Many of us have some kind of plan in place to save money. However you label them, it's easy to forget that most of our long-term savings have one goal in mind: to buy us time.
Money picture from Shutterstock
As finance blog Work To Not Work points out, most of our savings goals are to buy us time later. Not just retirement, either! When you save up to go on holiday, your goal is that you will be able to spend the money without having to pay back that time with more work:
The way that I view it, I don't own my time, and that is the most important thing to me. Money is a way for me to acquire my own time. Right now, my time has to be spent making money so that when I do take vacations or want to do something I can afford to take that time off of work. Once I reach financial independence, I will have successfully bought my time for a price I deemed fair, I am then free to spend my time on whatever I want to do with it. If I die with a lot of extra money and a few extra decades of being able to choose what I wanted to do, instead of working at a job. Then I think I'd be happy with that.
...I think it's fun to know how much an hour of my time will cost me. Knowing that I just put $US2,000 into savings equals over 3 weeks (17.3 business days) of retirement seems like a great measuring stick to me.
It might not be that functionally different from what we do now, but knowing the reason we save can help us keep the motivation up. The practical way to try it out would be to calculate how much time your monthly savings buys you in the future. Then, instead of "saving" $100, you can say you're "buying" a few hours of time of not working in the future.