Stop Trading Your Time For Money

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I spent almost one month in Thailand/Australia/Singapore in december.

One of the most shocking and surprising discoveries I made during my trip was that I spent less money while traveling, compared to how much I spend while I’m working 9 -5.

This got me think really hard about why.

During the trip I could spend my 24 hours exactly as I wanted every day. I had all the free time I could ever dream of.

I visited the most beautiful places in the world, I had time to meet friends and even do all kind of fun activities. Every single day!

I had an amazing month traveling and I felt really grateful for every hour spent, and to my surprise it all costed me less money than I spend in a regular “boring” month back home.

How is this possible? Is it really true that I can have more time and more fun while living the life of my dreams? And in the same time spend less money?

Going back to 9 – 5 after my vacation

I’ve been working for almost 3 months after my vacation.

All the activities I had lots of time for during my trip are now reduced to a bare minimum.

Reading, writing, meet friends, workout, enjoy the sunset etc.

All these activities are free, but they take time.

Isn’t it weird that I what I want most in life costs basically nothing, but somehow I don’t have time to pursue them fully?

Every week I exchange my precious time for money I don’t need.

Financial independence means a lot to me because it allows me to take back my time.

These days I’m saving like a mad man to become FI. Every month I invest aprox. 60 % of my salary, so basically I could live of only 40 % if I stay at home.

If I’d “lived” on the road I think I could’ve lived out of 20 % of my income, aprox. 1000 $ every month.

In many ways this idea is extremely appealing to me.

By living on the road I could have reduced my FIRE-number from 600.000 $ USD to 300.000 $ USD, it would allow me to take back time earlier and I could see new places and try doing some freelance writing jobs if I wanted to.

But then there is family and friends. They’re getting older each day, and I want to be around them. I also love to stay where I live and the nature is beautiful here.

I feel lucky to say that I only got five years left before I quit the rat race if I choose to live in Norway.

5 years with hard work and exchanging my time for money.

Optimizing my 5 years left in the rat race

I spend ten hours every day for work related tasks. This is to much.

So at the moment I’m trying to optimize my life to get more time available in my current lifestyle.

Daily I have a 45 min commute each way, and after sticking with this for almost three years, it’s time for me to make a change.

Right now I’m in the middle of a job interview process for a job thas is only 4 minutes walking from my apartment.

And it is also 5.000 – 10.0000 $ higher salary!

I know the answer probably in the middle of the coming week, and even if I don’t get the position, I do for sure know that I will apply for other jobs in the neigborhood!

Embracing minimalism and working less

Have you ever thought about why you work 8 hours a day?

And how much work you actually get done in these 8 hours?

The 8-hour workday is really profitable for businesses, not because how much work an office worker gets done (an average worker gets three hours of effective work done), but because the employer keeps the workers free time scarce.

When free time is a scarce in life, it means that the worker bee automatically will pay a lot more for reliefs and “things” to try to boost their happiness levels.

This is ironic because studies has showed that you don’t get more happy over time when you buy new things.

A shortage of free time makes us procrastinate, watch more TV and its commercials, which again leads to buying more things. And the end result is that we get poorer both in money and time.

The culture we live in is designed to make us tired and dissatisfied with our lives. Our solution to the problem is to buy more, because we feel like we have to fill that gaping hole inside us that’s getting bigger for every single day.

We feel like something is missing.

The solution is to embrace minimalism and work less.

How often do you say: “When I get …. then I will be happy”. Or if I just work 1 more year, then I will go on the vacation of my dreams.

What would happen if we wanted less? Wouldn’t we be happier if we were content with what we already have? Then there would be no more objects to strive for. And therefore less stress and less working in the rat race.

You could be living the life of your dreams if you just wanted less!

What I mean by working less is that you should stop trading your time for money.

If you work on something you love, I don’t define this as work.

I spend probably 10 hours a week on blog related tasks. For some people this may feel like dreadful work, but for me this is enjoyable.

When I blog I often enter flow mode and let my thoughts and creativity flood. I love it so much that I wish I could spend even more time on it.

Every day, you chose what to do with your 24 hours, just like the rest of us.

You did what you thought was smart. But you know you could have done better things with your time and money.

Save up some money and quit, then do what you love.

