Students: What's Your Time Worth?

Money is a limited resource for college students, but so is time. This article explores some things that students might do to save one, but ends up making them spend a lot of the other. Figure out how you can make more efficient use of your time and save on both resources.

Time Is Money

Students tend to be constantly barraged with the message that they should save money. And of course it makes sense. Students have limited income to spend on the things that they want or need to buy. As a student, it may seem tempting to save money at all costs. But sometimes a student needs to stop and assess something else they are spending in order to save money. That valuable commodity is time.

student job save money time is money

It's always been said that there's no such thing as a free lunch, meaning that nothing in the world actually costs you nothing. With many money-saving ventures, time is what you're spending rather than cash. At other times, just spending time on different activities ends up costing you money later down the line. The question is whether or not it's worth it. Examine some ways students spend their time and think about whether it saves or costs money over all.


Think for a moment about how you generally spend your time. How much goes to homework? To chores? To leisure? Driving? That last one is probably where you'll find the most extra time spent when trying to save money. It might be true that gas costs less across town, but is it worth the extra ten minutes driving? If you checked you'd probably find that you're negating that savings with the extra miles burned. So it's not worth the extra time, because that time is actually costing you as much money as you'd be saving.

You'll find that's generally true with driving to get savings. Driving further to a bargain market doesn't actually save you that much because you'll be burning gas to get there. More time in the car always means more money spent, so try to consider if discounted microwave pizza across town is really worth the time spent driving.

Homework and Jobs

You might say that the point of college is to get you into the real world and get you a new job. Most of that hinges on you graduating. So it is prudent to say that probably the most valuable thing you can do with your time is schoolwork. Making sure you graduate will set you up for getting a job and gaining you a steady paycheck. Therefore, if you look ahead, the time spent on homework is actually saving you money, even if it takes away a lot of your day.

If you already have a job, then consider how valuable it is to spend time there. You can actually measure this time in dollars, since many jobs pay at an hourly rate. So ask yourself, is there any way I can spend more time doing this? Think of the time you spend cleaning your room, watching TV or napping. By not spending it doing something work related you're actually losing money.

There are many chores you need to do, but is there some way you can pay someone else to do them while you spend more time at work? It sounds strange that you'd want to spend money in order to save money, but weigh out all the costs. Would you still turn a reasonable profit doing more work and paying someone else to do your laundry and cleaning? If the answer is yes, then that's how your time might be better spent.

Leisure Time

No matter what anyone says, leisure time is necessary every day. If you do not take time to relax your mind and body then you will not be able to do your job, your homework or other valuable activities as effectively. This can lose you money in the long run, so it's worth it just to spend a little time every day relaxing.

However, you still need to be careful of just how you spend that leisure time. Online gaming is a fun way to divert yourself for a while, but it can be expensive depending on what game you play. Going out to a club at night typically costs an entrance fee. There are cheaper ways around your college campus to have fun that cost you the same amount of time. Consider going to a free show, or playing a video game that does not cost a fee. Free diversions save you money and are a better use of your time, because they still let your brain and body relax without dipping into your bank account.

Don't have a job and want one? Consider the benefits of a work-study position!

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