Time and Energy vs. Money

I was walking outside of a small shop in Khao Lak, Thailand with my parents (that is a future post!) and I think I had one of my best comebacks yet.  The shop keeper told me it was free to look.  And I said that time was money.  This was an easy phrase for me to say because over the past few years it has come to mean so much to me.  I have what my family calls Johnson blood.  I never met an actual Johnson in my life, but apparently these distant family relatives were known for their insistence on good deals.  So, when something breaks I try to fix it or if I know I can get something for less money, I go after it.  It does not help that I am somewhat perfectionist when it comes to getting something I use everyday right and I work methodically to get it right.  Case 1: The dishwasher broke my Senior year of college.  Jonathan, my housemate at the time, and I tried to do everything ourselves.  Rather than buy a new dishwasher at Home Depot and have a professional install it the next day, we thought it was possible to buy a used one off of craigslist and install it ourselves.  A few grueling days later, after several trips to the hardware store for parts, taking the old dishwasher to the dump, and about 10 hours each of work on the machine, we had it done.  I learned then that I had wasted my time at the expense of time I could have used doing other important things, and in the end when I added up all the costs, including what my labor was worth, we paid more than we would have with the Home Depot!  I will say that if I had to do it again, I could do it a lot faster as much of the work was a learning process, but I am not in the business of fixing technical things when I have a full workload elsewhere.  So, I pledged to myself then to let the trained professionals, who have all the tools and supplies ready at hand, do what they need to do and hope I spend my time wisely enough to pay them for their services.

I write this blog because I saved about $100 on flights to Brunei from Hong Kong by flying through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  I realized afterwards I sacrificed more than I was willing to save that money.  My only justification was I am young and have the time and stress threshold to do what I did.  Rather than take a simple 3 hour direct flight, I spent an extra 12 hours flying around, checking my bags in and out of airport terminals, and travelled with low budget service!  Not only this, but I lost valuable time with friends.  I will pay the extra money next time to fly in style, with no stress, and lots of time.

I think there is a certain threshold where a person must break free from the tasks of daily living in order to be more productive.  Maybe this has something to do with specialization.  There is a person who does every task imaginable, from fixing electrical outlets to housekeeping.  I can either do everything myself or focus on the thing I like to do and rely/trust on others to do their part.  I will do the latter, but will institute some balance to keep me sane.


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