More spending = less time

We spend money to cheer ourselves up after a long day, to reward ourselves because we managed another week, to celebrate victories, to fix “problems” and to escape boredom.

What would happen to the economy if everybody just stopped buying unneccessary things? Wouldn’t the economic system collapse?

The reason that the economic system is so healthy, is because we are unhealthy. We are depressed, have an higher BMI than ever before and on top of that there is pollution and a major climate crisis.

And for the economy to stay healthy, we have to keep up with our bad habits.

The 40 hour work week is big business for keeping us dissatisfied and where we solve our “problems” by buying new things.

The more money we make, the more we spend. It’s not that we suddenly need to buy more just because we make more. But because we can, we do it.

It’s quite difficult for us to avoid increasing our rate of spending every time we get a raise.

But remember that by increasing your spending, you’ll have to be a part of this hamster wheel forever.

If you say that making more money than you need is the most important thing in life, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.

This was the first touch I got of “Financial Independence”. A must see video!

If you only chase the money, you will be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living.

That is to going on doing things you don’t like doing forever. Which doesn’t make sense.

Is this you?

Some years ago, this was me.

I’ve always questioned this, but I didn’t take any action before january 2018.

After years of reading blogs about people doing what I wanted to do, I finally took the leap and started my journey to financial independence my self.

Still not convinced that Financial Independence is something for you?

Wait? You don’t want extra time to pursue your interests and have more options in life?

Well, I’m not forcing you. And no one says you have to quit your job either, it’s all about opportunities and more freedom.

Come and join me when you are ready, I will gladly teach you what I know!

Read all my posts in chronological order here: Archives

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24 Replies to “Stop Trading Your Time For Money”

  1. ogellers says: Reply

    Great article. I think we could all benefit from getting more of a minimalist mindset. But in the same time i am glad most people don’t so they can continue to feed the welfare state with VAT money and keep people employed. I must admit that i struggle myself to be a complete minimalist, but i am in general happy with fewer (quality) things and saving most of my money.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you, Ogellers! ?
      Do you have an example on things you will/will not give Up In case of minimalism? When will your next savings report be out btw?

  2. “All wretch and no vomit.” Classic.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      We all need some classics in our life ?

    2. ogellers says: Reply

      I will never live without a car. It is freedom on 4 wheels. The money i could save on taking the bus is not worth the hassle. But i do not need anything fancy, just needs to work. Also, i am willing to pay a premium for an iphone, because i prefer iOS over android and i know i will keep the phone for much longer than i would otherwise, But other than that i am pretty frugal in most ways, even though i have splurged on business class tickets to thailand a few times when a great sale has presented itself. It is all about finding the perfect (for me) harmony between spending on what gives you joy and also knowing you are building a future for your self.

      I hope to have a new saving report out tomorrow 🙂 I usually post during the first ten days of the month but have been a bit incosistent in 2019

      1. route2fi says: Reply

        A car is a nice thing, though I don’t need it yet (living in a city).
        Do you have an elecrtric car?
        Oh, and can you pease send me the savings report! I would love to read that 😀 So inspiring to follow your journey!

    3. ogellers says: Reply

      Looks like i wrote the answer in the wrong reply section 😛

      1. route2fi says: Reply

        No worries, mate 😀

      2. ogellers says: Reply

        I tried to post a new update today, but it seems the pengevett page is unable to open due to security risk. It is a really bad forum in many ways, so i have actually been thinking of getting my own blog just for the purpose of documenting my own journey. But it seems like a bit of a hassle to do it so i have put it of so far.

        Yes i have a Nissan leaf, really cheap to operate. We also have a 2007 Honda Civic. We did share only one car for 5 years, but got tired from it. The Honda is paid for in cash and only used when the electric one is not an option and we both need to be somewhere at the same time. Since i work nights, we can usually use only one car for work, i get home in the morning and she drives of to her job in the same car. We live in Bergen, so public transport is an option, but it is way to time consuming and not worth the few KR we save

        1. route2fi says: Reply

          Have you posted it now? Please send it to me afterwards 😀 A blogg is hassle in the start, but totally worth it in the long run! I’ll definitely recommend it!

          Nice, If I had a car, it would be a Nissan Leaf. It looks so fine 😀 Well, it seems like you have legitimate arguments for having cars. I’ve lived in Bergen myself earlier, and some places I totally understand that a car is better than public transport.

