Sometimes I get really excited about the idea of saving money, especially at those times of the year (January and September) when I think about ways I can improve my life. It’s no surprise that these months always follow periods of time off and excessive spending (during the summer and holidays).
During one such period of financial self-reflection, I decided that my food expenses were too high, and I was going to cut back on takeout and start using coupons at the grocery store.
I had seen the stories of people who did their entire food shopping at a huge discount by clipping coupons and buying in bulk, and it looked easy enough, so I decided to start there. I bought multiple copies of the Sunday newspaper, bookmarked a few coupon websites, and downloaded a coupon app on my phone.
Then I proceeded to spend the next seven (yes, seven) hours on a rainy Sunday pouring through these websites and cutting out sections of the newspaper. I took my big stack of coupons to the store, did my food shopping according to what I had discounts for, and felt very proud of myself until I got to the register.
After 7 hours of searching and clipping and an hour of price-comparing at the store, I had saved a total of $14.50. I also had a cart full of food that I didn’t even really like, just because it was a good deal. Seriously??
Needless to say, that shopping trip ended my coupon-clipping activities. The way I see it, if I wouldn’t work for $2-per-hour pay, then my ‘free’ time wasn’t going to be wasted away for that rate either.
I work very long hours, generally starting my day in the early morning and ending in the evening, and my weekends are limited and precious. Saving $14.50 certainly wasn’t worth giving up 7 hours on a Sunday, and when I think about the other ways that my time is often consumed in pursuit of saving money, whether in my business or at home, I have to take a step back and consider the true cost of that time, and whether I’d be better off outsourcing a project than tackling it myself.
For example, if I were to do the bookkeeping for our agency, I would cut down on a monthly expense in our budget and ‘save’ that money for other uses. However, it would take away precious hours of my own time that could instead be used for the marketing of our agency.
Since marketing is my skill area, and bookkeeping certainly is not, it makes sense that if I instead used those bookkeeping hours for marketing, I could bring a substantial amount of new and increased business to our firm.
The cost of bookkeeping for those hours would be far less than the lifetime value of the business that I could bring in, therefore it is a much better use of my time to focus on my areas of skill and outsource the bookkeeping.
I could make the same argument for outsourcing IT support, travel services, or any number of other time-consuming tasks that are outside the areas of work where I directly contribute to our bottom line and the success of the firm.
So the question is: where is your time best spent?
Are you writing social media content and managing your own ad campaigns because you don’t want the expense of hiring someone to handle that for you? If you weren’t doing that, would you be able to focus more time on the services you can perform which would contribute to your bottom line and the overall success of your organization?
It’s hard to spend money in order to make money, but that one shift in thinking to identify where it’s better to focus on increasing revenue rather than reducing expenses could be the single most effective change you ever make.
Learn how you can outsource your marketing to increase your revenue. Contact us today.