Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Time is money, right?

Yesterday, when my husband and I were in my car running errands, I reminded him that my car needed gasoline. Within a couple miles, he pulled into the curb lane readying to swing into one of the gasoline stations we often frequent. But as we drew near the entrance, he changed his mind and headed on, saying we’d get it after the next errand on the other end of the next town, about a fifteen minute drive away, depending on traffic and trains.

After hitting all the red lights and enduring a l-o-n-g train wait, fast-forward with me now (don’t you wish ALL travel could happen that way!) to the other end of that next town, and envision us passing by the gas station near the bank, the destination of the aforementioned "next errand."

“I thought we were getting gas,” I said, pointing out the side window as we zinged by the station.

“I’ll go back to the first station,” responded he. “They’re fifteen cents a gallon higher here. That’s ridiculous!”

Now, since one store never seemed to accomplish any one task, we’d already spent several hours spinning our wheels on the errands, and we had so many more errands to go, I just needed to check something off the list. (Gasoline? CHECK!) Besides, who knew when he’d get back to that other place, and I’d already been running low for a spell--both on gasoline and patience. So swiftly and LOUDLY, of course I spoke up. (Surprise-surprise.)

“But you’ll spend lots of time and money to save money, and we’re here!” (TONE OF VOICE: somewhere between whine, despair and BULL HORN.) After all, I had a Traveling Laugh to write!

He sighed, relented, pulled into the station and likely mumbled to himself about the wasted two bucks. I didn’t blame him; what with all our remodeling, we’d already cut the budget to its outer edge.

However, when you spend so much of your life traveling, time is money, right? And even if you don’t spend so much of your life traveling farther away than to the gas station and back, time is still money, right?

But, A-HAH!, Mr. Hubby is retired. So, does that old adage still apply?

Then again, when is the more expensive choice the right option? How much extra time do you want to give to scouting out the cheapest rental car and airline tickets when that time could otherwise be spent preparing for the actual business end of the trip? Or taking a nap? Or playing with the kids? Or reading a good book (subliminal message: like one of mine)? When is it worth an extra twenty minutes to save a few bucks? And at what point do you make that decision? Two bucks? Twenty? Fifty? Five hundred?

What price do we allot to, and for, mental torment and/or health? What weight do we give to exhaustion by our own hand? What keeps a marriage together during the strains of travel and remodeling?


In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure it’s all relative. You’re making tons of bucks, you can spend tons of bucks. (Although I understand wealthy people always buy used cars. Go figure.) You’re living on a tight budget, you spend time keeping it tight.

But seriously, how DO you draw the line on time vs. money, especially as it applies to travel? Please post your comments. My husband needs to hear them.

Then again, maybe on this topic, it’s ME who needs a boot to the behind .


Anonymous said...


I fully agree time is money. That is the reason I always pre-pay for a full tank of gas with the rental car agencies. It always seems that when I am flying around and have to return the car, I am running late, the amount of stress that is incurred trying to find a gas station near the rental car return center is not worth the stress, anyone out there try to find a gas station near the Cleveland rental car facility. LOL :-D

Sincerely Eric (of Lombard, IL)

Anonymous said...

I go to Costco to get gas. They have the cheapest gas anywhere (especially with the 3% cashback when you use AMEX). Even if it's out of the way, there's value because you can graze on the free food samples or get a $1.50 polish sausage with soda. And you can lust after the big screen TVs.