  3. This is insightful information. I definitely spend more money when I travel, but it was interesting to see your perspective and see how happy traveling must make you.

    As for me, I’m currently satisfied with my daily schedule and summer’s off. Spending is annoying (whether online or in a mall). I just hate shopping in general.

    I like how you took the article deeper as you went on. This really stuck out to me:

    “The reason that the economic system is so healthy, is because we are unhealthy. We are depressed, have an higher BMI than ever before and on top of that there is pollution and a major climate crisis.”

    It’s sad to think that many people do not notice this or they deny it. Have you ever heard Sundown on the Union by Bob Dylan? It’s a great song about worldwide commerce that gets you thinking…

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you, Savvy History!
      I listened to the song now, great text! That song could actually have been a blogpost! Thanks for pointing out that song 😀
      We are greedy and unhealthy, so now there is time for us in this great FI community to bring something back to the world 😀 To teach others to use less and be content with little, pollute less and help others 🙂

      1. Glad you enjoyed that Bob Dylan song. I might do a post on it someday. Good idea!

        1. route2fi says: Reply

          Can’t wait to read it! And after that you have to do a post about Beach House as well 😉

  4. I first saw the whole money-time (and thus, YOUR energy) relationship in Vicky Robin’s book “Your Money or your life” and it was truly eye-opening.
    From that moment and on, every time I face a purchase I stop and challenge myself: “would I rather have this or X hours of my life?”
    Minimalism is on my horizon, but I’ve got quite a few miles to go before I reach it. Great post!

    The Frugal Expatriate

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks a lot for reaching out, The Frugal Expatriate!

      I’m really glad you liked the post about “Your Money Or Your Life”. Have you read it?
      It is life challenging! What is your FIRE-goal btw? Time-horizon and FIRE-number?
      Tell me if you need any tips/advice on the road, mate 🙂

      If I go to Japan someday, I know who to contact for sure! 😀

  5. I actually want very few things overall, though I do lamentably want fast food more than I should have it. I’m working on that. At present, I eat out once a week when I go to trivia (partially to help support the bar, partially because even when I eat ahead of time, my eating schedule dictates that I’ll be hungry again right around trivia time) and then maybe once or twice every other week. So not bad, but it could be better — both for my wallet and my health.
    Anyway, I try like hell not to “reward” myself with treats for making it through this or that. I try to make each purchase a more conscious choice than that. To varying degrees of success, but everything’s a process.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      But maybe it’s okey to enjoy a meal like that once a week? Life should contain some pleasures as well, don’t you think?
      As you say, everything is a process. I’m glad you try to make each purchase a more conscious choice! The FIRE movement has made me don’t want any thing at all.
      I find a way bigger pleasure of viewing my FIRE-numer grow, than to buy clothes, TV’s and other things 😛

  6. Great article, Route2FI! This is the type of content I am about. Your vacations sounds awesome! Vacations always make me think of the possibilities too. That’s amazing that you are saving 60% of your income right now. I need to improve at that. Hopefully that job opportunity works out! That sounds awesome about the short commute and higher salary. I’ve always wanted something like that. I’m actually in an interview process as well. Very early stages so we’ll see. The job pays significantly more but is more flexible and potentially less hours. It would certainly give me more time to blog and spend time on what I enjoy. My mind is definitely on minimalism and working less. Thanks for sharing!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you so much, Graham! 😀
      60 % is awesome, and hopefully I can average 60 % over the year as well. We’ll see!
      I think I will get more info about the job in the coming week, hopefully I’ll get it 😀
      What kind of interview process are you in right now? I hope you get it, Graham 😀
      Haha. I think we just love blogging too much both of us 😛
      Have a nice sunday, my friend 😀

  7. Good article!

    I think it also depends on who you ask: for natural minimalists and frugal persons, it’s easy for them not to spend money even if they have unlimited free time.

    But for high-consumers, they might even soend more if they have more time on their hands.

    – FN

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you!

  8. It makes me so happy to see the words you write.
    The fact that we so openly exchange our time for money, and by doing so, end up needing more money is sad but true!
    Most people don’t believe it, but it’s a fact. It took me a long time to work that one out, but now it’s so obvious.
    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you for the lovely words, Robin! ?

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