We have all heard the saying “time is money,” but more Americans like never before apparently believe their time is extremely valuable.
New numbers from online advisor Personal Finance show U.S. adults — especially young adults — are willing to spend more for convenience, often increasing simple costs of day-to-day living. This is despite the fact that 60% say they haven’t taken any precautionary steps for a potential economic downturn.
Just in analyzing simple day-to-day activities, the report revealed adults between 20 years old and 30 years old spend 60% of their food budget on eating out, and people in general eat out for dinner roughly 14 times per month. American between 20 and 60 years old also spend on average $17.73 a month for their daily coffee fill up at Starbucks.
Bryan Clayton has noticed this trend first hand. As CEO of GreenPal, which matches homeowners with local lawn care professionals, Clayton sees Americans desire for convenience daily.
“We have over 20,000 customers in five different states, and we noticed that 60% of our customers are in up-and-coming neighborhoods with a working-class demographic,” Clayton said.
“One would think that lawn care services would only be reserved for the wealthy; however, our data shows that working class people would rather pay for service to mow their lawn rather than maintain the necessary equipment and mow their grass themselves,” he adds.
While Americans claim they do prioritize retirement and savings, stats show they stubbornly still have bad spending habits.
"Americans have gone convenience crazy,” said Howard Dvorkin, a certified public account and chairman of Debt.com. "As a financial counselor, I actually encourage shopping efficiently. However, now I see people buying groceries at high-end gourmet markets because, as one client told me, ‘the parking is easier and the check-out lines are shorter.’”
Dvorkin said worst of all is the excuse of “it’s only an extra dollar or two.”
“It adds up,” he said. “It’s one thing to spend a little extra on a shirt or slacks that might last for years. It’s quite another to go to Starbucks every morning when you could spend a few extra minutes and save a few extra dollars.”
Felicia Hemby, a certified financial education instructor with Chief Wealth Officer Enterprise, said with so many modern conveniences and advancements in technology we have gotten used to instantaneous results.
“Americans are known as spenders,” Hemby said. “With many households consisting of two working parents time is of the essence.
“Since convenience items require less time and thought, it’s no surprise that people are willing to spend money on convenience and not on getting prepared in a volatile market,” Hemby added.
While most people don’t prepare for the future simply because it seems so far off, Hemby said, there are some simple things people can do to break these bad habits and prepare for what lies ahead.
Hemby said people need to take time and assess priorities and goals, as well as creating a vision to help stay on track to reach them. Also, make the goals SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely — and do not be afraid to use modern technology, like apps and mobile calendars, to help you get organized, she added.
“Future plans of any kind require planning which equates to time, and most people don’t feel as if there is enough time in the day to take care of immediate needs, let alone using valuable time to plan for something that’s in the future,” Hemby said.
“Be willing to take the time to prepare for not only the future, but day-to-day events,” she added.