Giving Up Extra Money for More Time

I was going to title this post, “That Time I Gave Up $600,” but that didn’t seem to tell the whole story.

This school year, we have started focusing on paying down our mortgage. With that, we have been using incomes from our second jobs to pay down that mortgage with a little additional kick here or there from our main income sources.

Taking our goals into consideration, I opted to work additional hours at my second job in order to make a little more money this year than in years past to toss at the mortgage. Previously, I worked every other week or every few weeks for 3 hours at a local college as an adjunct, which adds about a 1-hour commute roundtrip for 4 hours of time. This year, I increased that to every week in the fall doubling the amount of time spent there.

While it was fun at first to take on a second job two years ago, it became hard to leave my kids midweek and mix up our routine. Over time, this led a little more to burnout which is one factor (of many) as to why I closed my photography business. I was just doing too many things and needed to step back, so I opted to stick with the second job instead of the business which unfortunately was not the best financial move.

As I transitioned into this new semester, it was nice to have several weeks off without worrying about that mid-week blip in the schedule. Laundry could get done on schedule, we could spend more time together as a family, and I could make plans to workout or walk the dogs.

Over that time, I worried about taking on hours every week again, and what if activities came up for the kids mid-week in the spring, or how hard it would be to get back into a meal planning schedule when I wasn’t home that weekday.

In addition, Chris works two nights per week in his adjunct professor position (which he loves and makes far more income from than I). I would never want him to step back from that, so a little more heavy lifting on the family side of things has been on my shoulders the past two years since we’ve ventured into second jobs.

With all of that said, I was dreading going into the spring semester where I signed up to work every week again. Heading to work last Wednesday night, I was stressed and feeling burned out. Fraught with concern over additional money vs. time to pursue passions, I contacted another adjunct who was happy to take a few days off my schedule ($600 worth!) and immediately a weight lifted off my shoulders.

I’m Literally Running Away from Money

I want to run more, and with Chris being out of the house two nights a week plus home late another night, it’s difficult to set up a rhythm with that one additional day out myself. That leaves us just one day a week for a “normal” day.

Our days start at 5 am to get ready to get out of the house, as we both have to be at work by 7 am, and our kids, including me, are in bed by 7 pm. There just isn’t too much wiggle room, despite trying after school runs on the treadmill (which I don’t love) and it cutting into dinner prep time so we ate more processed foods.

We eat dinner around 4 pm, friend. Sign us up for the early bird special!

I would ideally like to run on Wednesday and Friday evenings when Chris gets home, and then complete my long runs on Sundays. This is the optimal time for recovery and my plans. Running on Friday, Sat/Sun, and late Mon is just not ideal for recovery for distances upcoming in my schedule.

Plus, I went a little overboard this past fall after the bliss of my half marathon finish and signed up for more challenges in the spring and fall of 2018! I missed running so much, I wanted to make sure I didn’t skimp on training again. The second job hours weighed heavily on my heart as to which road to travel: pursue passion/health vs. financial freedom.

Pursuing Passions vs. Financial Freedom

So, here I stand, finally taking a moment to reflect on the almighty dollar and it’s importance in our life. The little extra I made on the side wasn’t putting a huge dent in our mortgage debt. Sure, it’ll take more time to pay off, but what is a few months if that means I can relax and enjoy passions like running again?

Getting back to running regularly will help keep my creativity levels up, my confidence up, and be far better for my health than a few more hours per week sitting at a desk. I am hoping to build other sources of income with that time off from hours that were burning me out, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I love working that second job and will continue to keep up with hours there, but I don’t need to do it every single week non-stop.

Is More Money Worth the Time?

What I pose to you is to consider not only the extra money you are working to make but also the impact it has on your life and the time you have for other things that provide pleasure or happiness.

Will that second job be something you’re passionate about, like Chris is, and worth that extra investment of time for additional income, or is it something that done too often will take away from the life you want to lead?

For example, if you are working the second job to pay off a specific debt and have an end date in mind, that’s different. For my situation, it’s most likely a never-ending source of income for as often as I want to do it and the hours are available. There was no “end” in sight and the mortgage paydown was just kind of a side benefit.

Making More Money Shouldn’t Always Be the Goal

It took me awhile to come around to the idea that making more money isn’t always the goal, and financial freedom shouldn’t always be the number one reason to do something. Sometimes, you need to step back and understand why you are pursuing your financial goals and strike a balance.

I am all for making future-self happy and relaxed, but not entirely at the expense of present self. I wouldn’t skip the second job to go off and do something that costs me more money in a haphazard manner, but taking that time off to improve my health will also improve future-Kate as well.

Future-Kate will be far happier in 10 years if she can say she accomplished her running goals than if she had no mortgage only a few months sooner.

I love helping people and will continue to do so in that second capacity, but I will also strike a better balance with my time for that money.

Consider the next time you take on a project for the money if it’s really where you want to spend your time.

4 thoughts on “Giving Up Extra Money for More Time

  1. Hi Kate,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts on this very difficult subject. I think you would agree that this is something everyone struggles with. But you were able to catch yourself before completely spinning out of control and regain focus on what it is important.

    I think that is very admirable and shows how well your moral compass guides you. I wish I could say the same for myself, but I do get caught up with the “one more year” complex to get more ahead. Doesn’t always work.

    Great post!

  2. Hey, Kate. I think you made a wise decision. If we were talking about student loan debt, I’d say tough it out. But we’re talking about a mortgage–relatively cheap debt for an appreciating asset. So why rush to pay if off when doing so gets in the way of really important stuff? I’m with you, Kate. Running appears to be your solace from our maddening world. It would be nuts to give that up for two or three fewer mortgage payments. Cheers.

  3. Thanks for stopping by! It wasn’t easy to leave money on the table, but one has to remember the real journey here and a few months off a mortgage won’t compare to the life enjoyment I’ll receive from this break in the process!

  4. Thanks, Mr. Groovy! Yes, if it were a specific debt I would’ve toughed it out, but it’s for a mortgage at 4.125% so it doesn’t come with just a 1-2 year end date. Also, we have enough in our main incomes we’ll toss toward the mortgage next school year so I’m hopeful it won’t impact it much at all!

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