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I posted a TikTok on how much my engine swap cost. I got some pushback on how long it took. Someone asked me how much my time was worth. Others criticized me for wasting time; one person said that the work I put in was not worth enough money for his time. But if you don’t have the money to replace your car, or pay someone else to fix it, then any amount of time spent fixing your car is worth it.

The Tiny Garage Technician

Have you ever heard people say, “Why are you wasting time trying to fix that problem on your car?” Or, “You don’t know what you’re doing. You should take it to the shop so a professional can do the job.” Then you’re a tiny garage technician. And you know that most people have more time than money. And, being a tiny garage technician, you’re more likely to spend time to get your car repaired.

Setting a Standard for Your Time

But being willing to spend more time than money does not mean that you have endless time. Your time is only going to be worth more than money if you leverage it. First, I’ll define “worth.” Say you go to Home Depot and find a 16-drawer Milwaukee tool rolling cabinet for $1000. Home Depot has determined that people will pay $1000 for that tool cabinet, so that’s how much it is worth. When we’re talking about figuring out what our time is worth, we’re talking about value. Can you set a dollar amount for your time? Start by stating the quality of your time, or setting a standard.

Your Employer’s Standard of Time

Your employer sets a standard for the value of your time. A low-end mechanic could be paid $70/hr by his boss, making the value of his money on the clock $70 an hour. An engine replacement done at this rate from 8-20 hours would end up costing $560-$1400 in labor fees alone, not to mention the cost of the engine itself. If you do that engine replacement yourself, you won’t have to pay that mechanic fee. Would it be worth your time to save that money?

Three Values of Time

Let’s look at three values of time. We can talk about time spent serving an employer, time spent selling yourself, and time spent serving others. We’ll also explore that concept of “off time.” Do you put your off time on the clock, or is this an undefinable amount of time for you?

Time Serving Your Employer

It’s easy to figure out the value of time serving your employer. You fill a position for your employer at an hourly or yearly rate. That’s what your time is worth. It’s all on the clock. But, what do you get paid in your off-hours? Your salary is meant to sustain you even when you are not working. Is there a way to leverage your time to make money in your off-hours? Maybe you could invest some time and a little money to improve your skills, or build something to sell. That would be worth your time.

Time Spent on Yourself

Maybe you want to spend your off-time on yourself. That makes sense. You work hard for your money. Enjoy some leisure. Do you measure your leisure time, or do you use it all for playing or resting?

Try setting a limit on your leisure time. If you are off work for the day, trying dividing your day up into 8 hours, just like a work day. Set a timer for 3 hours, and spend that on leisure. That’s enough time to watch one movie or three episodes of your favorite TV show. When the timer goes off, go build something, clean something, or spend time helping your children.

How much time do you usually put into the leisure bucket? What could build to sell during that time? Spend some of that time fixing something so you can use it again. Would that redeem your hours?

Time Serving Others

Let’s open the “charity” box for a minute. If you used your off-hours for charity, how much would you get done? Your time would be valuable to someone else at this point. You could build housing for homeless people, getting a house done in about a month or so. You could visit people in nursing homes or hospitals. You could fix cars for poor people. You could teach young people how to maintain their cars. Would that be a waste of your time? It certainly would not.

Who Sets Your Standards?

The value of your time has to do with standards. Does your boss set your standards (owning all of your time), or do you? Think about how you spend your off-time. Do you spend it all on yourself, on others, or a little bit of both? Do you value working for money, or money working for you? I value my money working for me.

Making Plans

It’s a good idea to figure out where you stand, so you can make plans to accomplish your goals. You don’t just wake up one day and discover you money is working for you. That takes planning–again more time. If this is your goal, consider your time an investment.

A Good Investment of Time

I considered my time on an engine replacement an investment. I knew that I’d emerge on the other end with a running car where there was only a ton of metal taking up space before. But then I knew I had something of value to other people: a video course on how to turn a dead car into a running car. You can also leverage your time to get ahead. If you can change your oil, we can walk you the rest of the way through an engine replacement. Click here to buy our engine replacement video course.