Balancing Time and Money

There’s a balancing act going on in my life and whether you’re conscious of it or not, I bet it’s happening in your life as well. First, a little history – fifteen years ago, my husband and I decided we’d like to be parents and knew from the get go that one of us would stay home. Though he would have been totally willing to be the stay at home parent, I was the one that got to do it. Since that time my husband has worked full time to support our family and I’ve gone back to school, worked for a direct sales/home party plan company, volunteered at my kids’ school, and worked for a non-profit while maintaining my title as a stay at home mom. For most of those years as a family, we were light on time and heavier on money.

For the last 15 months, however, we have tipped the scales. During this past year, my husband has also been home with me and we have been enjoying a temporary early retirement while exploring the possibility of purchasing a small business. (Stay tuned for a future post about how we have managed to live without an income for over a year without changing our lifestyle.) During that time we’ve learned a lot about small businesses, taken walks together while the kids are at school, been able to talk to each other more than we have since having children, and really enjoyed a slower pace of life.

This temporary early retirement has led us to really examine how we would design our ideal lifestyle. We have 5 years before our oldest will graduate from high school and 10 years until we are empty nesters (cue tears), and the only thing we are certain about is that we don’t want to miss out on any part of our kids’ lives for the next 10 years. We’ve put in lots of time and energy in raising them to this point and we don’t want to set that all aside now to focus only on a career and money.

A year ago I copied down the following quote and stuck it on our fridge:

“People who spend all their time trying to make money, spend all of their money trying to make time.”

We don’t want to live that way. We love the time we have with our kids. We love having dinner together nearly every night. We love taking family vacations where we make memories and drive each other nuts and goof around and get to know each of our children a little bit better than we can while they’re at school and hanging out with friends all the time. We love just hanging out at home and watching movies while lounging on the couch.

However, we haven’t quite reached the FI/RE level of Mr. Money Mustache, so currently our scale is heavier on time and lighter on money.

So the questions become, how do we use some of our time to make a sufficient amount of money to allow us to keep enough time to create the lifestyle we want? How do we balance time and money? The answer is, by taking action that aligns with our priorities. As we continue looking at businesses, we have narrowed our focus to businesses that will allow us to attend our children’s weeknight and weekend activities most of the time, ones where we can include our children in the business, and ones that have a family-centered culture. All the while, keeping in mind that all income streams, take not only time, but also hard work to develop and maintain.

By focusing on our priorities, and aligning our actions to them, it is our goal to have a balanced scale where we are heavy on time and heavy on money. Wouldn’t that be great?

I’d love to hear from you! Is your quest for more money taking up all of your time? What action can you take to get back some of your time? Would you be willing to sacrifice some money to have more time? Are you willing to give up time to make more money?


2 thoughts on “Balancing Time and Money

  1. This is also a juggle in our own household, quality time with family & energy put into work for financial gain. I absolutely live for heavy on family time, I’m not motivated by great financial gain for the sake of having money. However, it is the choices & experiences we can have as a family which money can provide that motivate me to pour into work. Creating this harmony is a work in progress. Enjoyed reading about these conversations happening in your home as well, and kudos to you for the temporary early retirement, I think that’s an incredible decision and blessing to your family!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! It’s good to know we’re not alone in trying to create some type of balance between time and money!

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