Use Your Money to Buy Back Time — An Important Shift in Financial Thinking

“How do I buy more time?” is the right question to be obsessed with

Tim Denning
Sep 16, 2019 · 4 min read
Photo by Anjo Clacino on Unsplash

Money, to me, always meant having more pleasure and being able to buy stuff. Having money meant less stress and the gift of options. Money could buy me a relaxing holiday, or a better car, or a fancier house.

These money fantasies were nice until I actually got money. My thinking about money changed when I had more than I needed to sustain myself.

That’s when it hit me like a sledgehammer to the head — the benefit of having money is that it allows you to buy back your time. Money buys you time, above everything else.

Thinking About Money in Relation to Time

I’ve just taken four months of work which I bought myself using money. Every day, I have spent the majority of my time writing, learning new skills, having random coffees, and even taking an afternoon nap.

In the last 48 hours, I have attended three sessions of Toastmasters (public speaking classes). Normally, I would attend once a week and then it hit me the other day: “What if I could fast-track my development in public speaking by just going to more classes and doing it more often?”

Now that I have bought myself the time to do so, I can entertain crazy, outrageous, and sometimes ridiculous thoughts, such as this. Anything becomes possible. Having time feels far better than buying more stuff ever did.

Spending Time, Not Money

When I think about money, the first thought that pops into my head is time.

Having the time to write, or to read, or to be with your family feels better than any other purchase you can make. I always thought work was about making money. Now I see work as a means of buying time and spending it on the things that matter to me.

This small shift in thinking makes me earn money and spend it differently. Let me give you an example. Buying a $35,000 car equals approximately one year‘s worth of living expenses for me.

Do I buy a giant chunk of metal that brings me no joy or do I buy a years’ worth of time to not work, do some writing, read a few books, and see my family?

That is how I think about money.

Every physical item I buy takes away time that I have to use how I wish. Buying stuff means having to always invest my time in working, rather than living life.

Using Money to Create More Money That Buys You More Time

There are four actions you take when it comes to money:

1. Earning

You can attempt to buy money by earning more. In other words, finding more ways to add value — or, an even simpler way of thinking about it is to find more ways to be helpful or solve problems.

2. Spending

When you earn money, you can spend it. This area will be a major factor as to whether you get to trade money to buy back time.

If you spend recklessly when you earn money, then you have to keep going back and spending your precious time completing more income-producing activities. This can become a vicious cycle.

3. Saving

When you earn money, you can save it so that you can use it when you need more time or want to step away from income-producing activities.

But, if you also spend money recklessly and don’t use the money you save to invest, you will still be held back from the beautiful idea of trading your money to buy back time.

4. Investing

Buying back time using money comes down to changing how you view both realities. The quickest way to buy back more time is to invest your money so it creates more money, thus giving you more time you can purchase.

What has been critical to me over the last couple of years has been not just earning money, or spending less, or saving money — it’s been using money to invest in real assets.

The Biggest Asset to Invest In

This one is going to sound so corny, yet it’s true: invest in yourself.

I used money to complete courses, go to events, and get outside my reality bubble, which is Melbourne, Australia. To buy back time, you need to invest in yourself which allows you to see all the ugly parts and harsh truths you have avoided and put them to good use.

The person you develop into by investing in yourself has the capacity to earn more money, spend less money, save more money, invest more money, and work out through this process what the best use is of the time that money can now buy you. (That was a mouthful, I know.)


Thinking about what money really is will bring about the argument of time vs. money. If you can see what money is and be able to relate it back to your life and why you’re here, an extraordinary shift in your thinking will occur.

You’ll become obsessed with the question: “How do I buy more time?”

Every purchase you make will become an equation of time given up, instead of an equation that focuses on fulfilling desires or impressing other people.

Use money to buy time. Spend that time on whatever the hell brings you joy.

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Tim Denning

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Aussie Blogger — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship.

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