation: Take your paycheck, and look at the number under "gross" total. Then, subtract that number from your "net" total. The difference will be important, so remember that number. I once had a paycheck for a part-time job as a cashier for $550 Gross and $470 Net. So, the difference was $80.

After we have this number, we can now figure the percentage of taxes, 401(k) plans, health insurance options, and other portions of our time at our jobs that we don't really get paid for to use for ourselves.

Usually, 401(k) plans are insignificant to those working at a place they don't intend to retire from, and we truly work for the government when the taxes go to them. The health plan is the only significant portion of the paycheck that can truly be added to things we work for for ourselves. This paycheck did not include a health plan however, but if it did, one may subtract the amount, which went into the health plan to see how much is going towards your boss and the government from the figure.

Thus, one can see our hourly wages are not true to what we actually make. The hourly wage of our example was just over minimum wage ($10/hr), so taking the difference and dividing that by the gross pay will give the hourly rate after taxes and money to your boss. In this example, the number is $80/$550, which equals 0.146 or 14.6%. That's right, with slightly more than minimum wage, 14.6% of your time is not earning you a cent! So, let's take that hourly figure of $10/hour and subtract 14.6%. Now, 14.6% of $10 is $1.46, which makes our true hourly wage $8.54.

Dividing this by 60 will show how much money is earned per minute of our time, which ends up being 14.233¢ / minute of our lives. Taking the number of cents of that $20 pizza (being 2000) and dividing it by the ¢/minute rate of 14.233 will give us exactly how much time that pizza really costs. That $20 pizza ends up being 140.52 minutes of our lives at our jobs. You read that correct: Almost two and a half hours of our lives are traded with our bosses for a pizza. That two and a half hours is time you will never get back.

Once one knows their cents per minute rate for the time they put in at their job, they can divide any number of cents by that number to see exactly how much time that is traded for various purchases. Obviously, we need things to survive, but arming oneself with this equation can help one to ask the question, do I really want to invest my time (or my life) into this purchase.

Because money is time, I would like to help give you back some. Assuming 14.6% of your paycheck is not yours, below I have created a cents / minute table for how much you actually make. Divide any number of cents for a purchase to see how much time you are paying for anything you go to the store for:

  • $9.75/hour = 13.878 cents per min.
  • $10/hour = 14.233 cents per min.
  • $12.50/hour = 17.792 cents per min.
  • $15/hour = 21.350 cents per min.
  • $17.50/hour = 24.908 cents per min.
  • $20/hour = 28.467 cents per min.
  • $25/hour = 35.583 cents per min.
  • $30/hour = 42.700 cents per min.
  • $35/hour = 49.817 cents per min.
  • $40/hour = 56.933 cents per min.

So, the same exact $20 pizza actually costs each person differently:

$9.75/hour worker pays:
2 hours, 24 minutes, and 6.8 seconds

$10/hour worker pays:
2 hours, 20 minutes, and 31.2 seconds

$12.50/hour worker pays:
1 hour, 52 minutes, 24.6 seconds

$15/hour worker pays:
1 hour, 33 minutes, 40.6 seconds

$17.50/hour worker pays:

1 hour, 20 minutes, and 17.8 seconds

$20/hour worker pays:
1 hour, 10 minutes, and 15.5 seconds

$25/hour worker pays:
56 minutes, 12.4 seconds

$30/hour worker pays:
46 minutes, 50.3 seconds

$35/hour worker pays:
40 minutes, 8.8 seconds

$40/hour worker pays:
35 minutes, 7.7 seconds

Look at the difference! People with better jobs get things cheaper than those with lower paying jobs!

So, how much is your time worth to you? What will you invest your life in? Because we aren't spending money, when we work a salary-based job. We are spending life.

Thanks for reading!

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