by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Treat Time and Money the same…do not waste either.

If you want a recipe for a more difficult life, feel free to waste both of these precious commodities.  If you think that the car you drive, being seen at Sunday brunch every weekend and other precocious things such as these are important, you are in for a rude awakening at some point in your life.  For most people, there is a realization that occurs along the way that most of this stuff just does not matter.  In your twenties, it seems like everything rotates around these socially driven activities.  By the time you are forty, you are looking for reasons to avoid them.  Time educates most people, but usually the hard way…

Is spending $50 on eggs and bottomless mimosas really how you want to spend your time and your money?  I realize that much of this revolves around friends, but again, you could all go for a hike, which would only cost gas money.  By the time you are forty, most of those will be distant memories.  People from that group will get married, move away, have kids, etc. and if you don’t follow down the same path at the same time, you will end up not hanging out any more.  Don’t get me wrong, spending time with friends and making memories is important.  But to fund these things on your credit card(s) is a terrible idea.  Plan things according to a sensible budget, not your ego and/or desire to be seen somewhere.  Stop doing things simply to post on social media to perpetuate the façade you have been living all along.

I do some much less now than I ever have before, it is crazy.  The comparison of my life back then in my mid twenties to now is night and day different.  In my twenties, a friend would call and simply ask: “are you in?”  No details, no timeline, just asking whether I am going to join whatever it is.  And I would say yes, unequivocally, without question.  I have ended up going to a party and I have also ended up on a last minute, three day trip to Vegas and Rocky Point Mexico by saying yes.  At the time, I wanted to be part of the group, to not get left behind.  I didn’t want to hear the stories of what I had missed out on, I wanted to be there no matter what.  Now, I drive myself, and ask a lot of questions like how late we will be out.  A hundred and eighty degrees difference…  And I am so happy that this is the case.

By living my life in this fashion, I have had a bunch of improvements to things overall.  Because I am no longer an idiot with money, I am now debt free.  Part of this is the byproduct of marrying a woman with a frugal mindset as well as consciously not wasting money on stupid stuff.  There is rarely a reason to spend a couple of hundred bucks on dinner, as this experience is over with in about two hours.  And by morning, you will literally be flushing that money down the toilet.  Same thing with going to Vegas to get a cabana by the pool, there is just not much that is going to come of that which can be looked at later on as “Oh man am I glad I did that!”  It might be a good time, there will be some funny memories, but the credit card payments will linger long after the fun has faded.  And that drunken hook up in Vegas doesn’t have as much appeal as you may think.  If you were too drunk to remember much, what was the point?  And if you met someone and spend a little time getting to know them, couldn’t have done the same thing back home for a fraction of the cost?  (Yes, you could have)

Now instead of spending time and money that will have minimal return, I plan differently.  I take extended fishing trips with my Dad and friends.  As my Dad is getting up there in years, his chances for trips like this are dwindling rapidly.  I don’t know how many he has left in him, maybe one, hopefully six.  But we don’t know, so we treat each one like the last.  We have done this for the past decade basically, just in case.  The money spent is rarely much of a consideration, as the time we spend together now will have to hold me over when he is gone.  There is no way to put a price on that.  Because I am wiser with my money in general, I can do these kind of things.  Last year, my Dad and I were on a trip to Colorado fishing while my wife went with some friends to Cabo for a bachelorette party for one of her closest friends.  We didn’t have to choose which of us got to go on their desired trip, and we paid cash for both.  I guess adulting does have its perks.

I also am very cautious of how I spend my time these days as well.  I had to attend a NASCAR event not too long ago as part of a work thing, and I was not happy that I spent an entire afternoon doing something I did not want to be doing.  It was unproductive.  It didn’t cost me a dime, we had the back stage pass experience, but I still did not enjoy it.  As I write this blog, I am sitting at my in-laws place in the pines of northern Arizona.  I have a blanket over me because it is about 45 degree, and the rain just stopped.  The light is fading, and I can hear coyotes in the distance.  THIS is what I want to do as often as I can.  If I can’t be on a fishing trip, this is a primary way I want to spend my time.  This has far more value to me than a day pass in the pits of a NASCAR event.  Some people love that sort of thing, and more power to them.  But for me, no thanks.  I would never voluntarily go to one of those events again.

So my question for you is this: How do you spend your time and your money?  I hope the answer is “wisely”, but is it really?  Here is one way to calculate the value of your time and your money that you can use:

How much money do you make per hour?

Let’s say the answer to that is $25.00, which means you make $50,000 a year.  If you need to work three hours to pay for the brunch you plan to attend on Sunday, is that a good trade off?  What about that weekend in Vegas, which will cost you SIXTY HOURS of your time to pay for?  Yes, a $1,500 weekend in sin city will cost you 60 hours of time at $25.00 per hour to pay for.  Same goes for a Hermes purse for $1500 as well…still think that is a good trade off?

Look, when you are young and don’t have a ton of life experience to measure things against, you will do things that are not financially sound decisions.  It is easy to do things that looking back on will seem dumb.  That is why I am sharing this kind of information as often as I can.  I made all these mistakes myself, and I am trying to help you shorten your learning curve as much as possible.  Most likely you will end up of the same mindset as I am at some point.  But if you could leapfrog your way there much sooner, you’d be way ahead of the game.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  Allow me to help you wise up faster than most do by learning from my errors as much as possible.  You’ll thank me later, I promise.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

 

 

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