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SoullessAutomaton comments on Money: The Unit of Caring - Less Wrong

95 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 March 2009 12:35PM

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Comment author: SoullessAutomaton 31 March 2009 02:54:47PM 15 points [-]

My usual metric of whether I'm wasting my time (I'm not the first to suggest this, to be sure), has long been to value my time at some amount of money, and consciously think either "am I saving more money by doing this than the value of my time" or "am I enjoying this enough that I would spend the value of my time for this entertainment".

For instance, I don't really bother with most amusement parks because the sum cost of admission, plus the time "cost" of waiting in lines, is more value than I want to spend on the limited enjoyment of the rides.

If anything, I tend to be more stingy with time than money, because it's harder to convert money back into time than the other way around.

Comment author: AlexanderRM 15 November 2014 02:23:58AM 0 points [-]

This sounds like an excellent idea. I personally am quite stingy with money but waste time with reckless abandon. I really ought to attach a dollar value per unit of time. Of course, I haven't done this because I'm worried that if I do this I'll be unable to spend any time on anything (if I had to spend $8 to spend an hour on anything... I can't imagine that at all). I suppose the problem here is that I'm valuing my money too highly and need to lower the attached value per dollar. I could probably start by attaching an unrealistically low value to the time, like $1 an hour perhaps, and then gradually upping it.

Comment author: Pudlovich 26 March 2015 12:00:19PM *  0 points [-]

I think you're misapplying the method. "Pay $8 to spend an hour on anything" - you're counting the cost twice: one time spending the money, and the second spending the time. Maybe a better metric would be "I'd rather be paid $8 for spending an hour doing exactly nothing".

I may be wrong, though.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 March 2015 01:33:36PM 0 points [-]

I think they meant it more like "Spending an hour of time on doing X will feel the same as spending $8 on doing X from the inside."

I may be wrong, though!

Comment author: Pudlovich 26 March 2015 02:30:34PM 1 point [-]

It makes sense, but I can't entirely convince myself that it's the best way to look at it. A gut feeling that something's wrong - I cannot throw out the time from the equation.

Ad absurdum - I look at everything that I can do with my free time and decide nothing is worth paying $8 per hour. So what do I do? Maybe work, so I can get my $8 back. Yeah, that's the idea.

I'm not convinced that it's the best way to think about it.