Time as a Luxury

Time as a Luxury

People do all sorts of things to save money, but don’t always apply this same attitude toward time.  If we all viewed time as a luxury or other precious commodity, would we be so willing to waste it?

Because time is so precious, we should treat time as a luxury.

Several years ago in a Christmas card letter to family and friends, I wrote that we were enjoying our greatest luxury in life:  time together.  Our “windfall of time” arrived by the unfortunate circumstances of 2008.  The company my husband was working for (NAU.com) was equity funded and didn’t get their last round of financing.  NAU was on the cutting edge of not only fashion, but also the recession.

Fortunately, because we have always tried to live strategically frugal, we weren’t impacted as badly as most American families have been.

When we were first married, we had chosen to regard time as a luxury in our lives.  We not only made a commitment to love one another but also to a particular way of life; viewing our time together and our future family as a precious commodity.

For many people, it’s strange to think of time as a luxury.  Yet in today’s world with text messaging, smart phones, and other technology tools to save time, people seem to have less “time” than ever before.  While it seems everyone is busier, people have less “time.” Is this really the case or is it that people are spending more time with technology, on the internet or in front of a screen?

Keep in mind, there are only 24 hours in a day.  Subtract sleeping, eating, working or school, commuting and you’re left with only a few hours in the day that most people have to utilize.

Since there are so few hours that are actually discretionary, you have to make the most of what you have.  Here are a few suggestions to make the most of your time:

Automate.

Don’t automatically say yes to every invitation that comes your way.  Think about it first and check your calendar.  Before agreeing to something, be sure that with your finite amount of time, that it is something you really want to do.  Ask yourself, “Do I really have time for that?  Is this someone who I want to spend time with?”  The answer maybe yes but it has to be weighed against everything else that is competing for your time.

Organize your time with planned breaks from TV or technology.  Try a technology free day for yourself or your family.  We have “Technology Free Sundays” at our home.

Time as a Luxury

 Prioritize.

Examine your time commitments and think about how your time is spent.  Really consider whether all the things you are spending time on are what you want to do, versus them just happening.  Are you able to work less?  Quit your job?  Schedule fewer activities for yourself?  Schedule fewer activities for your kids?  Can you cancel something?  Do you have time to read?  Time to be quiet?  Time to be thankful?  Do you have time to exercise?

Don’t think about slowing down or saying no as a sacrifice.  Remember, you can’t afford to BUY everything (money-wise), you don’t have time to DO everything.  Think about it as shifting your time spent from things that aren’t so important to the things you really value.  A (relatively) simple mind-set change is all it takes.

Realize.

Realize that your kids don’t have to have a class for everything.  They can simply play outside.  Realize that sleep deprivation is bad for our bodies, take time for a nap or a rest.  Realize that kids only want to be with their parents a short period of time and don’t miss a minute of that.  Realize that if you want time to read (or do anything else for that matter) that time has to come at the expense of something else.  Realize that slow families have time to prepare slow foods and eat meals at home, that they’ve prepared.

Frugalize.

Just like you may try to find ways to save money in your budget, really examine your schedule and look for ways to economize on time.  Find more efficient ways to do things and allocate the freed up time to do the things you want to do. Savor and enjoy your time and don’t waste it.

Time as a Luxury

Make the most of your time.  Do what you really want and need to do for your best life.  Much like preparing a wonderful meal where the ingredients are well thought out and shopped for, time is something to slow down and enjoy.  Be present with your family.  Protect your alone time, family time, and loved one time.  It’s our greatest luxury in life.

How do you try to make the most of your time?  How do you prioritize your time?

Go Gingham related links:

The biggest stay the same – the reality show I’m pitching!
Strategic frugality: our life approach to living and time as a luxury
How to save money each month
Technology free Sundays and more family rules that work for our family
Frugal grocery shopping and slowing down for family eating

10 thoughts on “Time as a Luxury

  1. Ever since I was little I valued time and efficiency, as an adult, I’m just better at it. I stay focus during my planning period so I have less to take home. I use my commute time to listen to the music I love, language cd’s to practice, or an audio book to focus on and enjoy, separating me from any hardships of the day at work, so I can enjoy my time at home rather than dwell on mistakes and mishaps.

    I make time to walk my dogs everyday (so long as there isn’t a hurricane or the like outside). Their happiness is infectious and we both need the exercise.

    I know that though I like to cook, I don’t always have the time or the energy so I make extra so I have homemade on those days too, sometimes even cooking 2-3 meals at once that use similar ingredients.

    Considering that time is something you can buy or bargain for once it’s gone, I’m always surprised so few people value and treasure it.

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    1. Indigo, this is so true:
      “Considering that time is something you can buy or bargain for once it’s gone, I’m always surprised so few people value and treasure it.”

      Our bodies need daily exercise. Mine certainly does! Good for you and I’m sure your dogs love it!

      Like

  2. Sara,
    You hit the nail on the head with your section about automation. Automate the non-important stuff (reminders, lists, etc.) and don’t automate the important stuff (listening to yourself, choosing your lifestyle, decision making).

    I also find the less busy I am the less money I spend. Why? Because I have time to take care of myself in my down time negating the need to fill myself up with outside stimulants (coffee, clothes, shoes, etc…)

    I’m also glad you mentioned getting enough sleep! Sleep is so important and is so often given up for unimportant reasons (TV for instance). Also, getting enough sleep is essential to staying(physically and emotionally) healthy, healing injuries (physical/emotional), and keeping a healthy metabolism too!

    Excellent post at a time of year when we all need the reminder. Thank you! You are awesome!

    Like

    1. Thanks Kirsten! I think it’s great that you made the connection between your level of “busy-ness” and the amount of money you spend. Well done.

      Like

    1. Thanks Corinne. Sometimes I have to be reminded of this as well – when I’ve got lots going on and I’m trying to press the “publish” button! Especially the first week of school…oh, that’s right now.

      Like

  3. Great article–you make some excellent points. For instance, with all the technology at our fingertips, we seem to have less time than ever. That’s really unfortunate when it applies to young families. I’m glad to see you pointed the luxury of time back to family togetherness. Nice job. Love the photos by the way.

    Cheers
    –AV

    Like

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