Michael on June 28th, 2010
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When speaking on college campuses I often give student an opportunity to make some money.

You: Seems nice of you.

To get the cash, they must stay after my seminar for a market research study.  Since I offer $25 for 30 minutes of their time,  nearly the whole audience wants to participate.

You: What do you do then?

I tell them it’s a joke.

You: You do?

Yes – I do it to make a point.

You: And what point is that?

How eager most people are to make money.

You: That’s not terribly insightful, especially given college students often have very little money.

Perhaps, but contrast this with the same audience’s (and just about every other audience’s) lack of enthusiasm for saving money.

You: What do you mean?

Well, a college audience ought to be filled with people who would love to save money. Yet most people lament the idea of working to save.  I find that both unfortunate and ironic.

You: Ironic?

Yes.  If you work hard to save money, you keep 100% of what you save. If you work hard to earn money, you keep only about two-thirds of your earnings.

You: Why?

Because of taxes.

You: Right – argh.

So, as a society, we should actually be more motivated to save money than to earn – but my expereince says most people are not. I bring this up because I moved yesterday.

You: How did it go?

Not bad, but tiring.

You: You did it all yourself?

No, the job was too hard and the items too heavy.

You: So you hired movers?


You: That can be expensive.

Exactly – it can be, but it doesn’t have to be.  We got a couple of quotes for moving us three miles, each in the vicinity of $1,000.  As such, I started wondering – can I do this for less without breaking my back (literally and figuratively)? Answer – hire moving labor but not a moving company.  A few web searches later and I have free lance guys showing up and worked their butts off for a fraction of the cost the moving company quoted. What did I give up by not hiring the moving company?

You: A name on the truck that didn’t say “U Haul” or “Budget.”

Correct – and a driver.

On the other hand, my additional expenses were the truck (about $50 all in) and the effort of driving the truck.  Given that I drove the truck 16 miles and saved more than $500 in the process, I saved over $36 a mile.  Since I saved – not earned the money -  the $500 won’t go on my W2 and I won’t pay taxes on it.

You: Cool.

Think about it this way: Saving $500 is like earning $750. Next time you have a decision that might mean a few more phone calls and a bit more effort to save $500, recall how hard and how long it takes to earn $750. If you’re a high-priced Philadelphia lawyer earning that an hour, hire the moving company, but tell me again, why are you reading this blog?) For the rest of you, enjoy the savings.

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Thoughts on hiring a moving company vs. getting help only on the hardest parts? I’ve done it both ways and, when the moves are heavy and/or long, a moving company can be worth it. Otherwise, I’ll keep some of the profit thank you.

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