May 4, 2010

My "Hourly Wage"

Our family had a little shopping excursion Saturday after we finished visiting our bus children.  We stopped at JCPenney, Kohl's, and my favorite visit, Chick-fil-A, for a late lunch.  I had coupons for all three places, so naturally, it was an inexpensive shopping spree.  Later, as I was sorting through our receipts, I realized that both JCPenney and Chick-fil-A offered something for taking a customer experience survey.  

For completing the surveys, I received a free Chick-fil-A sandwich and 15% off my next JCP purchase--all for about 5 minutes of my time!  Now considering that the sandwich is $3.09, and I save $3.75 at JCP on a $25 purchase (because I have a $10 off a $25 purchase coupon and the two can be combined!), I just made $6.84 in 5 minutes.  That equals an hourly wage of $82.08!

I use this example because it is one that I just did, but there are many ways that with a small amount of time and effort, we can maximize our savings and time.  Some of these include cooking from scratch, re-using and recycling, sewing, repairing, and on and on... There are certainly many ways to save money and live frugally, but I don't know that all of them are worth the effort, time, or space that they require for the money that they save.  For example, I read about a guy who saved 60 empty quarts of oil, made a wooden device for holding the quarts upside down, and obtained an additional quart of oil by draining out the few drops left in each of the 60 bottles.  I seriously doubt if the time or effort that he put into this project was worth the $4 or so that he saved.

If you are not sure whether an activity is really worth your time versus money saved, calculating your "hourly wage" is a great way to find out! 

Here's the formula:

Money saved/made
Time (in hours)

 = Hourly wage

It's a tough one, I know...

My priority is keeping a balanced, happy home, not an unhappy, frugal home.  For me, the returns on some investments of my time are just not high enough to justify their indulgence.  An example of this in my life is shopping other local stores, including Aldi's! The savings, after calculating time to get there and money spent on gasoline, is just not great enough.  Now there are some activities for which the intrinsic value cannot be calculated in monetary terms, so everybody has to determine for themselves what pursuits are worthy of their time. However, this handy little calculation helps me keep focused on what is important.

This post is linked to Tip Me Tuesday, Tuesday Tips, Tightwad Tuesday, Thrifty Tip Tuesday, Tuesday's Tip Jar,  Works for Me Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday.

15 lovely comments:

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

We love Chick-fil-a too! Now I am hungry!

Debbie said... Best Blogger Tips

That's a great hourly wage! You're right - sometimes a "money-saving" activity isn't actually saving enough to be worthwhile. I also try to calculate time, gas, and so on when deciding whether or not it's worth going out of my way to a different supermarket for a sale and so on.

Olivia said... Best Blogger Tips

So true! I'm working very hard to maximize every minute of my time right now--partly so that I can feel no guilt for the time I rest! Thanks for the tip!

Lori Yoder said... Best Blogger Tips

I agree! Sometimes, it's hard to remember that! Thanks for the reminder!

corrin said... Best Blogger Tips

I always take advantage of the customer surveys. I'm addicted to Sonic slushies, and I get pretty lucky with surveys during happy hour. $1 for a slushie plus a free coupon!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Good points. . .I often try to strike the balance between saving $ in my frugality, versus time/inconvenience factors.

And now I'll have to go to Chick Filet and see if I can get a survey. I get a free burger at Wendy's a month through their receipt surveys, and a free sandwich every time I go to Arbys. . . I also heard Donato's gives out free ind. pizzas via surveys.

Jamie @ I Am A Money Magnet said... Best Blogger Tips

I love those Chik-fil-a survey's! I got one a couple weeks ago and was so excited! Petsmart is another place where survey's print on the receipt. Just for taking the survey you get $3 to spend and that equals free treats for my puppy!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

That is a neat little trick. Congrats on your $82.08 hourly wage! That's really impressive. Now, if I could find a job that would pay me that in cash, hehe.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

That's a neat little trick. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your $82.05 hourly wage! That's impressive. Now, if I could find a job that would pay me that per hour in cash, hehe.

Toni said... Best Blogger Tips

About the guy with the oil? Probably NOT a good use of time...but's just about the CHALLENGE. heh heh So many times places are giving away free items or discounts - we just have to pay attention. Burger King receipts offer free Whoppers on the back with a survey. Stopping by from Coupon Teacher.

Coupon Teacher said... Best Blogger Tips

I am not sure what my hourly wage would be, here lately I feel like I am working for too little!

Phyllis Blickensderfer said... Best Blogger Tips

Not only is your hourly wage outstanding -- you share the largesse with the rest of us!! Keep those ideas coming. They are appreciated.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Is there away to add your email or blog for daily updates would love to follow you in frugal living tips and stories to learn by thank you not sure what url is just starting to learn all this computer words

robin patton said... Best Blogger Tips

I found it I think!!

Alisa said... Best Blogger Tips

Donnie LOVES Chick-fil-a! He is always trying to snag those survey receipts!