Spend Your Money Where You Spend Your Time

Spend Your Money Where You Spend Your Time

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Spend Your Money Where You Spend Your Time

Spend Your Money Where You Spend Your Time is a common mantra but I recently heard it again from An Exacting Life, who is following this philosophy this year to keep her spending on track. I can’t think of a better gauge.

For starters, asking yourself “Is this how I spend my time?” when making a purchase is a good idea. When you say “How often will I wear this?” you are asking your present self a question about your future self. And we all know how that goes. We can justify anything to ourselves. But when you ask “Do I already wear/use things like this?” you are asking your present self about your past self. That is a more accurate gauge of your time and priorities.

An argument against this if you’re trying something new. Well, in that case, do not buy something exciting. Do not buy a whole lot of things. You can still buy things where you don’t spend a lot of time, but it should not be large investment. It should not be the majority.

You can spend a little bit of money where you spend a little bit of time. Then spend a lot of money where you spend a lot of time.

Looking at this philosophy against my current time/spending habits is helpful to know what I should think about purchasing this year. It also helps me feel less guilty when I do buy things. That’s a big one for me.


I spend a lot of time… Running

Although I have decided to do less races this year, I still plan to run at least 3 times a week. It is something I enjoy. It is a benefit to my physical/mental health. And it takes a good chunk of my time.

With that context, it makes sense for me to buy another pair of good running shoes and more quality running clothes. These are expensive so I often hesitate making these purchases. Or else I buy lower quality items. I’m still using some of these and have been for years. They work. But for the amount of time I put into running, spending some money here is acceptable.

I spend a lot of time… Reading

Thankfully, one of my most time-consuming hobbies, reading, costs me nothing. Thank you library. However, it makes me realize that if I do decide I want to purchase an eReader for real, this would make sense. It is something that I would use every single day.

On the other hand, since I read so often, I spend a lot of time reading overall but not a lot of time reading any one book. With a reading rate of a book a week, I am not spending a lot of time on each book. So purchasing individual books does not make sense. Which is why the library is so helpful in this case.

I spend a lot of time… Writing

Between this site and my own fiction, I write every single day. That is a lot of time spent writing. I did pull the trigger purchasing Scrivener last year and it was one of the best decisions. Not only do i use Scrivener for my fiction writing but also for every blog post. Including this one, right now.

One of my tasks for this year was to think about taking a writing course. Of course, in the past, money has been a cause for hesitation. But, thinking of it in this context, spending a few hundred dollars on an activity & skill that I do every single day and would like to continue doing every single day, definitely makes sense.

I spend a lot of time… Cooking/Baking

Four nights a week I cook at home and at least twice a month I bake. That’s a lot of time spent in the kitchen now that I think about it. Plus, I enjoy it. Baking is a hobby for me. Yet, I find myself hesitating when it comes to investing in quality bakeware. I feel guilty buying a new pan or baking dish. Yet these are things that I am using every single day. Baking, especially, is something I enjoy doing for other people. So I definitely want premium baking pans that will last me a long time.


I don’t spend a lot of time… playing MTG

Magic: The Gathering has been one of my hobbies for several years now. Then after discovering the EDH format two years ago, I began playing more often. It can be a very expensive hobby and I definitely have spent a fair bit even just on my non-competitive decks.

However, now that I’m no longer dating someone who plays, I really don’t play all that often. I only play with friends and never with strangers. So that’s about once or twice a month. With such little time spent, I cannot justify building a new deck, buying expensive cards, or any other accessories.

I don’t spend a lot of time… Using Domain Names I Buy

I am making a silent pledge to myself to not purchase any domain names in 2015. I own 15 domains. Only two of those have any content on them.

Of course what happens is I come up with this great idea, this great name, and I purchase it with the intention that future me will do something with it. Then I never do. Also, the initial cost is low at $10-$15/year. I have been renewing some of these for years, still doing nothing with them.

Instead, I should create an entire concept full-out, imagery, and even some content before investing anything else into it. I should spend some actual time on this idea before spending money on it.


I suggest taking a step back and determining just how you spend your time. What activities do you do every day? Several times a week? Then think about the activities you do once a month or less than that? Are you spending your money for those activities in the same way?

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5 Replies to “Spend Your Money Where You Spend Your Time”

  1. This is one of those things that seems really simple, but didn’t occur to me until you said it – it makes perfect sense! I always joke to Andy that if we get burgled, the only valuable things to steal are kitchen items, so I guess we already do follow this rule to some extent! But it makes me feel less bad about spending money on things like yoga classes.

    1. I definitely like using it is a mantra to help me feel less guilty when spending money on things I actually need. Healthcare is a big one because everything in that category is expensive. I still haven’t signed up for pilates classes because of the cost…

  2. RE: Running gear, I have a couple tips.

    1. I’m not sure what brand of shoes you prefer, but find some you like, and then check on them again six months later. Running shoe companies change designs about once a year, and I usually buy up as many pairs of the ones I like at 50% off and then just have a stash ready to go. It saves you money, and it saves you the time of shopping around.

    2. I buy most of my clothes from Old Navy. The price is great, and they have some really cute stuff. I do like to look good, but I also workout a lot and know these clothes have a short shelf life. Places like Marshall’s and TJ Max are also good places to get higher quality items (like wintertime running pants) without breaking the bank.

    1. Thanks for the reminder on the shoe trick – I always forget to do this until it’s too late to find that model. I love the ones I have now and am definitely going to buy another pair!

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