Tag: The Real Meaning of Money

What is the meaning of free?

There is a Russian proverb that ‘Only mousetraps have free cheese’ (бесплатный сыр бывает только в мышеловке.) It’s reminiscent of the English saying (though slightly more brutal) ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’.

As I sit here digesting one such ‘free lunch’, I must admit, I do feel somewhat like a trapped mouse.

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Are you neglecting your finances?

Piles of unopened bills. A wallet full of receipts and ATM statements. More accounts than you can remember the balances of. Cards you can’t remember the PINs to. Waking up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, thinking of your pension plan, tax return, or credit card statement. Sound familiar?

Certain words – like ‘bank’ and ‘statement’ – can grip us with anxiety. So much so, that Cambridge University researchers have declared ‘financial phobia‘ a bona fide psychological condition, affecting as many as 9 million people in Britain – mostly women and young people.

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Is time money?

‘Time is money’ wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1748, in Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One:

Remember that TIME is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or thrown away Five Shillings besides.

To update this slightly, Franklin is saying that there is an opportunity cost involved in deciding not to work: if you take a week’s unpaid holiday, you need to consider not only the costs of the holiday, but how much money you could have earned during that time.

Over time, the idiom has come to be associated perhaps more commonly with other people wasting your time rather than you not making the most of it: ‘I can’t afford to spend a lot of time standing here talking. Time is money, you know!

But what is the relationship between time and money?

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