What is value for money?

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In a lot of my life I come back to the question: What is value for money? Knowing the actual value of everything in your life and what you want is so important, but what is more important, is then knowing its value to you. Different things will have different values to different people, but that doesn’t make anyone’s value they have put on something right or wrong.

Value and cost aren’t always linked

The mindset we have to get out of, is that value and cost are linked. We need to get out of the mindset of expensive things either being value for money or not value for money, based on the price tag. When you are trying to save money you can get so wrapped up in things needing to be cheap and thinking that expensive things aren’t value for money. The price you pay is the transfer you make for something, but it has nothing to do with its value. Yes you can make good deals and bad deals on things but a good deal can be a bad deal, if you didn’t really value the thing you are getting.

In a sport I love at the moment ‘value for money’ is a big subject, the sport being football. In England we are getting ready for the end of the transfer market and already, in this shopping window spending records have been set. With every player purchased the first thing that is talked about is – if the player is worth the price a club has paid for them. So even before a player has kicked a ball for the team or had a chance to make a return on the investment the club have made in them, the purchase is judged.

Return on investment

Now in football players are purchased for silly money, so it is hard to see value for money in any of it but prices are still relative to what else is happening in those markets. The one thing I question though is – how many players actually make the club back the money they invested in them? There are lots of ways a player can make a club money, like prize money for trophies won and league positions obtained, merchandise sales from merchandise featuring their name or likeness, ticket sales from people who come specially to watch because of that player and so on. Regardless of their price, some players are better value than others and I wish we knew more about which players and deals actually were.

Money may be tight for you, but I encourage you this week to look at the value of things and not at the price. Are there things you are paying for, that actually have not enough value to you to be worth paying for? Could you be getting value by paying more for something, like buying a bigger box of washing powder that might make each wash cheaper and save you money long term or a brand of washing up liquid that is slightly more expensive but might last twice as long as the slightly cheaper one and so on and so on.

What do you trade your time for?

Over the last year it has really hit home to me, that we spend our lives here on earth trading our time for other things. There is very little we can trade to get more time on earth, so the best thing we can do is make the best trades we possibly can, with the time we have.

Some of the most common things we trade our time for, are money, education and family. During the week we spend most of our waking hours either at work, raising a family, or in school, college or university. For many people there are a million and one other things they would rather be doing, but have traded their time in this way in order to get an education (which will help them later in life), money to pay bills or raise their family.

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Time is a commodity

I think time is a very precious commodity that you can’t put a price on, but yet I think many people make bad trades or trades they aren’t happy with. I think it is only when you understand how precious your time is that you really start looking at the trades you make.

Trades can involve making short-term sacrifices in order to obtain a long-term goal, but I think it is important not to make a long-term sacrifice, as time is something you can never get back. There is nothing wrong with making sacrifices, as long as you know how that sacrifice is going to help you and how it is important to make that sacrifice, in order to get to a better trade later on.

What do you want to trade for?

To make a trade or think about making a trade you have to know what is important to you and what is worth trading for. You should want to trade for the best thing you possibly can and this will be different to different people. Is happiness the best thing? Is Money? Is a different way of living? You need to spend time thinking about what the most important thing is to you to trade for and then make sure you are positioning yourself to make the trade. To get to the point where you are trading your time for what you want you may have to make many smaller trades and sacrifices on the way, but you have to remember its that end position of trading that is important.

I think the more responsibilities you have the more challenging trading your time becomes. Responsibilities will put restraints on your time that you have to make other trades with as will the levels of money you need to be bringing in to uphold your way of living. It is important to recognise though, that those responsibilities can be a great motivator to make better trades with your time. Your responsibilities can also be the best trades with your time that you make, as these are in many cases responsibilities you have chosen to take on because they make you happy.

Using your time wisely

Time in your life is a complex thing and sometimes the more you fill it with, the quicker it can seem to pass and the less you look at if you are using your time in the best way. I think it is wise to take a step back and write down all the ways you use your time and really look at what are good uses of your time and which aren’t. Don’t let a complicated life or a busy life stop you from thinking about how you use your time and making the best trades you can.

The ultimate trade

Those people who are making the best trades in my opinion are those that are truly happy with their life and have the ability to do whatever it is they want to do, those that aren’t limited by anything. Other people may choose to do different things with their time than you do, but it doesn’t make their trades any worse or better than yours if they are using their time in a way that makes them happy.

So now you ask what do I want to trade my time for? I want to trade it for happiness and having enough money to make the dreams of my family to come true. I’m not quite there yet, but everyday I am thinking of trades I can make to make it happen and then making the trades that I currently can.

Time is precious, so spend it wisely and never forget that time spent is an investment in yourself, so lets make the best trades and investments that we can.