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We Pay For Things Not With Money But With Time

Day in and day out, we work to earn money that we use to buy different things. Most of us even spend the majority of our waking hours working in soul-sucking and stress-inducing jobs, so we can spend on our necessities and things that we think we need.

Soon, we begin to fill our homes with stuff we ordered online just because they were on sale or because they somehow reduce our stress. However, those stuff will eventually be cast aside once a new delivery arrives.

Suppose we have a paradigm shift and change how we frame consumerism. In that case, we will realize that we are not really buying things using our money, but our time.

It is easy to think and ask, “Oh yeah? Then how will you explain how I bought this iPhone using my hard-earned money?”

Yet, if we change our thinking and convert our spending habits into our time, then maybe we will have a moment of realization.

Think of it this way, for many people, our primary source of income is the job that we work for five to six times a week, 8 to 10 hours a day.

In return for that service, our company pays us our salary. That salary may be in the form of pesos or dollars but can definitely be equated to hours spent working.

For example, if you are an office employee earning a net salary of P20,000 per month and working at least 20 days a month. That would roughly translate to P1,000 per day.

If we further convert the P1,000/day salary to the hourly rate, say we work for 8 hours a day, it will be P125 per hour.

Now, if you buy a brand new cellphone worth P30,000, that would mean that you spent 30 days of your work-life only on that item.

Is it worth it? Maybe. But do you think you can do better? Absolutely.

Another example is our clothes. If we buy a new pair of pants for P1,200, that would mean that we spent more than a day of work on that item.

But isn’t our money supposed to be spent?

In a short answer, yes. Money is supposed to be spent. But in the context of our time and life, the material things that we buy using our precious time can essentially be used elsewhere.

Thinking in terms of time.

One of my favorite movies is the 2011 Movie “In Time,” starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried.

In that movie, the currency they used is time. There is no physical currency like our paper money. When you work, you work only for time, and when you spend, you pay with your time.

The time you “earned” can be used to buy food, pay for the bus, and other necessities. If you lose your time, then you lose your life.

I know it is a bit extreme, but if we change our perspective with our resources and our spending habit from a “money-based” into a “time-based” perspective, I believe that we will absolutely change the way we consume.

If we shift from “buying things we don’t need, with the money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even like” to more conscious spending, then maybe we will be less financially stressed and a step closer to obtaining financial freedom.

Minimalism and Time-Based Thinking

I am still in the early years of my minimalist journey, but it has already been a life-changing experience.

I may not be earning as much as I used to. Still, I realize that I do not really lack anything. Contentment is the key. 

Final Thought

In this challenging time, many people lost their jobs and livelihood, which prompted them to change their perspective regarding needs and wants.

We are starting to realize that money is subjective and should never be the ultimate goal.

Money is only a physical manifestation of the abstract concept of worth without resulting in the old tradition of barter and bringing items to the market to trade.

To counter the old saying that “Time is Money,” may we change our perspective to “Time is Life.”

Then maybe, just maybe, we will live a better, simpler, and more purpose-driven life.

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